OFWs key to developers’ success
Personal remittances from Filipinos abroad already reached $12.7 billion (P570.2 billion) in the first six months of the year, a 6.2-percent improvement from the $11.9 billion (P534.3 billion) posted in the same period last year. With such remittances attaining sustainable growth, homebuilders in the low- and middle-income segment are expecting a strong performance in the next several months.
“While locally employed homebuyers are still our biggest market, families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) come very close. An excellent example is our recently finished St. Joseph Richfield [project] in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna, wherein 41 percent of the buyers are families of OFWs compared to locally employed, which make up 49 percent,” noted Romarico “Bing” Alvarez, president and CEO of PA Alvarez, who recently started turning over the units to its new owners.
Located in Barangay Tagapo, the 7.53-hectare development features 972 house and lot packages with price starting from P950,000 to P2.6 million.
St. Joseph Richfield is PA Properties’ third project in Sta. Rosa City after Ciudad de San Jose and San Jose Residencias.
Alvarez said: “In a way, this trend is being observed in most of our projects considering that OFWs are the main factor driving up the market for the past several years. Just last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that cash remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks reached $22.8 billion (P102.3 billion), reflecting an annual growth rate of 6.4 percent from 2012. This figure even exceeded the BSP’s 5-percent growth target.”
He related that owning a house has always been on top of OFWs’ list [of priorities] and this dream is made more achievable now that there are so many housing options available in the market. “As a general rule, an OFW will spend 30 percent of his or her remittances in the real estate sector, whether to use it in buying properties or spending it on housing improvements,” Alvarez said.
He added that what St. Joseph Richfield offers are various model houses that suit a range of tastes, from first-home buyers and single professionals to start-up families.
Alvarez said: “The model houses of St. Joseph Richfield employ Japanese modern minimalist designs that are simple yet cool. We have 361 units of Akina that are two-story homes with a total of 40-square-meter floor area and 36-sq-m lot (P950,000). We also have 552 units of Ayaka that are two-story homes with a total of 42-sq-m floor area and 40-sq-m lot area (P965,000).”
The more exclusive units at St. Joseph Richfield are the Akemi (only 33 units). These are two story houses with a total of 54-sq-m floor area and 80-sq-m lot (P1.7 million). The most expensive ones are the Izumi (only 26 units). These are two-story houses with a total of 80-sq-m floor area and 105-sq-m lot (P2.6 million).
He said: “Laguna, especially in Sta. Rosa City, has always been an attractive location for homebuyers. Accessibility, thanks to the South Luzon Expressway and the Skyway, has improved so much that Metro Manila is just a few hours’ drive. Once they get here, they will find that St. Joseph Richfield offers them a friendly, neighborly atmosphere. It is right at the heart of Sta. Rosa, one of the most vibrant, thriving growth areas in the near south.”
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