SMALLER cities and provinces with vibrant tourism assets are likely to attract real estate projects this year.

Anthony Leuterio, property brokerage owner and founder of real estate solutions company Filipino Homes, said that aside from supply and demand, property developers nowadays are also looking at local assets, such as tourism, as another important factor to consider for expansion.

He said that as competition tightens, players are actively looking for sites with tourism assets that can add value to the projects they are likely to build. He noted that as real estate projects are more closely tied to tourism destinations, marketing it becomes easier.

“When we go on roadshows abroad, we don’t sell the projects right away. We first sell the destination and it makes the perfect opening statement,” said Leuterio, who now has 14,000 licensed agents across the country.

Building on last year’s gains, Leuterio foresees 2017 as a real estate expansion year.

He sees more residential and commercial projects rising in Bohol, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Dumaguete.

Emerging locations in Cebu, on the other hand, are Mandaue, Consolacion, Minglanilla, Talisay and Carcar. He also singled out Cordova as a good investment site with the planned construction of the third bridge connecting Cebu and Mactan.

Leuterio said these locations already have their own attractions that draw buyers to acquire properties for investment, end-use or second homes.

National Real Estate Association, Inc. (NREA) chairman Alejandro Mañalac said that 2017 also brings more opportunities for real estate players who were able to position themselves in terms of land banking and capital requirements.

“2017 is an exciting year for the industry. Real estate will have expanded opportunities and those with active involvement in it can do so many things with the world becoming smaller. The world now is looking at the Philippines,” said Mañalac, adding that investors and buyers are not as concerned about the political noise.

“What investors look at are numbers, the bottomline. They want to see solid performance and not the noise,” he added.

With the rosy outlook in real estate, Leuterio said it is about time developers get into their boardrooms to craft strategic plans and brainstorm on innovative projects.

“My advice to all developers is to build outside the city and be conservative on pricing. Offer what the market wants and act fast before big players will catch you,” said Leuterio.

Leuterio said overseas Filipino workers remain the top buyers of properties at 60 percent to 70 percent, followed by locals at 15 percent and foreigners at two to five percent.