Date
19 August 2017
Century Spire (right) is part of a luxury development in the Makati business district. The 60-storey building will house high-end apartments and offices. Photo: Century Properties
Century Spire (right) is part of a luxury development in the Makati business district. The 60-storey building will house high-end apartments and offices. Photo: Century Properties

What Armani is dressing up in Manila these days

Body by Libeskind, interiors by Armani.

Manila’s luxury condominium market is all dressed up and ready to go, another sign it’s attracting wealthy domestic and foreign buyers in increasing numbers.

All that buying is fueling a building boom in the Philippines’ high-end market that is transforming cities from the capital Manila to other major centers.

Most buyers in the latest wave of acquisitions are yield-conscious investors from Japan and Malaysia who buy apartments in bulk, switching from Hong Kong and Singapore, according to Reuters.

In fact, foreigners own about 40 percent of newer condominium developments. They’re allowed to own apartments as long as 60 percent of any condominium project is owned by Filipinos.

They’re buying into gleaming new towers for capital gains or to rent to a growing Filipino middle class and expatriate population.

“The fact that you have all these developers maximizing the foreign limit is becoming very common,” says David Leechiu, Philippine country manager of property adviser Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

Manila condominiums offer yields between 7 percent and 9 percent, nearly double those in most other Asian cities. The premium is seen lasting another five years.

Residential condominium rent in the main business districts has risen about 5 percent on average while office rent is up over 5 percent, according to Colliers data.

That sort of pace can’t continue without fueling talk of an asset bubble. 

The central bank moved to reassure the market that no such danger is on the horizon but encouraged banks to maintain higher capital buffers as a precaution.

Also, it did nothing to dampen the flash and hoopla around Manila’s latest luxury attraction, a 60-storey office and residential project in the main Makati business district.

Century Spire broke ground Monday, with renowned Polish architect Daniel Libeskind, who did the master plan for the rebuilding of New York’s World Trade Center, in attendance.

Armani had a complement of designers on the ground as well. They will take to the heights to dress up the place when it’s finished.

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