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Colliers Review

Rise of integrated communities seen in Bustling Bacolod

/ 04:06 AM February 15, 2020

Integrated community has long been a buzz phrase in property development.

In Metro Manila, we have seen major developers acquiring parcels of land in strategic locations (read: near infrastructure projects) as firms intend to unlock the value of land and properties around these areas.

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However, this strategic landbanking scheme in major business districts across Metro Manila is hampered by lack of developable land and surging land values. Over the past few years, Colliers Philippines saw an aggressive land acquisition in urban areas outside Metro Manila. For the most part, these huge parcels of land are transformed into integrated communities.

Ripe for township

These urban areas include Bacolod City, which we believe to be ripe for more integrated communities especially with the government’s stated goal of spurring economic opportunities outside Metro Manila. Colliers Philippines believes Bacolod is a beneficiary of the push for decentralization and infrastructure implementation.

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Infrastructure-driven

Bacolod’s growth should be further supported by the roll out of infrastructure projects.

Among the public projects due to be implemented here are the Bacolod Economic Highway and the expansion of Bacolod-Silay Airport. Other local government-initiated projects that should further raise the city’s attractiveness as an office and residential hub include the Bacolod City South Bus Terminal, two coastal roads and a viaduct. These should ease access from the city’s business districts to second and third-tier cities.

With Bacolod’s property landscape becoming more competitive, Colliers Philippines sees the development of more integrated communities.

Hence, national and homegrown developers should consider further differentiating township offerings. Apart from the typical land uses such as office, residential, retail and hotel, developers should also incorporate institutional uses such as education and healthcare. Others have been more aggressive in differentiating their communities by integrating entertainment and recreational facilities for outdoor sports.

Placemaking approach

For property firms planning to develop integrated communities in Bacolod, their differentiation strategies should be anchored on placemaking or the “multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces.”

Under this method, developers assess each community’s distinct assets and potential, and eventually build facilities that will maximize those features. A well thought-out placemaking strategy should make Bacolod projects more attractive to investors and end-users.

In our opinion, offices should remain an integral part of township development in Bacolod due to the continued expansion of outsourcing firms. Bacolod is being groomed as a health information hub outside Manila.

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Several outsourcing firms are now looking at Bacolod and thus, property developers should be mindful of their office space requirements. This should have a spillover effect on residential demand in the city.

Attractive investment

In our opinion, the condominium segment in Bacolod City is still in its early stages but we see both demand and supply rising once various township projects are completed.

Colliers Philippines believes that condominium units are becoming an attractive investment option for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and local businessmen. Unit owners are anticipating the condominium projects’ potential for leasing once they have been completed.

In our opinion, the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector will probably continue to be a driver of condominium leasing in Bacolod City. Foreign employees and higher-earning local outsourcing workers are among the targeted occupants.

Colliers projects a faster rise in the price of condominium projects in the near to medium term. Growth of the BPO sector, rise in foreign tourists, and expansion of the city’s economy should help prop up condominium demand and prices moving forward.

Maximizing townships

Colliers Philippines has identified recommendations for developers and investors planning to maximize township developments in Bacolod.

We encourage end-users to opt for projects in integrated communities as these enhance working and living conditions. For investors, we recommend that they choose projects in townships due to possible yield enhancement.

Overall, the prospects for Bacolod property market look bright and this should give investors, end-users and developers more reasons to smile.

The author is a senior research manager at Colliers International Philippines. Send feedback to [email protected] colliers.com

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