Property prices up, construction flourishes in Bacolod

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013


THE real estate boom in Bacolod City, as evidenced by the non-stop construction of buildings and the rapid appreciation of property prices at the heart of the city, reflects the thriving economy in Negros Occidental.

"Bacolod will be directly benefited by this upswing in the economy, as the surge in construction translates to more vigorous trade in materials and bigger movement of retail goods. More important, a greater number of people will be employed and, with their increased purchasing power, they can further fuel the growth of the economy," said Frank Carbon, president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on Tuesday.

Among the ongoing big projects in the city are the hotel in Mandalagan along the city's main artery in Lacson Street, the expansion of SM City Bacolod at the Reclamation Area and the soon-to-be constructed expansion of 888 China Town Square just a stone's throw away from the Provincial Capitol Building, also along Lacson Street.

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The property sector has declared that it is experiencing its best real estate market in 20 years.

In Bacolod, property prices have gone up to new levels, especially near the city's center.

Reported sales of lots in the range of about 2,000 square meters along Lacson Street recorded a high of P35,000 per square meter. The rate of increase from P20,000 per square meter in 2012 to the going rate is close to 50 percent.

Likewise, prices in the Capitol area is expected to breach the P40,000 per square meter benchmark, as the area was already assessed at P35,000 as of last year.
It can be recalled that giant property developers SM Prime Holdings (SMPH) and Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) expressed intent to develop the 7.7-hectare prime Capitol property. The lease-purchase was awarded to ALI which proposed to invest P6 billion to develop the property adjacent to the Capitol but SMPH contested the award. The case is still pending in court.

"Next to the sugar industry, it is the money from OFWs and BPOs which drives the Negros economy," said Carbon.

Led by the giants in the industry like Convergys, Teleperformance, Panasiatic Solutions, Transcom, Teletech and Focus Direct, numerous BPOs are now operating in Bacolod with more than 12,000 full-time employees as of 2011 and close to about 14,000 pending applicants.

The income of OFWs and salaries of the thousands of call center agents boost the food, service and retail industries in the city, said Carbon, citing the expansion of SM City Bacolod, 888 China Town Square and other businesses at the city center.

Carbon said that, while Bacolod City will be directly benefitted by this economic boom, it should also take more pro-active measures to further entice investors.

"One step we can take is to pass the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, which will be the basis in concretizing our dream of a Metro Bacolod, a growth area which is already visible from Bacolod to Talisay down to the new airport at Silay," said Carbon.

"With more investors, we can have more jobs which will result to faster and more widespread circulation of money which will in turn sustain and further drive our economy," he added.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 23, 2013.

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