Cebu’s upscale residential market poised for growth

BULLISH. Confident in Cebu’s vibrant real estate scene, licensed broker Clementine Rama, owner of Rama Realty and Brokerage, opens an office inside Raintree Mall in uptown Cebu City. She noted an increasing demand for mid to high-end projects in Cebu as affluent individuals, during the pandemic chose to invest in prime properties.
BULLISH. Confident in Cebu’s vibrant real estate scene, licensed broker Clementine Rama, owner of Rama Realty and Brokerage, opens an office inside Raintree Mall in uptown Cebu City. She noted an increasing demand for mid to high-end projects in Cebu as affluent individuals, during the pandemic chose to invest in prime properties.Contributed photo

CEBU’S market for upscale and luxury residential units in Cebu is poised for significant expansion, fueled by the improving sentiment from businesses, individual investors and end-users.

This positive outlook is set to drive substantial growth in Cebu’s residential sector, according to property advisor Colliers Philippines.

Joey Roi Bondoc, director at Colliers Philippines, said while the supply of upscale and luxury residential projects in Metro Cebu is relatively small compared to Metro Manila, the demand is likely to be driven by local and overseas-based Cebuano investors looking for attractive investment prospects that are also viable hedges against inflation.

“Just like in Metro Manila, we see these investors banking on the capital appreciation potential of these upscale and luxury residential developments,” he said.

High-end leisure-oriented projects, specifically are performing well in terms of sales take-up.

Amisa’s fourth tower, a project of the Robinsons Land in Lapu-Lapu City, is now 86 percent sold after its launch in May 2022.

Other resort-themed projects include Rockwell Land’s The Villas at Aruga and AppleOne’s Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort. As of the end of 2023, these projects have high take-up rates of 100 percent and 99 percent respectively, while having average price per square meter of between P293,600 and P589,600.

These projects, according to Bondoc, are recording brisk take-up despite being among the most expensive in Cebu.

Property shopping during pandemic

In a separate interview, licensed broker Clementine Rama, owner of Rama Realty and Brokerage, said Cebu’s mid to high-end projects are not difficult to sell, as Cebu has become one of the top choices for property buyers after Metro Manila.

Rama observed a significant demand for mid to high-end projects in Cebu, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, as affluent individuals opted to invest in prime properties.

“People realized that they needed bigger space in case lockdowns happen. In the past, they just settled with low-quality and affordable units because they are always on the go; they just needed space to sleep but when the pandemic happened they realized that space matters and better property management too,” she said.

On April 23, 2024, Rama opened the Rama Realty and Brokerage office in Raintree Mall in uptown Cebu City, to better serve her growing clients. She said she has been optimistic about Cebu’s property scene since she began in 2014, initially selling condo units for Ayala Land.

A nursing and real estate management graduate, Rama is currently working with about 50 to 60 partner real estate salespersons.

“We have an extraordinary team of brokers passionate about real estate and are focused on giving clients the absolute best experience. We invest in research to stay attuned to trends, giving us an edge,” she said, in an interview.

Besides the availability of bigger cuts in Cebu, Rama noted that Cebu is a top choice for investors. This is due to its unique combination of easily accessible mountains and beaches near the business districts.

Buyers of mid to high-end properties are typically business owners, top executives and investors. According to Rama, these buyers have already thoroughly calculated the opportunities and risks involved before making a purchase.

“The mid to high-end market presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. This market is more about connections, and building relationships because once you have them, you get referrals from them,” she said.

Moreover, Colliers Philippines also sees a sustained demand for leisure-oriented properties fueled by the recovery of leisure and travel. Aside from local investors, the demand for these residential projects is also likely to come from foreigners.

“Developers planning to capture demand from the foreign market should explore the attractiveness of leisure-oriented projects, especially in Mactan Island. Targeting tourists is a good strategy especially given that Cebu is among the most visited local destinations in the Philippines,” Bondoc said. / KOC

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