Property market shows silver lining

By: Administrator  |   11/23/2008 9:59:16 AM

Manila, Philippines (Dated: November 4th, 2008)-- At least two sectors of the property market are not too badly affected by erosion of investor confidence in the wake of the global economic slowdown, a consulting firm said.

The silver lining, said international property advisor CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), may lie in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, the main driver of the growth in office space, and the rising number of tourists that should support the hotel industry.

CBRE chairman Rick Santos said at a news briefing that the strong take-up of office space by BPO companies in the past three years revived the Philippine property market.

And despite the financial crisis and the expected slowdown in global growth, multinationals are expected to continue to outsource services "to survive and thrive" in these critical times.

CBRE is even optimistic that the gap between demand and supply in the office sector will narrow by the end of the year with as much as 501,925 square meters of leasable office space to be taken up by end-2008.

"We are very confident that we won't see a spike in vacancy rates. It may slide to about 5 to 6 percent (end of the year) from 4 percent (third quarter 2008) but demand is picking up and we usually see the most active in take-up come in in the fourth quarter," CBRE general manager Trent Frankum said.

In its recent market report, CBRE noted that in the Makati central business district, vacancy rates in the "prime grade A office market" or offices on Ayala Avenue, considered the Wall Street of the Philippines, widened to 3.24 percent in the second quarter, from 1.39 percent in the same period the past year with rents averaging at P1,045 per square meter a month.

Vacancies

Added vacancies in the Philamlife Tower and RCBC Plaza in the Makati business district were the more pronounced during the period. Philamlife Tower's vacancy rate alone spiked to 8.8 percent in the second quarter from full occupancy in the previous quarter. Rental rates in the building at P1,300/sqm, one of the highest in the country, was likely the reason for the non-renewal of lease contracts by its tenants, CBRE said.

CBRE also observed that companies were finding current rental rates in the Makati business district to be too high even if some developers had lowered average rates to P872/sqm for secondary Grade A sites, or just outside the Ayala Avenue perimeter.

As a result, companies have begun studying their transfer to other locations such as lower grade buildings within the Makati business districts (CBRE considers buildings in the Legaspi and Salcedo areas as Grade B and C) or in other business districts such as Fort Bonifacio, Ortigas Center, Quezon City and Alabang in Muntinlupa City.

New buildings

BPO buildings in Metro Manila expected to open in the fourth quarter this year are Glorietta 5 (16,164 sq m, by Ayala Land Inc.) in Makati, Solaris Tower One at De la Rosa St. (46,868 sq m, by Ayala Land) in Makati, Net Quad (22,500 sq m, by 19.1 Realty) in Fort Bonifacio Global City, Three World Square (25,000 sq m, by Megaworld Corp.) in Fort Bonifacio Global City, The Fort Legend Towers (17,000 sq m, by Monolith Construction & Development Corp.) in Fort Bonifacio Global City, AIC Burgundy Empire Tower (65,000 sq m, by AIC/ Burgundy) in Ortigas Center, Rockwell Meralco Business Center Tower 1 (21,558 sq m, by Rockwell Land Corp.), 1880 Eastwood (31,500 sq m, by Megaworld) in Eastwood, Quezon City, Global One Center (31,800 sq m, by Megaworld) also in Eastwood, Robinsons Cybergate 3 (42,000 sq m, by Robinsons Land) in Mandaluyong City, Mayflower Building (50,000 sq m, by Greenfield) in Mandaluyong, Building 4 and 5 in the University of the Philippines North Science & Technology Park (more than 21,000 sq m in all, by Ayala Land) in Quezon City, Newport Office Building (20,264 sq m, by Megaworld) in Pasay City, and Metropolitan Park Plaza Phase 1 (12,000 sq m, by Federal Land) also in Pasay City.

Other growth sites identified by CBRE for offices are Bay City at the Manila Bay City Park, and Northgate Cyberzone in the Alabang business district.

Despite the recession in the United States, outsourcing and offshoring will continue to be a cost effective and high value alternative to ailing US companies who need to survive the short-term weakness.

Even companies in India, the Philippines' main rival in the outsourcing industry, are expanding to the Philippines since the cost of labor here is still cheaper than in India.

With editing by INQUIRER.net

Source: http://business.inquirer.net/money/breakingnews/view/20081104-170102/Property-market-shows-silver-lining


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