PRIVATE developers remain confident in the country’s property sector and say the construction boom is here to stay for the next couple of years, as a result of the country’s healthy economic fundamentals.

But on Friday, during the National Housing Summit 2017 in Cebu City, they asked the government to do its part by minimizing delays in the licensing and related applications and do away with policies they consider unsupportive to the housing industry.

“The boom has a momentum by itself. We just have to continue it, and if we can improve it, it (construction boom) will continue,” said Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP) president Marcelino Mendoza.

A constructiom boom is characterized by a rapid increase in construction activities driven by a strong demand.

On average, developers said it takes a year and a half to comply with all the documents needed before they can start building their projects. Aside from red tape in government, they also aired the inconsistencies in policies on housing.

Some of the key concerns of developers have are the two-year moratorium on agricultural land conversions, lack of mechanisms for the full implementation of socialized condominiums, imminent removal of VAT exemptions on low-cost and socialized housing, and delisting houses above P2 million from the government’s proposed Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) 2017-2019.

Economic conditions

Despite these setbacks, Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) national president Christopher Narciso said the property and construction sector, specifically the residential subsector, has managed to grow.

“The boom is a result of good economic conditions. There are several factors there, it’s supply and demand. The numbers speak for itself. The supply is far less than that of new demand every year plus the backlog,” said the SHDA official.

“The fundamentals alone will always have a healthy housing market. With better initiatives in place, by addressing all the issues, then that would sustain the boom,” Narciso added, considering other factors like low interest rates.

Housing backlog in the Philippines stands at 5.6 million, but the industry players were only able to deliver 250,000 new residential units in 2016.

OSHDP chair George Richard Siton believes that if the administration can address the problems in the housing industry from the permits, technical, and financial aspects, the housing industry can easily double the production.

Also on Friday, developers held the ceremonial handover of issues and recommendations of the housing sector to Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chair Leoncio Evasco Jr. at the Golden Prince Hotel in Cebu City.

For his part, Evasco said he will convene the six shelter agencies within the month to discuss the issue. These agencies include the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pagibig Fund), Home Guarantee Corp. (HGC), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), National Housing Authority (NHA), National Home Mortgage and Finance Corp. and the Social Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC).