Great time to invest, SMDC projects remain your best bet

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Great time to invest, SMDC projects remain your best bet

Published By: Inquirer | September 10, 2022

Yes, it is the perfect time to invest in real estate.

While recessions and inflation dominate the discussion today, Sheila Lobien of Lobien Realty Group Inc. (LRG) said during “InqTalks: A Dialogue with The Experts” that a foray into property would remain beneficial.

Lobien is CEO at LRG, a full-service real estate consultancy and property investments strategy firm engaged in commercial and office space leasing, capital investments optimization, and property acquisition and sales.

“Is this a good time to invest? Is this the best time? Yes, I’ll be upfront,” she said. “It is because prices of properties are relatively low, interest rate is still low and, if you do have a good credit standing, you can take that opportunity and borrow from the bank, and look at best properties out there.”

All these could go away soon as all five subsegments of the property market see recovery, she explained. These subsegments include the residential, office, warehousing, retail and hospitality sectors.

Pricing will imminently rise to pre-pandemic levels for residential products. The office market, “the barometer of a growing economy,” is recovering well. Warehousing has boomed thanks to e-commerce, while retail and hospitality are expected to pick up as restrictions relax and the so-called “revenge economy” grips the country.

“I’m sure you feel [the recovery] because, when you go out, it’s not a ghost town anymore. People are braver because a lot of Filipinos are now vaccinated, some are boosted,” Lobien said. “I hope there will be no more surge … but, so far, a lot of developers and us who are actively participating in the property market are quite confident that this is really the start of the recovery period.”

The window of opportunity is closing swiftly in offices as the administration mandates a return to offices for the business process outsourcing industry before 2022 ends, she said. Now is, thus, the best time to renegotiate rates with landlords and lock in longer lease periods.

Lobien also wants end-users and investors to snag up dwellings now with developers “giving good payment terms, attractive discounts,” adding that “you don’t wanna buy when the market’s so hot and everyone’s participating … because prices of property will go through the roof again.”

She noted SM Development Corp. (SMDC) for offering outstanding terms in mixed-use properties, projects regarded as resilient to economic slowdowns and convenient for occupants even in emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, SMDC has been hailed for its “integrated mall lifestyle” that ensures properties are not only modern and world-class, but also masterplanned to embrace the enduring mall culture in the country.

(Actual Photo: Light Mall at Light Residences, Edsa) SMDC has been hailed for its ‘integrated mall lifestyle’ that ensures properties are not only modern and world-class, but also master planned to embrace the enduring mall culture in the country.

The economic volatility impressed upon the public by news of recession, inflation and the like can force them into a “wait-and-see” attitude, but Lobien thinks people should take the leap.

That’s what history teaches, she said. “If you participated back in the global financial crisis when it hit in 2008…, the investors who bought properties back in 2009-10 are the ones who are very happy today because their land has appreciated minimum five times.”

(Actual Photo: Air Residences Lobby, Makati City) Lobien’s advice: Pay attention to two other things beyond timing—the property’s location and the developer’s track record.

Aside from that, real estate remains a strong inflation hedge, protecting investments against loss of value. She added, “That’s why a lot of people … are in the property market, because it’s one of the best investments out there, and it’s a long-term play.”

“[Land] will stay there forever. If you have a property or a condominium, the asset will not go unlike stocks…  If now you bought a property, you rent it out and when prices are again high you can sell it for a proceed,… that’s why a lot of people are saying it’s safe, durable, tangible,” she said.

If you do heed Lobien’s advice and update your investment portfolio with real estate, she wants you to pay attention to two other things beyond timing: the property’s location and the developer’s track record.

Aside from considering new sensibilities, such emergent desires for light, fresh air and sanitation, buyers should find property that is centrally located, with “everything that you need … within your reach,” from places to buy needs and wants to institutions to study or work. “It will always be salable in the future if you decide to sell that,” she explained.

Finally, Lobien attested to SMDC’s unquestionable track record: “When you look at properties, like what SMDC has, … they considered all that, what someone like us would need if you’re young, you’re old; whether you are 8 or 80 years old… It’s like, ‘We’ve got it all for you.’”

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