Friday, October 22, 2021

Condo demand holds firm; digital payments increase

STILL IN DEMAND. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, buyers are still on the lookout for property investments. Condominium units remain attractive because of their amenities and their proximity to essential establishments. (SunStar file)

DEMAND for condominiums remains firm even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hamper the local property market and consumer purchasing power.

Filipino Homes founder Anthony Gerard Leuterio said property seekers still opt for condominiums because of their amenities, locations and the fact that they provide a hedge against inflation.

“Property seeks are still keen on owning condominiums with prices ranging from P2 million to P5 million,” said Leuterio in an interview.

He noted that condominiums remain attractive to the market because of their location being walking distance from essential commercial establishments. This pandemic, Leuterio said, has highlighted the need to be in an integrated community where there is easy access to essential goods and services. This is on top of the hotel-like features condo projects possess.

Investors are also eyeing real estate, like condominiums, as a way to hedge against inflation. Home values and rents rise along with everything else during inflation.

Property technology

But to fully capture this market, Leuterio advised developers to invest in technology to make transactions easier.

“They need to be digitally equipped, like providing easy payment schemes and debit payment programs, for example,” he said, noting that buyers these days prefer lower monthly payments.

It is for this reason, according to Leuterio, that Filipino Homes boosted its investments in technology to equip its real estate agents with the necessary digital tools to continue doing business amid varying levels of restrictions.

“We have developed free customer relationship management software for our agents because everything is geared towards technology transactions already,” he said. “Property technology has driven sales in real estate, and we saw this at the height of the pandemic.”

Digital payment adoption

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), real estate stands to benefit from digitalization.

The BSP said adopting digital payment solutions can enable the country’s real estate industry to collect payments faster, and even in real time.

“Compared to check payments, you need not wait for the check to be physically mailed and cleared, which helps in avoiding potential float costs,” said BSP Gov. Benjamin Diokno during the recent Megaworld International Philippine Property Expo 2021.

According to Diokno, real estate businesses can enjoy easier management of payment collections by reducing the effort required in manual payments as digital payments also allow the easier tracking of payments since all the transactions are already recorded online.

Moreover, the rate of collection is improved by eliminating barriers that may cause customers to make late or missed payments.

Customers can make timely payments as they are no longer required to make payments in person and digital payment channels are available 24/7.

The BSP is also noticing an increasing trend for digital payments across the country. The BSP said purchasing decisions, particularly of digitally savvy customers, may also be influenced by the ability of a business to offer digital payment options to complete transactions.

“The real estate industry stands to benefit substantially by adopting digital payments. The industry can also play a significant part in broadening the adoption of digital payments among Filipinos,” Diokno pointed out. (KOC)


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