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Robinsons targets first-time buyers on a budget

/ 12:15 AM November 08, 2015

Near the Ortigas Central Business District, the façade of the 40-story The Pearl Place condominium gleams with its newly-painted walls.

Modern Filipino restaurant Vera’s Place, fried chicken place Coco Hut, and Army Navy Burger + Burrito are just a few of the dining places welcoming visitors and residents on the ground floor.

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The condo is also one of the few places that have Lawson’s, a popular Japanese-brand convenience store.

When one enters, the lobby welcomes with its lofty ceiling and natural sunlight streaming from the large expanse of glass. The amenities deck, where the lap pool and children’s play area are located, overlooks the colorful neighborhood of Pearl Drive and Golden Loop.

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For buyers who are looking for accessibility and affordability, the prices range from a P2.2-million studio to a P6-million bare, three-bedroom unit. That’s P105,000 to P118,000 per square meter.

The high-rise condominium is one of the fastest-selling projects of Robinsons Communities, a Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) brand that targets first-time home buyers, young families and millennials. It is just a few kilometers from Ortigas Center, Greenhills, Muntinlupa, Cubao and Pasig City.

In a press conference, RLC senior vice president Mybelle Aragon-Gobio said, “Competition is stiff. We need to remind the market of who we are and what we offer.”

Gobio said Robinsons Communities’ sales performance has been sustained while other developers reported a slowdown in sales. One of the reasons for this is the pricing strategy, she said.

“We’re the only developer that offers bare units on a bigger scale,” said Gobio. Bare units are cheaper as they only come with a bathroom, kitchen, cement floor and a coat of paint on the walls. These allow the buyers to customize their units to house one or two bedrooms and apply their favorite paint on the wall.

“The unit is functioning with its toilet and kitchen. The beauty of a bare unit is that we can offer at a low price. The buyers finish it as soon as they have the funds to do so. It’s not like they will be having a tough time to sustain the payments,” she said.

Depending on the location, a bare unit can cost as low as P1.8 million or P78,000 per square meter such as in the mid-rise Acacia Escalades on Calle Industria, Libis, Pasig or in another mid-rise, the 14-story Escalades East Tower on 20th Avenue, Cubao.

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The 40-story Chimes on Annapolis Street, San Juan is the most expensive at  an average of P120,000 per square meter for a finished unit. This high-rise development is also a best seller because of its accessibility to the Greenhills Shopping Center and good feng shui.

Gobio said the buyer also gets perks such as Ring Rob, the digital concierge that takes care of everything from housekeeping to personal assistance, and Lifestyle Privilege Cards for discounts with Robinsons’ retail partners.

So far, buyers have been happy with their condominium units, she said. “We never over promise.”

She said there is always a demand for units.

“It’s a buyers’ market. However, the take-up of the inventory in the market remains strong, prompting developers to pursue their launches,” said Gobio.  RLC doesn’t disclose its inventory levels, saying only it plans to launch a couple of projects this fiscal year to replenish its inventory.

Still, the rise of more condos is not making the prices of units cheaper.

“We have seen capital values of condominiums steadily rising from 1 percent to 5 percent quarter on quarter. The increases remain at a healthy low but in steady increments. It’s the quick and big jumps in capital values that we worry about. These would be the signs of a speculative market,” said Gobio.

RLC’s track record and partnerships with major banks have made payment terms easier for first-time buyers with limited resources.

“We get good rates for the  clients, the end users. Banks give low equity or high loan to value ratios for our buyers. They lend as much as 80 percent. That means we get to collect lower down payments from our buyers, and we spread the payment over construction time. That translates to lower monthly payments,” she said.

She said some banks offer as low as 5.25 percent interest, which can go up to 11 percent depending on the schedule of payment.

Gobio said it’s cheaper to invest in a condominium than to rent. “Monthly payments for a Robinsons Communities condo can go as low as P8,000 a month for the down payment stage. The amount that is paid upon turnover of the units is financed by banks that give low interest rates and terms of up to 25 years—depending on the age and circumstance of the borrower. As such, the loan amortization can go as low as P6,000 per P1 million for the first year.”

Gobio said traffic has been driving young professionals to seek an affordable pied-a-terre that’s closer to their workplace. Then there are also the OFWs and BPOs spurring the demand for residential condos, she said.

“We have yet to see a slowdown,” she said.

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TAGS: Condominium, Ortigas, Pearl Place, Pearl Place condominium, Real Estate, realty, Robinsons Land Corporation
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