In a first, Lamudi held its latest installment to The Outlook Roundtable Series via a virtual platform on September 10, 2020. Called On the Horizon: Real Estate Leaders on Market Recovery, the discussion featured various industry leaders in three tracks.
Digital Transformation for Business
For the first track of the conference, Deborah Ong, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Lamudi, facilitated the conversation, centering on Revive: Property Investment in the Post-Pandemic World. The property experts noted big changes in their internal operations to cater to the demands of the buyers amid the pandemic.
“Digital transformation has been forced upon us,” Julius Guevarra, VP for Corporate Planning at D.M. Wenceslao said, acknowledging that online solutions are a necessity now to sustain operations.
For Damosa Land, virtual staging has become a core element of their marketing campaign when the lockdown happened, VP Cary Lagdameo shared. In August, as the community quarantine measures eased, they were able to shoot broker-guided tours.
Meanwhile, Robinsons Homes has explored other types of content to connect with buyers. “We’ve innovated on how we can reach out to them in terms of the remote arrangement we have right now. We’re actually creating tools to do that, like for example, we’ve started doing drone shots for all our provincial developments,” Mico Racelis, Business Unit General Manager of Robinsons Homes said.
Franco Soberano, EVP and COO of Cebu Landmasters Inc., noted the huge demand for properties in May. One of the triggers, he believes, is their efforts to make it easier for buyers to learn about the products.
“The demand is sustained, or even growing,” he said.
Right Response to the Crisis
After the first panel discussion, Lamudi launched the latest episode of On the House: Small Talk with Big Bosses for the track Reimagine: Real Estate in the New Normal. This featured Arch. Henry Yap, Business Unit General Manager of Robinsons Land Corporation, talking about the right attitude in times of difficulty.
“If we believe that the crisis will just end without any intervention, that will not happen. We shouldn’t put them aside. We should confront them and react accordingly,” Yap said.
Emphasizing the value of looking back at past experiences, he pointed out that the learnings can help make informed decisions during crises.
Emerging Buyer Demands
Meanwhile, the third track of the virtual conference focused on Redesign: Buoying the Market through Changes with facilitator Mark Bailey, Corporate Accounts Lead of Lamudi.
One of the key insights discussed was the shift in property seekers’ preferences. Given the new normal, many are prioritizing convenience, technology, and health safety.
“During the pandemic and the stringent lockdowns, many have seen the value of living in mixed use developments or at least being near and having easy access to groceries, banks, offices, and medical facilities,” said Tek Samaniego, Editor of Philippine Daily Inquirer Property.
In terms of technology, Tomas Lorenzo, President and CEO of Torre Lorenzo Development Corp., mentioned that more have been increasingly interested in residential buildings that have high-speed internet, especially in the student market segment.
Earlier, Lamudi reported in its latest trend report that connectivity amenities have been a strong consideration among aspiring homeowners.
For Emma Imperial, Group Chair and CEO at Imperial Homes Group of Companies, the tech preference comes in the form of stronger interest for solar-powered homes. Two months after the lockdown began in March, her company experienced sales growth.
“The sales [reached] 40 percent higher than our pre-COVID performance,” she mentioned.
Prioritizing one’s well-being, people have been considering healthy buildings, according to Joey Bondoc, Senior Research Manager of Colliers International Philippines.
“It’s very important now that you are in a building where there’s enough sanitation, enough sunlight. If you’re in a condo, you have to make sure that your property manager is implementing enough safety protocols,” he said.
Given the social distancing measures, he added that investors, especially overseas Filipino workers, are looking for bigger spaces.
Property experts saw a shift in buyers demographics as well. Raphael Felix, Chairman of the Board of Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) and President and CEO of Phinma Properties, noted that millennials have been busy in the real estate scene. He said, “We used to have an average age of 30 to 40. Our 20-to-30-year-old market segment has doubled in the last three months.”
New Property Hotspots
Aside from real estate features, preference for location has likewise shifted. Bondoc said that businesses are expanding to Cebu, Iloilo, and Pampanga.
Meanwhile, aspiring homeowners are leaning towards provincial cities, especially the affordable segment. Soberano of Cebu Landmasters shared, “We’re very pleased that [the demand is] coming from a lot of regional markets, like Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete.”
“These regional centers are the first to bounce back from the crisis,” he emphasized.
This virtual panel discussion is in partnership with Dyson, Kone, Philippine Daily Inquirer Property, Colliers Philippines, Subdivision and Housing Division Association, Inc., and the official broadcast media partner, ANC.
Click here to watch the videos on-demand for the month of September.