Business As Usual

Serving the underserved through Ayala Land’s Amaia

Kap Maceda Aguila - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Once upon a time, Ayala Land was known for conceiving of, and serving up, real estate products exclusively for the well-to-do.

Those days are far behind, as the country’s premiere land developer continues to grow its portfolio of projects — expressed distinctly through its five brands in Ayala Land Premier, Alveo, Avida, Amaia, and Bellavita — for a much wider market.

Amaia Land, established five years ago, is ALI’s response to the burgeoning residential demand of the so-called “broad C” market, which comprises about 34 percent of the population. Amaia president Ricky Celis reports that as of 2012, 3.9 million “in housing demand was unmet, and government is projecting that to balloon to about 5.5 million next year.” Of this figure, two-thirds is in the aforementioned segment.

“It’s a big opportunity for Amaia. (It’s) the reason why we have been formed, why we are here, and why we are launching a lot of projects,” Celis says at a press conference for the ALI spin-off’s 10th mid-rise residential development, Amaia Steps Alabang.

The broad-C segment boasts a monthly household income range of P20,000 to P60,000, he continues, translating into an ability to purchase a house and lot or condominium unit costing anywhere from P800,000 to P2 million — depending on access to amortization or financing instruments.

“(They) may be single, married, renting or living with parents,” Celis observes. “Supervisors, managers, entrepreneurs, or OFWs… They are now ready with the savings they have to make their first life investment.”

Amaia, he declares, presents an “empowered choice” to these customers, anchoring on value pillars of location, features and amenities, quality, buying experience, and living experience. “Location” refers to proximity to key destinations or venues and transport hubs or systems. Features and amenities, on the other hand, make a property “something to be proud of,” maintains Celis. “It can be basic but tastefully designed.” Quality means being up to snuff with building codes — displaying consistent workmanship and excellent structural integrity.

The Amaia buying experience promises “easy-on-the-pocket” terms commensurate with the ease of transaction through competent property consultants. Celis crucially adds that it also means managing the customer’s expectations and aspirations. Rounding it all up is the “living experience,” which leverages Ayala Land’s decades of expertise in village and condominium management to make its properties both safe, secure, and running smoothly.

“What we do in Amaia Land is to transform these five attributes into three product lines,” shares the Ayala executive — referring to Amaia Scapes (house and lots), Amaia Steps (mid-rise condominiums), and Amaia Skies (high-rise condominiums).

“Amaia Scapes is still the most preferred type of development, especially when you deal with a market that is in a provincial or suburban setting,” says Celis, and goes on to explain the rationale behind the Steps and Skies products. Amaia Steps projects are “in the quieter side of the city… (having) compact units but more generous in terms of size (compared to Skies). If you want to move closer to the CBD (central business district), you slice some of the square footage with the same price point.”

Still, he insists that Amaia Steps Alabang is a product that runs askew of the formula. “Somehow, we were able to marry those attributes, so we call it the best of both worlds,” Celis maintains. Homey yet active feel, spacious yet close to the CBD, and bearing an Alabang address even as it is located in Las Piñas along the Alabang-Zapote Road — dichotomous tenets are seen to converge quite nicely.

Two of the nine towers are being marketed. The first, Blanca (set for turnover by the second semester of 2017), is 93 percent sold, while almost half of Aria (to be completed at the start of 2018) has been spoken for. The third will be launched next month. With a total development cost of P3.1 billion, Amaia Steps Alabang is expected to be fully built in six years, according to Amaia PSMG head Nikie Lingad. She reveals that OFW takeup is expected to be a robust 30 percent. A 24-sqm. studio goes for around P1.65 million, a 34-sqm. deluxe unit for P2.2 million, and a 48-sqm. premium unit for at least P2.9 million.

Meanwhile, responding to a question from The STAR, Ayala Land residential buildings group marketing and sales head Tom Mirasol says that there are no hard and fast rules at ALI and its subsidiaries as to which among the companies should develop a certain piece of property. “There are certain locations that lend themselves naturally to certain brands, but you can’t say that a particular location is exclusive to one brand or one lifestyle. There’s going to be a bit of overlap,” he reveals. “In this area here, we have Avida (as well), but ultimately, the brands decide which location suits their market.”

Ricky Celis reports that 80 to 85 percent of Amaia customers avail of bank financing, so the company thus benefits from being part of the Ayala Group. “Several banks are accredited at the mother company level, and (we) automatically get part of that accreditation.” Interested buyers can thus choose from 16 approved banks to finance their purchase. Empowering people via financial instruments is in keeping with the grand plan, of course. “Over the last five years, we’ve expanded (operations) to cover the bottom of the pyramid. That’s where Amaia and Bellavita come in.”

It’s also about seizing opportunities in a market where supply is meager — to expand geographically to where the demand is. “We look forward to contributing more to the mother company’s portfolio,” emphasizes Celis, and shares that Amaia is strengthening its presence, particularly in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Lucena, and Camarines Sur.

“From a product point of view, we’d like to be Amaia Scapes-heavy, and then we want to be very opportunistic about where we put our Amaia Steps and Skies projects. From a location point of view, south and Metro Manila would be our go-to areas, while and VisMin and north, of course, particularly central Luzon, are very good prospects for us,” says Celis.

Amaia is agile enough for quick wins because, as its president reports, “We can do one-off projects not necessarily in townships.”

That means more quality homes for more people in less time.













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