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IF THEY CAN AFFORD IT
Filipinos said to prefer bigger homes

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:09:00 09/16/2010
By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.

Filed Under: Real Estate, Housing & Urban Planning
La Verti Residences DMCI Taft Pasay Inquirer Photo 1 La Verti Residences DMCI Taft Pasay Inquirer Photo 3

WHEN DMCI Homes’ brain thrust was still drafting the blueprint of its new high-rise project on a one-hectare lot at the cross section of Pasay, Makati and Manila, property specialists advised it to follow other condominium developers in the area by building smaller units rather than spacious rooms that it was known for.

These self-styled real estate experts argued that since its property was near the university row on Taft Avenue, DMCI Homes would do well to build “dormitory space” fit for transients and students from nearby schools.

“We were told that if we sold smaller units, we would double the velocity of our sales than if we stayed with our strategy of selling to young and upwardly mobile families. But we stuck to what worked for us because we believe that the area is ripe for a family-based community project and not just dorm-type condos. We’re happy with the results,” says DMCI Homes president Alfredo Austria.

True enough, DMCI Homes’ La Verti Residences, a twin-tower project on Taft Avenue near Gil Puyat Avenue, went against the grain by offering more bedroom units than the 20-square-meter studio units that were predominant in other high-rise projects in the area.

The result? Sales of La Verti are nearly double the company’s monthly average since it was launched a month ago and Austria expects the project to be sold out before the year ends. DMCI Homes is indeed sticking to its guns on its new projects being rolled out in the near to medium-term as exemplified not only by the La Verti Residences but also by its other projects in the pipeline—Flair Towers (a two-tower high-rise on Reliance corner Pines streets near Edsa); Sienna Park Residences (a medium-rise development on West Service Road, Bicutan, Parañaque); and mid-rise condos on Visayas Avenue, Quezon City and Muntinlupa—where bulk of the units to be sold would come in 40- to 60-square-meter configurations.

Austria notes that most developers offer their projects with 20-square-meter cuts, thinking that buyers would just buy two units and combine them if they wanted bigger space for their family.

“But based on our experience, buyers purchase only one unit from the start because it is all that they can afford. By the time they have money to buy another unit, their adjacent unit is already owned and they are forced to buy units from other floor levels,” says Austria.

After selling about 14,000 units in 20 community projects over the last 10 years, Austria says that the most stable or least fickle demand came from families who wanted to move up in their dwellings.

“They’re not affected too much by slight adjustments in prices or terms. They already know what they want,” says Austria.

DMCI Homes says its target buyers prefer units with at least 40 square meters in floor area, going for less than P2 million, and offer amenities found only in high-end condominiums.

“We believe that our projects appreciate well in value over time because our buyers are not speculators, they want to live in condos that are ideal for families,” says Austria. “We’re sticking to what works for us and we hope to double our sales in five years.”