Landmasters keen on filling housing gaps

THE founder of publicly-listed Cebu Landmasters Inc. said he is keen on expanding the property development company’s portfolio to include the lower-end market and help address the county’s challenge of dealing with informal settlements.

In an interview with reporters yesterday, CLI President Jose Soberano III said the company has embarked on its first collaboration for a low-rise vertical housing project in Inayawan, Pardo with Pagtambayayong-A Foundation for Mutual Aid, Inc.

“While they (informal settlers) are comfortable in their present abode, it might be better really for the government to encourage vertical living and give these residents an opportunity to own their houses or units,” said Soberano at the sidelines of the groundbreaking of Phase 3 of Mivesa Garden Residences in Barangay Lahug in Cebu City.

Given today’s urban migration, the businessman raised the need for more low-cost dwellings that informal settlers can afford, with flexible financing options.
However, with the scarcity of raw lands in Cebu’s key cities, as well as soaring land prices, Soberano recommended building tenements in nearby towns like Consolacion and Liloan in the north, or Talisay City and Minglanilla in the south.

“If you are in a location closer to the main highway, you can actually build three to four-storey condos and people will buy. That will become the trend. Given the chance, we would like to be part of that,” he said.

For its collaboration with Pagtambayayong, Soberano said CLI has provided funds for the land acquisition and the ongoing construction of two to three-storey structures that will house at least 60 families.

Pagtambayayong is a non-governmental organization that promotes low-income housing. Its center for appropriate technology conducts research, production, and training on appropriate building technologies. The NGO is also a member of Sustainable Building Technologies-Philippines, the network of SBT practitioners.

For the last 13 years since it was formed, CLI has largely embarked on residential projects, both horizontal and vertical, that cater to the middle-market segment. This catapulted it to become the number one local housing developer in Metro Cebu, according to real estate firm CBRE Philippines.

The homegrown developer made its debut in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) last June 2 this year, raising P2.15 billion of fresh equity capital.

For the third quarter, the listed developer posted a 105 percent year-on-year profit growth and expressed confidence that it is on track to surpass the P1.2-billion net income year-end target.

CLI’s year-to-date net income after tax reached P940 million, exceeding the previous year’s P459 million. The homegrown developer attributed this report to the 68 percent increase in real estate revenues in the past quarter to P2.736 billion.
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