Developers try to temper Chinese investments in Cebu properties

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita December 20,2018 - 10:26 PM

The continued boom of Cebu’s real estate industry is attracting not just local but also foreign buyers of residential properties in different areas of the province.

Among the biggest potential buying market are Chinese nationals, who are also the fastest growing tourist market for Cebu and the rest of Central Visayas.

More and more Chinese nationals are buying condominium units, even whole floors, and are paying developers in cash.

However, a leading real estate marketer is warning developers against accepting more Chinese buyers for their properties.

“The Chinese market is not a good market for the Philippines. They are temporary in nature. Why? Because when the Chinese buy, they buy on speculation. They buy a lot of condo units and they resell,” said Anthony Leuterio of Leuterio Realty and Brokerage.

The problem with allowing more Chinese buyers to buy condo units is that this will drive up the prevailing prices of properties since there is existing high demand.

Leuterio, who is also the founder real estate solutions firm Filipino Homes, said that this is what has happened to the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig where prices have skyrocketed since a lot of Chinese nationals have bought properties.

As a result, Filipinos and other local buyers will have difficulty matching the selling prices of developers.

“Once the Chinese comes in, all prices will go up because there is market demand. Filipinos can’t buy anymore because the prices have gone up because of these Chinese,” he added.

Most of the Chinese, Leuterio said, are also not the type who will stay in the properties they purchased. Instead, they just use these residential units once they come to Cebu for vacation or for other leisure activities, including gambling.

Aside from BGC, he said this phenomenon also happened in Thailand eight years ago when a lot of the Chinese went to Thailand and bought residential properties.

“Now, they have left Thailand. They are moving to the Philippines because they see that we are the fastest growing economy. The Chinese are wise. They will go where they see their money growing faster,” he added.

Leuterio explained that this phenomenon comes at a time when more and more Filipinos are setting aside money in order to invest on residential properties.

Government policies are already in place, including a policy that requires developers to sell only 40 percent of their inventory of properties to foreigners.

The remaining 60 percent should be sold to local or Filipino buyers.

As early as now, some developers are already wary of the Chinese market.

HT Land Inc., developer of the 20-hectare mixed-use Mandani Bay project in Mandaue City, has also seen the growing number of Chinese buyers among their properties.

Mandani Bay project director Gilbert Ang said they also want to make sure that their project will not be affected by the behavior of their buyers.

“We are limiting Chinese buyers. Right now, we have Chinese buyers. But not the majority. It’s less than five percent. We study the profile of our buyers because at the end of the day, it’s the project that will be affected,” he said.

Ang said most of their buyers still come from the local market, not just in Cebu but also Filipinos from other provinces within Visayas and Mindanao.

On the other hand, Leuterio said brokers are focusing on the Filipino market for residential properties in Cebu.

For Filipino Homes, he said they have been targeting Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who can easily save up to buy properties.

“In a year, we can do up to 18 sales missions abroad. There are times when we visit one country four times,” he said.

Their biggest market, he said, is Dubai, which has almost 800,000 OFWs whose average income ranges from P60,000 to P70,000 a month.

They also visit countries like Singapore, USA, and Japan, among others.

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TAGS: Cebu‬, Chinese, developers, investments, properties

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