Demand for upscale, well renowned projects on the rise
Often is the case that a strong economic growth would mean an improved purchasing power.
Over the past several years, the country bore witness to how improving economic conditions paved the way for the generation of more quality jobs, resulting in an expanded middle class with a higher pay and better capacity to afford luxury goods.
Thus, the rise in demand for these so-called “aspirational items” that could range from simple goods such as bags and shoes, to the big-ticket ones, including a luxury vehicle or a prime residential property.
Surprisingly, such a demand resonated among the more affluent consumers, who have sought for more upscale, well renowned projects that offer the utmost in opulence and exclusivity.
According to Ateneo program director for real estate Enrique Soriano III, there has actually been a “dearth of luxury (residential condominium) units as it has been close to seven years since a premium development was completed (and now) developers are simply addressing the need to supply the market with high end developments.”
Indeed, a cursory look at the latest offerings by Philippine real estate developers would reveal their recent fervor in creating more exclusive spaces for their well-heeled clientele—proof that demand in this niche sector is on the rise, as compared to a decade ago.
Soriano noted that among the prestigious projects that came online about 10 to 15 years ago would be Pacific Plaza Towers at the Fort and the Rizal in Rockwell, in Makati City. Primea, among other developments, then started the trend anew about five to seven years ago, and today, the next wave luxury developments included St Moritz by Megaworld, and Proscenium by Rockwell.
Current values for these projects would usually fetch from a low of P200,000 per square meter to a new high of P300,000 per sqm. Depending on the size, ultra luxury units on the average can fetch from $1 million to as high as $10 million per condominium, Soriano added.
According to Soriano, the presence of high end developments is not only an indication that the good times are really back for the Philippine property sector. It is also telling of the growing sophistication of Philippine consumers.
“Fundamentally, it’s a supply issue and we have now benchmarked the way we develop luxury projects with global best practices or at least Asian standards, effectively challenging our local developers to compete head on with major players in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Our designers are likewise world class having had stints with prestigious architectural firms,” he said.
“Additionally, the new high rise luxury developments enhance real estate land values in the neighboring areas and naturally, across all levels. It also makes it more attractive for other developers to join the bandwagon for quality projects,” Soriano further explained.
He also pointed out that “adding new capacity can fundamentally release some of the upward pressure on premium rents.” Soriano added: “But in terms of impact to the Philippine economy, the ultra luxury market is adding only a relatively small amount of supply concentrated at the very top of the market. Generally it doesn’t help keep rents more affordable in the mid market.”
Meanwhile, here’s a quick look at some of the country’s most prestigious developments, which continue to raise the benchmark in a growing Philippine real estate sector. These are currently the most prime developments that offer iconic designs, a badge of luxury and prestige, and an unparalleled lifestyle.
This latest prime enclave from Megaworld Corp. offers nothing short of ultra-luxurious units within a low-rise estate house designed by UK’s Broadway Malyan and patterned after London’s One Hyde Park apartments.
It is located within McKinley West, beside Forbes Park and the Manila Polo Club.
Currently, the most coveted and expensive unit is the St. Moritz penthouse priced at P55 million for a 220-sq m nook. The penthouse allows for the kind of life one could only dream off as it has its own infinity pool on the unit’s deck, private elevator and foyer, keycard access, European brands for built-in kitchen, toilet and bath and home appliances.
Such impressive features boosted demand for St. Moritz: 70 percent of its units have been sold, of which 32 percent were repeat buyers while 68 percent were single buyers.
Though it may come as a surprise to many, 89 percent of the buyers are Filipinos while only 11 percent comprised of the foreign buyers—indeed a good indication that Filipinos are really now enjoying the good life. Most of the buyers were businessmen and executives but there are also bankers and other professionals.
As an upscale residential developer, Megaworld also has the McKinley west with prices ranging from P190,000 to 200,000 per sqm; Alabang West at P56,000 per sqm; McKinley Hill at P150,000 per sqm; and Bacolod and Negros Occidental’s Forbes Hill at P18,000 per sqm.
ROCKWELL LAND CORP.
If there is a developer that has cemented its strong foothold in this uspcale property market, it would have to be the Lopez-led Rockwell Land Inc., which has long earned that distinct and elusive mark of prominence, prestige and respect. Its residential condominium developments included The Manansala, Joya Lofts and Towers, One Rockwell, Edades, 32 Sanson and The Grove by Rockwell.
In the works now would be what the company has dubbed as “the greatest Rockwell yet”—the five towers of The Proscenium, which is poised to strengthen anew the already solid and remarkable reputation that Rockwell Land has built for itself over the past 20 years.
The Proscenium’s first four towers were named after world-famous theaters.
“Kirov” and “Sakura” put a strong emphasis on the privacy and exclusivity of unit owners, with each floor featuring only two to five units. “Lorraine” is poised to offer spacious units and easy access to the Rockwell Center while the “Lincoln” will feature diverse unit cuts fitted to the various needs of residents.
By bringing only pure artistry, ingenuity, expertise, and passion, Rockwell Land has set the stage on fire, and has given the country world-class, landmark architectural masterpieces, that continue to alter the way individuals know and understand the term “luxury.”
Currently, Proscenium units are priced P40 million and up, while penthouses could go as high as P170 million. Proscenium buyers are comprised mostly of entrepreneurs and professionals aged 45 to 60 years. For the bigger cuts, almost 15 percent of the buyers are foreigners.
With the overwhelming reception of the Edades Garden Villas, Rockwell wanted to provide the market with that same exclusivity and an elevated experience with its latest addition to the master-planned community, the Edades Suites.
It broke ground last October 14 and is positioned as a highly exclusive development. Rising 23 storeys high, Edades Suites only has 52 prime units with three units to a floor. Its price is like that of the Proscenium and is already 85 percent sold out.
CENTURY SPIRE RESIDENCES
Further cementing the Philippine capital’s position as a hub for top-notch residential developments is new designer residence, Century Spire, which was interior designed by Armani/Casa.
Rising in Century City, Makati, the luxury tower is developed by Century Properties Group and with no less than Studio Daniel Libeskind at the helm of architectural design.
Spire is the first Armani-branded building in the Philippines, awarded as the Best Mixed-use Building in the Asia Pacific Property Awards in 2015.
Price point: About 400,000 per sqm
Milano is the first luxury private residential building in Asia interior designed by Versace Home.
The building, designed with Versace’s signature Greek fret, rises to more than 50 storeys. Residences include the Penthouse units at the highest floor, the Loggia with private plunge pools, the Sky Townhouses, and several bedroom suites, with exceptional views of Makati and Century City.
Its Versace Home-designed amenities include the grand lobby, library and business center, pool and juice bar, spa/hammam and fitness center.
Price point: About P300,000 per sqm
IGUAZU TOWER AT ACQUA PRIVATE RESIDENCES
Acqua Iguazu by yoo is the fifth tower to rise in Acqua Private Residences. The tower is interior designed by yoo, the design company founded by world-renowned designed Philippe Starck and international property entrepreneur John Hitchcox.
The tower will feature a sky deck, whose amenities include a swimming pool, bar, dining area, function rooms, an indoor and an outdoor library, and a movie room.
Price point: About P200,000-250,000 per sqm
Trump Tower at Century City is an exclusive residential tower developed by Century Properties Group under license from the Trump Organization in New York. The building’s emphasis on elegance, quality and craftsmanship will be evident in its units and amenity spaces. The project will also use a selection of Hermès home collections for its amenities and common areas.
Price point: About P450,000 to P500,000 per sqm