HOUSING projects in Central Visayas have reached P16 billion this year.
Preliminary data from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) showed that from January to Dec. 2, 2016, there were 58 new subdivision and condominium projects issued with Licenses to Sell in the region.
These projects account for 7,532 new houses in subdivision developments and 5,900 condominium units in Central Visayas, although most are still concentrated in Cebu, said HLURB 7 and 8 Officer-in-Charge Francis Ordeniza.
This year’s new inventory of houses and condominiums is lower than what it was in the last two years. In 2015, housing investments reached P20 billion and in 2014, these amounted to P17 billion.
What’s behind it?
Sought to explain the decline, Ordeniza said that developers have found other potential areas outside Cebu to grow. Key cities in Mindanao like Davao and Cagayan de Oro are attracting property players to expand their market reach.
But more importantly, Ordeniza said, this can be attributed to the delay in the release of building permits to the developers. He said as of Dec. 2, his office received 106 License to Sell applications, but only 58 were approved.
“We cannot issue the regular license to sell without the building permit that developers need to obtain from OBO (Office of the Building Official),” the HLURB official said. Ordeniza said his office approves License to Sell applications within 21 working days, for as long as the developer submitted complete requirements.
Ordeniza maintained that the drop in housing investments in Central Visayas should not be a cause for concern, since confidence in the local property market remains and the demand for houses will continue to go up as the population grows.
In its Cebu market report released last week, Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting Services Inc. said that Cebu has a current inventory of 22,284 condominium units. This is 148 percent higher from the 9,026 units in 2013.
“In terms of take-up, the average take-up is 5,000 condominium units per year. This is to say that the projected increase may be comfortably absorbed by the market,” it said.
A stable increase in prices, according to Pinnacle, also shows the soundness of the local residential sector. The average selling price in 2013 was approximately P84,000 square meter; in 2014 it was P90,000 per sqm, and in 2015, P95,000 per sqm.
Currently, the average selling price of condominium units is at P99,000 per sqm or an 18 percent increase from its 2013-level, the firm said.
In addition, Pinnacle said the recently approved vertical socialized housing and the increase in the price and loan ceiling for economic housing may extend the boom in the residential sector in Cebu.
However, the real estate firm has also advised developers to do proper due diligence and detailed market studies for its property ventures.