On October 17, 2019, Lamudi successfully held The Outlook Real Estate Conference 2019 at the Makati Shangri-La, bringing together industry thought leaders from all over the country to talk about the hot topics in the Philippine real estate sector.
The Outlook: Philippine Real Estate Conference 2019, with co-presenters Philippine Daily Inquirer Property and Holcim Philippines, provided an avenue for insightful discussion spanning a wide range of topics from sustainability to alternative ways of investing in real estate.
The major sponsors for the event are the International Workplace Group and SMDC, and the official TV partner is Cignal TV. The Outlook Conference has also teamed up with event partner Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA), and media partners Philippine Daily Inquirer Property, Business Mirror, Business World, Malaya Business Insight, Manila Standard, and Philippine Star.
The Role of Developers in Making the Philippines More Sustainable
The Outlook Conference started strong with its first track, “Taking Sustainable Action: Addressing Climate Change Through Real Estate,” where moderator Cathy Saldaña, Managing Director of PDP Architects, steered the conversation into a topic dear to her heart. The panel revealed that though different companies are already pioneering efforts to use solar energy, waste management, and water recycling to be more sustainable, there is a need to adopt a more global, top-down approach to initiate change that will last.
The panelists for this track were Cecilia Domingo, Vice-President and Head of Meralco; Gian Carlo Valerio, Chief Executive Officer of Solana Land; Ram Maganti, SVP for Marketing and Innovations of Holcim Philippines Inc.; and Gay Santos, a financial inclusion specialist/advocate.
The Philippines is blessed with sun and rain, Saldaña noted, both of which can be harnessed as sources of energy. Maganti also mentioned the scarcity of fresh water, prompting the company to use recycled water as part of their sustainability efforts. Domingo talked about the residential and commercial efforts started by Meralco and its subsidiaries, from solar panels to e-sakay as an initiative. According to Domingo, the Meralco compound has already banned single-use plastic, and are active in tree-planting initiatives for carbon reduction.
Real Estate Marketing for a Younger Market
The second track, “New-Age Customer Experience: Transforming Real Estate Marketing in the Age of Disruption,” moderated by Deborah Ong, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Lamudi, explored the role of disruption in shaping a new breed of real estate clients along with strategies that should be adapted to thrive in this new consumer environment. The panel discussed the “end” of the mall to give way to online shopping, and how this prediction years ago failed to take into account the adaptability of Filipinos to change. What could have ended an industry sparked disruption, giving rise to the changes in the way people do business and how consumers consume.
The panelists for this track were Thomas Mirasol, General Manager of Federal Land; Marco Antonio, President & CEO of Century Properties; Tek Samaniego, Property Editor of Philippine Daily Inquirer Property; Jose Soberano III, CEO of Cebu Landmasters; and Eugene Lozano, First Vice President for Sales and Marketing for Megaworld Corporation.
Lozano, who has witnessed the transition from traditional to digital marketing, said there is now a focus on Google Analytics. To successfully implement these changes, Lozano mentioned the importance of informing key people in the team. “We’ve been very busy re-training, providing lectures and materials to different key people just to keep up with the digital transformation of marketing strategies nowadays.”
“The consumer today is more demanding,” Ong noted.
“And they really want to get their money’s worth,” Samaniego added.
Uncovering New Real Estate Sales Strategies
“Fresh Perspectives: Mapping Evolving Real Estate Sales” was moderated by Bhavna Suresh, Chief Executive Officer of Lamudi. The third track leaned towards preparing the sales team for new business models, strategies, and practices that improve how real estate is offered to customers. The panelists mentioned the importance of likability and trustworthiness, the human touch, malasakit, and thinking beyond after-sales.
The panelists were David Rafael, President & CEO of Aboitiz Land; Beth Ventura, President of Anchor Land Holdings, Inc.; Ricardo Lagdameo, First Vice President of Damosa Land; and Raphael Felix, President of Phinma Properties Inc. and Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA).
Rafael admitted to wondering about the future of real estate. “Will we ever reach a point where people would buy property the way they buy food from Foodpanda or they buy a shirt from Lazada?”
Upon pondering, however, Rafael has come up with an answer: “At the end of the day, the human person buying property will really still need to talk to a human person.”
Startups and Their Exploration of the Sharing Economy
“Paradigm Shifts: Exploring the Sharing Economy in Philippine Real Estate” explored the changing Philippine conditions and the rise of startups that have led to the growth of the sharing economy. Eric Manuel, of Arch Capital Management, moderated the track, which discussed the commute as a major pain point for residents who eventually decide to move to co-living spaces. The very young population of the Philippines wants to be measured by their performance, not their timesheet. Co-working spaces, on the other hand, allow young professionals to expand their network.
The track’s panelists were Jelmer Ikink, Group Director of MyTown; Nick Padilla, Co-founder, CEO & Space Captain of Kahon.ph; Paul Rivera, Co-Founder & CEO of Kalibrr; and Lars Wittig, Country Manager Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, S. Korea for International Workplace Group.
Shared spaces answer the tenants’ need to escape the commute. Ikink further noted that the future of work, especially its definition, will change over time and to address this, they are working towards a zero-commute lifestyle. This means working, living, and all amenities will be in the same space.
Choosing Investments: From POGO to Property
“Changing Face: Uncovering Alternative Ways to Invest in Real Estate” zeroed in on the drivers of investor demand, the new investment opportunities available in the market, and how the market can tap into these to encourage a robust real estate economy. The moderator, Cignal TV’s news anchor Danie Laurel, asked about the viability and sustainability of POGO as an investment. Panelists also recommend diversifying as a smart way to invest.
The fifth and final track’s panelists were Richard Raymundo, Managing Director of Colliers; Mikko Barranda, Associate Director of Leechiu Property Consultants Inc.; Iluminada Sicat, Assistant Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; and Noel Rapadas, Senior Vice President and Chief Finance Officer of Torre Lorenzo.
Sicat presented an interesting fact that will help guide investors in diversifying their portfolio: “We did an assessment of the impact of POGOs on the price of our residences. There was a sudden increase in the price of rent, but if you look at the net contribution of POGOs, it’s not that big, actually.”
Raymundo also noted that if POGOs did not come, “the rents would have corrected anyway.”
Rapadas mentioned that there is still a long way to go for these kinds of investments to be sustainable. He urged investors to look at what drives prices up, and suggested following a fixed plan to see growth. Rapadas also said that despite the increase in the prices of real estate, the Philippines is still relatively cheap compared to other places for investment in Asia.
Projects Shaping the Filipino Community
Keynote speaker Vince Dizon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), shared the plans for New Clark City as part of the Build, Build, Build program. New Clark City is planned to be the Philippines’ first smart, green, and resilient metropolis.
The Outlook Real Estate Conference also gave a platform to Virlanie Foundation, a private, non-profit and non-sectarian organization reaching out to marginalized children and communities in the Philippines. Lamudi and Virlanie launched a partnership program, Cherish-A-Home Fundraising, to help the disadvantaged, abused, neglected, and abandoned children through in-kind and cash donations that will improve their quality of life in any of the foundation’s eight homes.
The Outlook Conference: Future Forward
Lamudi’s The Outlook: Philippine Real Estate Conference 2019 gathered real estate thought leaders to share their insights on the pressing topics facing Philippine real estate today. The event leads up to Lamudi’s Outlook Awards: The Philippine Buyers’ Choice Property Awards scheduled on November 14, 2019, at the Makati Shangri-La, where property developers from all over the Philippines gather to celebrate the outstanding achievements that shaped the country and steered it to a greener future.
The winners of the awards are determined by a panel of judges and a survey involving 10,000 active property seekers.
To know more about The Outlook Awards 2019, head to lamudi.com.ph/outlook2019.
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