FOR Exequiel D. Robles, president and chief executive officer of listed property developer Sta. Lucia Land, Inc. (SLLI), knowing one’s market is key to having a successful real estate firm.
“Filipinos are always looking to acquire homes and invest in land, given the increased financial opportunities in the market,” said the developer during a recent media round table in Quezon City. “Overseas Filipino workers, call center agents, and the like are now able to provide for their families. With this growing access to land, it is now important to choose which lot to purchase. This requires real estate firms to communicate directly to the different markets locally.”
SLLI’s magic touch in connecting with locals of communities where future projects are located, even before construction starts, will continue at a faster pace this year as it allocates more than P5 billion in capital expenditures, while gunning for a 15% increase in sales with the launch of more residential and commercial projects.
“This year our target is P5 billion, maybe even more,” revealed Robles. “That’s not just for land acquisition, it also includes the development.”
The developer has been bullish in its expansion plans, chalking up more than 2,000 hectares of land which it aims to develop in the next three to four years. SLI’s land bank is located across Pangasinan, Dagupan City, Bulacan, Pasig City, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Iloilo, Silay City, Puerto Pricensa in Palawan, Cebu, and Davao.
Robles said they will continue to focus on their core business of land development, selling lots only in residential subdivisions. Other than lots, SLLI also offers house-and-lots, and condominiums.
Partnership with clients
“This is where the partnership between our sales partners and prospective clients become significant,” Robles later confided to the Manila Standard. “They bridge the developer and our potential customers, mainly Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs) and millennials, and enlighten them to the early benefits of investing in real estate without totally sacrificing their current financial priorities,” he explained. “Knowing the priorities of the market, their spending habits and practices guide our company in formulating projects and terms for the constantly changing market.”
For example, Robles said SLLI’s sales partners will not push a residential condominium or condotel investment to the client if the determined need is for a house and lot.
“Capacity of the client is a major consideration,” he said. “We don’t push our client to get a house and lot if his or her budget is just for a lot.”
But SLLI is planning to launch more condominium projects this year, as well. It has set its sights for higher end projects in Davao, Iloilo, Baguio, Quezon City, and Puerto Princesa. “The Palawan project is set to have a resort component,” Robles added.
For commercial developments, SLLI is currently building a mall in front of the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao. It is also pursuing plans for a mall in Iloilo.
The company will likewise enter into joint venture agreements with various partners, allocating around 1,000 hectares of land for partnerships.
Taking advantage of booming demand
The SLLI chief said they would like to take advantage of the booming demand for residential properties, especially from overseas Filipino workers and employees from the business process outsourcing sector.
“You can see now it’s more bullish because there are more developers. Many established developers are also expanding,” Robles said.
Robles added that their push towards the provinces instead of Metro Manila will help them avoid the tighter competition in the metro.
The company is likewise banking on its roster of marketing firms to help achieve its 15% sales growth target for the year.
SLLI units include Santa Lucia Ventures, Sta. Lucia Global, Royale Homes, Orchard Property Marketing Corp., Mega East, Fil-Estate Group, One Premiere Land, and Asia Pacific, all of which are in charge of selling and marketing SLI properties.
“The success of our marketing units is also a function of other factors such as the location and quality of our projects,” SLLI chairman Vicente R. Santos said in a statement.
SLLI booked a net income attributable to the parent of P700 million in the first nine months of 2017, 31% higher year on year, following an 18% uptick in revenues to P2.795 billion for the period.
Formula for success
“Every Filipino dreams of having their own home, and affordability is a significant factor,” Robles stressed.
“This is why we factor in the average income in an area to ensure that though our projects feel luxurious, these come with an affordable price tag. Flexible payment terms are made available to suit buyers’ budget,” he said.
Prodded on SLLI’s secret for success, Robles smiled. “It is important to ensure that the property adds value to the buyer,” he told the Manila Standard. “To do this, you have to provide top notch quality residential property and make a real effort to communicate with residents.”
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