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Freeman Cebu Business

Developers urged to prioritize local buyers

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  With a huge inventory of condominiums to be made available this year in Cebu, developers are encouraged to prioritize local buyers.

This is the call reiterated by Filipino Homes founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Anthony Gerard Leuterio as he noted the growing number of foreign buyers considering to purchase condo units in Cebu. He said that most of these foreign buyers are allegedly using the units for online gaming operations.

In an interview, Leuterio expressed his reservations stressing that, “it is very important to prioritize the local buyers first,” reiterating that his statement is based on the actual happenings on the ground, wherein some developers are bent on accommodating foreign bulk-buyers.

He said this is not only unfair for the local buyers, but it is also inducing unhealthy factors to the industry in general.

The strong interest of Chinese in buying properties in the Philippines, specifically condominiums, is something that should be monitored because the bulk-buying trend will push up real estate rates further.

This development is seen to deprive local or Filipino buyers to buy the real cost of the properties, and the high demand (created by Chinese buyers) makes real property cost higher.

Leuterio, who founded the Filipino Homes Group of Companies, further explained that Chinese buyers are buying condominiums by bulk (like one floor or more), as investment for renting or re-selling purposes. These buyers are paying spot cash.

While the existing 70-40 rule applied to foreign buyers are properly complied by developers, Leuterio said some buyers are clever enough to break the rule by using local dummies.

This year alone, about P300 billion worth of real estate properties will be floated in the market for sale.

Leuterio acknowledged that a growing number OFW money is now directed towards buying properties, particularly condominiums for investment purposes.

Earlier, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Virgilio Espeleta also made a call to the government suggesting a closer look or regulating the new businesses built especially by Chinese nationals, which primarily supporting the online gaming operations here.

“It is good that they are here, they are spending. But, if when they start to compete with existing players, regulating them is important,” said Espeleta.

ANTHONY GERARD LEUTERIO

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