"Rents which we thought we would get in two years we're getting now," said Beth Collingz, a managing director in Metro Manila of the Condotel Marketing arm of PLC Global Pinoy, the International marketing partner of Pacific Concord Properties’ Lancaster Brand of Condo Hotels in the Philippines.
Collingz expects rental income to rise 15 percent in the coming 12 months after gains of as much as 30 percent since January 2006, when Pacific Concord Properties Inc are set to launch Condo Hotel operations of their flagship Lancaster Suites located in the Ortigas business district in Metro Manila.
UK Private equity units of banks and investment clubs, driven in part by the current strength of the Pound Sterling in international trading, are being attracted by returns in the Philippines as much as double those in the United States and Europe, are purchasing significant blocks of real estate for investment trusts for Asian commercial property.
"There are large amounts of capital now chasing increasingly limited investment-grade real-estate opportunities in Asia," said Collingz. "We are currently in the closing stages of packaging the investment of some $20M in private-equity real estate funds for new Lancaster Brand Apart-Hotel or Condotel developments in Metro Manila and Cebu, on the strength of expected rental returns which will continue to grow at a rapid pace."
With funds raised for commercial property deals in Asia having doubled in each of the past five years, Collingz see the market value of Condotel investments in the Philippines reaching new heights in 2007/8 as more developments come on line.
Rising demand for homes, hotels, short and medium term rental accommodation, offices and shopping malls in the Philippines, home to a population of almost 80 million and with a significant number of the more than 10 million returning overseas Filipino ‘Baby Boomers’, is fueling rents.
Residential rents in Metro Manila rose 26 percent in the three months to March 2007, their highest quarter-on-quarter increase in more than a decade, as more and more IT companies set up shop in the Philippines. Companies like Texas Instruments are investing $1B in expanded operations in the Philippines. High-end rents rose some 13 percent from a year earlier, said Collingz.
Collingz projects that Rents in the region are set to effectively jump up by at least 8.7 percent per annum over the next five years, compared with 3.3 percent in the United States and 3.7 percent in Europe. Yields from 8 percent to as high as 14-16 percent ROI on rental income property contrast with the 4 percent to 5 percent that private equity firms get in the United States and Europe.
"People are in general looking to shift fund flows relatively towards Asia," Collingz said. "It already has had a profound impact in markets where there's a lot of this money chasing the same assets." In Singapore, the region's second- biggest market after Japan, investments by private real estate funds accounted for seven of the 19 office blocks, worth 6.7 billion dollars, sold since September 2005. REITs bought six. A Goldman Sachs fund paid 690 million dollars for two buildings last November that house the headquarters of DBS Group Holdings. In Hong Kong, property funds of Morgan Stanley and Macquarie Bank paid a total of 7.9 billion Hong Kong dollars, or $1.02 billion, for four office blocks from March to May, according a recent article published by CB Richard Ellis.
As the Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong markets become saturated, the Philippines will be the next real estate market to attract substantial overseas investments. Lower prices and retirees’ spending money are also directing foreign attention to residential condominium hotels in the Philippines, which in turn is driving up more construction.
A lot of this interest is being driven by the relatively cheap market prices here compared to Europe especially UK housing prices and the easy payment options available for condominium hotel developments Collingz said. The buyers gain rental incomes that on today’s purchase prices give a projected ROI of some 8 percent to 14-16 percent depending on the mode of payment for the unit she said.