Sun shines on property sector

HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2021 - 12:00am

One of the country’s biggest property developers is preparing the biggest initial public offering so far for a real estate investment trust (REIT).

Property giant Megaworld Corp. is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Philippine Stock Exchange to clear the planned P27.3-billion IPO of its REIT company, MRET Inc.

A REIT, as defined in the law and its implementing rules, is a stock corporation established principally for the purpose of owning income-generating real estate assets.

Under the revised REIT IRR, the minimum public ownership (MPO) requirement of a REIT is at least one-third of the company’s outstanding capital stock, with at least 1,000 public shareholders each owning at least 50 shares.

To encourage the formation of REITs, the government has amended some of the restrictive requirements. So from 40 percent, the MPO requirement was reduced to one third. The SEC also removed the proviso requiring the increase in MPO to 67 percent within three years of its listing.

The TRAIN Law which took effect in 2018, as implemented by BIR Revenue Regulation 3-2020, also provides that transfer of property to a REIT in exchange for shares is now VAT exempt. The law, however, increased the documentary stamp tax rates on the  transfer of shares representing interest in real property.

The first REIT to conduct an IPO in the country was Ayala Land REIT subsidiary, AREIT Inc. Other companies planning to conduct REIT offerings this year are  Filinvest Land’s Cyberzone Properties, Inc., Robinsons Land Corp., and Vista Land and Lifescapes.

With quarantine restrictions easing up, especially in NCR plus, and as more and more businesses and personal activities are allowed, the economy is getting back on track and one of the first being benefitted from increased consumer confidence is the property sector.

But if you are not into buying and investing in shares in property companies or REITs in particular, then buying real property is still an option.

Previously, this column discussed how buying real estate property has been brought to a whole new level by being entirely contactless, from the tripping to the actual purchasing. Contactless because everything can be done online, which actually works well while the pandemic still persists.

But is it advisable to buy a property at this time?

According to Flashpoint chief strategist Carlos Garcia, it’s a more stable investment because of its very nature as a hard asset whose prices are more resilient to external shocks, such as a pandemic, compared to equities, fixed income instruments, and other investment vehicles.

Garcia said that properties that are for sale via auction are definitely worth considering because that’s where you find hard-to-find deals.

Flashpoint, the country’s first property auction platform primarily focuses on fire sale properties or those listings that have an urgent deadline to sell because of various circumstances. An auction gives public access to hard-to-find deals.

In terms of the service Flashpoint offers, he said the site conducts auctions entirely online every last Friday of the month, which  potential buyers can look forward to, creating a travel expo-like atmosphere.

Even if the prospective buyer has not personally checked out the property, there’s no need to worry since Flashpoint’s listings have already been vetted by professional and experienced real estate brokers.

Compared to other online property platforms, the properties are curated, and in fact, the people behind the company take pictures of the property themselves. The site also offers an online tour of the properties for sale.

With Flashpoint, Garcia said that online buyers are assured that what they see is what they get. And since the winning price is arrived at competitively, soon, the prices can serve as a reliable source of information for the local secondary property market.

Service above self

Lyra Rebadomia is a midwife at Barangay Bagong Handa in Quezon City. Lyra, who is said to be one of the kindest midwives in the lying-in center, works day and night at the Kamuning Health Center not only to support the education of her six kids all by herself, but because of her dedication to work.

Rebadomia has delivered around 60 babies from the lying-in clinic and some at home during the pandemic. She lives in a crowded place in a slum area in Barangay Tatalon where she sometimes gives her personal service as a midwife for free.

Unfortunately, she was twice hospitalized after contracting the COVID-19 virus. Through prayers, she survived and bravely vowed to continue serving the public.

Rebadomia and 10 other personalities from various  fields are  awardees in the 2020-2021 Rotary Golden Wheel Awards to be held at the Marriot Hotel in Pasay City tomorrow (Sunday).

For her contribution to the health sector, Rebadomia will be awarded under the category, Saving Mothers and Children.

Presented by the Quezon City government, led by Mayor Joy Belmonte and the Rotary Club of Rotary International District 3780, the Golden Wheel Awards recognizes outstanding non-Rotarians who best exemplify the Rotary spirit of “Service Above Self” and the guiding principles of the Four Way Test, according to Rotary International District 3780 governor Johnny Gaw Yu and Golden Wheel Awards chairman Paul Angel Galang.

Yu said the awardees are all distinguished personalities who have contributed in their own way to the service of the nation and the overall improvement of the lives of Filipinos. The selection committee is chaired by PDG Samuel Pagdilao Jr, and is joined by QC councilor Winnie Castelo, past district secretary Bong Cruz and Rotary governors from other districts.

Another awardee is Josephine Barbin for the Supporting Education category.

Barbin, fondly known as Teacher Phine, has conducted many sign language lessons to volunteer catechists and prospective church interpreters. She had been one of the moving forces behind the setting up of the Archdiocese of Manila ministry for persons-with-disabilities. Should there be legal cases involving the deaf, Barbin also provides service to courts in need of registered interpreters.

Meanwhile, Barangay Tanod Melodina Maximo is being recognized under the category, Promoting Peace.

Tanod Melody has been faithfully serving the people of Barangay Sitio Uno, Kaliwa, Batasan Hills for almost 20 years. She is married to a co-tanod and day in, day out, they pound the streets to ensure the safety and protection of the constituents and keep the peace and order in the community.

Other awardees include Maginhawa community pantry organizer Ana Patricia Non and Ferdinand Constantino (growing local economies amidst pandemic category); Dr. Edith Tria and lawyer Dorothea Gancayco (supporting education); Dr. John Michael Lao and Fr. Arthur Opiniano (fighting disease); Fr. Steve Tynan (promoting peace); Clarita Orlain (protecting the environment).

Among the founders of the Rotary Golden Wheel Awards are PDG Rufino “Penny” Policarpio III, PDG Samuel Pagdilao Jr.; PDG Dan Espinosa; PDG Chito Borromeo, PP Bong Cruz, PDS Suzette Lee, and PP Melandrew Velasco.



For comments, e-mail at mareyes@philstarmedia.com

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