AROUND 4,000 home buyers, including investors, entrepreneurs, brokers, real-estate professionals, representatives from key government agencies and property developers attended the pioneering Lamudi Affordable Housing Fair, which was held over the weekend at the Glorietta 3 Activity Center in Makati City.
Economic and low-cost housing segments remain underserved at present as there is about 3.1 million units lack in the residential categories. The shortage for mass-targeted dwellings is just part of the current housing backlog of 5.7 million estimated by the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association Inc. (SHDA). If not properly addressed, SHDA projects this figure will swell up to 6.5 million by 2030. “This slice of the market needs most attention not only from the government but from private players, as well. That’s why, we at Lamudi want to jump-start the work by organizing the very first affordable-focused housing event,” said Bhavna Suresh Chathambeth, CEO of the Lamudi Group (Lamudi Philippines and MyProperty.ph).
“To be part of the solution of making real estate affordable and accessible to all is maybe one of the biggest contributions that we have made for the industry in particular and to the country in general. This is only a first and we will continue to move and shake Philippine real estate,” she added.
The two-day event was officially opened by Undersecretary Philip Francisco Dy, who delivered a speech on behalf of Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo.
He pointed out that housing affordability is one of the most sensitive shelter issues in the country at present.
CNN Philippines anchor Ruth Cabal hosted and moderated the opening program and discussion that delved on concerns for affordable residential developments, existing laws, strategies to overcome the housing challenge and its impact to the country.
The panelists included Chathambeth, Head Urban Planner Karmi Palafox of Palafox Associates, Pag-IBIG Fund Senior Vice President Benjamin Felix and Pag-IBIG Fund Vice President Elmer Tugade.
Apart from Pag-IBIG Fund, the Social Security System (SSS) was also represented in the fair. Both key national-shelter agencies provided important details on the different government programs and benefits related to housing that all Filipinos can avail themselves of.
They also took part in real-estate enrichment seminars during the fair, with SSS detailing foreclosed properties investment guide on the first day, while the Pag-IBIG Fund talking about how to finance a property on the last day.
To give more options to attendees, especially home hunters, the best value-for-money estates and exclusive property discounts were offered.
An auction of foreclosed properties was, likewise, conducted, wherein Union Bank sold an estate at P5.05 million, from a selling price that started at P3.3 million.
“This is something we need to establish in our event…foreclosures, unfortunately, have a very bad connotation in the Philippines,” said Erika Madrinan, Lamudi Group head of marketing.
“What we want to say is foreclosures are actually a way for Filipinos to get their first home at a very affordable price,” she added.
Apart from bringing developers that offer affordable housing together in one roof, the fair also tapped the best real-estate professionals who shared updated and vital investment and real-estate information to attendees.
On the first day, “Growth Market Opportunities” were discussed by Mikko Barranda, associate director of Leechui Property Consultants; “Investment Guide on Pre-Selling Condos” by Jake Loria, founder of therealestategroupphilippines.com; “Real Estate Investing Options” by Gary Hablero, president and CEO of GH Heritage; and “Selling Properties Online” by Chathambeth.
The second day, on the other hand, featured fora, such as the “Philippines’s Property Outlook” by Joey Bondoc, research manager of Colliers International; “Buying Your First Home” seminar by Gabriel Dominguez, president of Green Circle Realty; “Rent-To-Own Properties Buying Guide And Renting Versus Buying” seminars by Rem Ramirez of Philippine Institute of Real Estate Service; and Ryan Dela Cruz of Ferden Realty.
To the delight of attendees, raffle prizes, giveaways and activities were also up for grabs at the event. Technology-assisted services, such as virtual reality in real-estate and home-loan calculators were available for the home-buying experience.