‘OFW maturity’ helps propel growth in real estate sector

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Friday, January 31, 2014


TO SAY that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have contributed to the real estate sector’s growth is incomplete, as it is important to emphasize “OFW maturity” in the assertion, said an official.

Anthony Leuterio, president of the Philippine Allied Chamber of Real Estate Brokers and Licensed Salesmen, Inc. (PhilAcre), defined maturity as the period when OFWs have already reached their 20th year or more or working in other countries.

He said this maturity has pushed OFWs either return to the Philippines and find a place to stay or continue working for a few more years and invest in real estate.

“OFWs who have worked for a very long time already have the money to buy (properties),” he said.

Leuterio, who is also the founder and president of Leuterio Realty and Brokerage, said that apart from local activities, he and his team also focus on international road shows to attract OFWs. The team has flown to the US and some parts of Asia and Europe.

Asia accounts for the biggest number of OFWs.

30% for real estate

Leuterio said they have gone to these areas since many OFWs working there have shown interest in purchasing properties like condominiums and housing units, either for investment or personal use.

Developers have also shown support to the firm’s road shows. Leuterio said that a homegrown developer recently poured out P3 million in support of the team’s international road shows.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that 30 percent of OFW remittances are targeted to be invested in real estate investments.

In its website, BSP encourages overseas Filipinos and their families to increase savings and investment. It further urges commercial banks to offer them specialized investment products and services like real estate with direct payment schemes.

BSP Gov. Amando M. Tetangco Jr. reported last Jan. 15 that personal remittances from OFWs “rose by 9.5 percent year-on-year in November 2013 to reach the highest level to date of US$2.286 billion.” The figure marked the eighth consecutive month in 2013 that personal remittances breached the US$2-billion mark.

Aside from OFW maturity, Leuterio also cited other key drivers of the real estate sector which include the growth of the business process Outsourcing sector, tourism, housing backlog, good governance, migration, and population growth.

Manila and Cebu were previously hailed by investment advisory firm Tholons as two of the top ten best outsourcing destinations for this year, with Manila ranked second and Cebu in the eighth spot.

Leuterio also cited the tourism scene in the Philippines, especially Cebu, as furthering the demand for apartments and condominiums, with tourists looking for a temporary place to stay.

Tourist arrivals in Central Visayas between January and October last year increased by 12.50 percent over the same period in 2012, reported the Department of Tourism 7.

The official also commended the Aquino administration’s “good governance.”

The housing backlog nationwide is at 4.5 million, reported Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board regional Director Alixes Roy Lopez. Population, meanwhile, has already reached 100 million.

Leuterio observed that migration from other provinces affected by armed conflicts and natural calamities has also created an added demand for housing and condominium projects in Cebu. Over the last 12 months, about 170 condominium projects were being constructed in different areas in Cebu, he added.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 01, 2014.

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