Rising land values

HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes - The Philippine Star

Good news for landowners.

According to a just released report from property management and services firm Colliers, improving land values across major business districts in Metro Manila indicate a recovery in the property market.

Data from Colliers reveal that land values corrected by between 1.7 and 9.8 percent in 2020. This was attributed to developers holding off on acquiring new parcels of land given the disruptions in the property market.

For 2022, Colliers is projecting land values to rise by 5.1 percent, which is indicative of a property market that is bound for rebound.

Colliers senior director and valuation services head Paul Vincent Ramirez explained that they are starting to see a spike in interest for developable land, and this bodes well for the property market.

He said that acquiring parcels of land within and outside Metro Manila will be crucial in developers’ plans to line up new projects beyond 2022 as they capture demand in the market post-pandemic.

He added that although all property indicators – from office, residential condo, retail to hotels – are still correcting, but due to the scarcity of developable land in these major business districts, land values, while slightly down from 2019 peak, remain relatively stable and is expected to pick up starting this year barring any severe COVID-19 outbreaks.

Ramirez advised office landlords, mall operators, and residential developers to remain agile and be mindful of the economy’s recovery prospects beyond the pandemic. Developers, he emphasized, should be more strategic with their land banking initiatives if they are to capture pent-up demand.

Colliers, in its report, noted that a major plank of economic growth beyond 2022 would likely be the implementation of infrastructure projects within and outside Metro Manila.

According to Colliers associate director and research head Joey Roi Bondoc, the completion and upgrading of railways, toll roads, and airports across the Philippines should contribute to higher land and property values.

These projects, he said, are also likely to play an important role in dictating the development strategies of property firms beyond the pandemic.

Take the case of Bulacan, which Colliers observed, is on the rise.

Ramirez believes that property developers, end-users and investors should take a close look at Bulacan given the infrastructure projects likely to be completed in the province from near to medium term. For instance, he said the MRT Line 7 project of the San Miguel Group should contribute to raising Bulacan’s attractiveness as a residential investment destination by making travel more convenient to and from Metro Manila.

Once completed, the 22.8-kilometer, 14-station railway project is expected to reduce travel time between North Triangle in Quezon City and San Jose del Monte in Bulacan from about two to three hours to just 35 minutes. Once operational, this mass transport system can service 300,000 passengers daily.

Another infrastructure project that Colliers believes will benefit the province is the Bulacan Airport, or New Manila International Airport, which should also push up property prices in Bulacan. The airport is another project of the San Miguel Group.

The airport will cover 2,500 hectares of an envisioned 12,000-hectare township and is expected to help decongest Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). It is designed to have an initial capacity of 35 million passengers per year and a target of 100 million passengers per year once fully complete. It is likely to be completed by 2025.

Ramirez explained that major government infrastructure projects, especially in sparsely developed areas, have the potential to really unlock property values.

He said that once these projects are completed, these infrastructure corridors are ripe for transit-oriented developments (TODs), but as early as now, developers are starting to look to position themselves in these areas, which has been observed to have already caused an uptick in land prices.

For his part, Bondoc revealed that they are starting to see green shoots of recovery, even as they expect developers to be more aggressive and strategic with their land banking initiatives especially as they plan to take advantage of the government-projected economic recovery.

He added that as developers and property stakeholders seize opportunities, they should also take into consideration key business and economic policies such as the implementation and direction of new infrastructure projects and decentralization initiatives which should spur more economic opportunities outside Metro Manila.

Measure of Success

Every year, MDRT, a global, independent association of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 500 companies in 70 markets, recognizes its members who perform exceptionally in the field.

But just being a member of MDRT by itself is an honor and a privilege. MDRT membership is recognized internationally as the standard of excellence in the life insurance and financial services business, since its members demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service.

Philippine companies that reached MDRT’s Top 100 Global Companies in 2021 include Pru Life Insurance Corp. of UK at 42nd, Sun Life of Canada-Philippines Inc. at 53rd, Manulife-Philippines at 79th, and Philippine American Life & General Insurance at 89th.

By redefining success for finance professionals, new entries will be able to enter the fold of established and recognized insurance companies alongside the 1,907 MDRT Philippine members as of 2021.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, only 48 percent of adults had savings in 2020 but 68 percent of them kept their savings at home while 32 percent had a savings account with a bank, with only 18 percent having insurance.

MDRT said that as part of its commitment to deliver value to the insurance profession, financial instruments can be perceived as essential buffers to job loss, inflation, and other unforeseen vulnerabilities.

The MDRT Family of Brands, which includes MDRT for high-performing financial services professionals, the MDRT Academy for aspiring MDRT members, and MDRT Global Services for leaders in financial services, is also adding to the portfolio of honors available for exceptional members and their companies beginning this year. These new categories will recognize companies that achieve excellence in the areas of MDRT membership growth, retention, and longevity, or areas that demonstrate a commitment to investing in their advisors’ personal and professional development.

The eight new rankings include the top 25 companies for each of the following categories – total membership growth, percentage of membership growth, total members who rejoined, percentage of members who rejoined, total number of five- to nine-year members, percentage of five- to nine-year members, total number of qualifying and life members, and percentage of qualifying and life members.

MDRT president Randy Scritchfield explained that membership growth, retention, and longevity are critical to companies that want to generate success within their ranks and demonstrate a commitment to excellence.

These new categories, he added, provide an opportunity to celebrate the financial service professionals who achieve and maintain career long success with their MDRT membership and acknowledge the important role their companies play in supporting that success.

The 2022 company rankings will be announced in early July.

The Culture of Excellence Awards provide a framework for measuring success and identifies six key aspects, including promotion, retention, recruitment, persistency, whole person, and membership in MDRT’s Family of Brands.

MDRT Global Services Culture of Excellence Awards applications will be accepted between January and March of 2023, with winners announced in May 2023 and honored at a special awards ceremony at the MDRT annual meeting and global conference.



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