CONFIRMING the construction boom in Cebu, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) reported a triple-digit growth rate in the rise of license to sell (LTS) applications for condominium projects.

From 40 LTS received in 2016, this ballooned to 113 this year or an increase of 183 percent, data from HLURB Central Visayas Region (CVR) as of Dec. 5 showed.

An LTS is a certification obtained by a property developer from HLURB which serves as proof that the developer has a legitimate business and is financially stable to complete the project that it is selling.

However, out of the 113 that applied for the HLURB permit, more than 80 percent failed to gain approval. HLURB CVR Director Francis Ordeniza said only 20 LTS for condominiums have been issued by his office this year.

“The most common reason why they have not been issued license to sell is that they do not have building permit. We cannot issue a license to sell without building permit from the LGU (local government unit),” the local HLURB official said.

A building permit is obtained from the LGU, specifically the Office of the Building Official (OBO). Having one means the constructed building abides by the National Building Code of the Philippines (PD 1096), Fire Code of the Philippines (RA 9514), Accessibility Law (BP 344) and other laws that assure safety.

In Cebu, Ordeniza said condominium projects are all concentrated in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu.

Sought for comment, Cebu City Office of the Building Official (OBO) head Engr. Josefa Ylanan said building permits have not been issued to some projects because of insufficient parking lots.

“Low-cost condominiums are requested to have one parking slot for every 10 units. This is what most of the developers have a hard time complying with,” the official said in a text message.

The City Planning Office, she noted, is tasked to check whether buildings have ample parking spaces.

“I know they can comply, but they are just trying to maximize their profits. We keep reminding these developers to take into consideration in their design the presence of open spaces. They also need to be aware of the laws within the places they will build their projects since there is only one national law and that is the Building Code,” added Ylanan.

According to HLURB, majority of the condominium projects applied for this year are in the low-cost or economic segment, or where unit prices fall between P450,000 and P1.7 million.

Of the 20 approved condominium projects this year, 10 are classified economic, nine open market (one unit priced P1.7 million and above), and one socialized condominium (priced P450,000 and below). These add another 3,829 units to Cebu’s condominium supply.

Despite the drop in the number of condominium projects issued LTS this year, HLURB noted higher investment value at P15.6 billion. Meanwhile, in 2016, project cost of the 43 condominiums issued LTS reached P15.3 billion.

This year, Ordeniza said more vertical developments in the residential front were launched, given the scarcity of land in the key cities, while simultaneously maximizing the use of the property.

According to Colliers International Philippines senior research manager Dinbo Macaranas, takeup of horizontal and vertical developments in Metro Cebu will continue to rise on a healthy level.