Filinvest exec: Pandemic to change property sector

May 13, 2020
by Filinvest Development Corporation

The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic will change the behavior of consumers and also property sellers in the country, as office developers may reverse its densification strategy and allocate more open spaces, such as parks, to their projects.

Josephine Gotianun-Yap, Filinvest Development Corp.’s (FDC)  president and CEO, said people are now expecting to find several features within the development, such as convenience stores and telemedical consultations, so they will not have to go far to find these services.

“So we’re really actually quite happy that our developments in Filinvest are less dense and our MRB (medium rise building) projects allocate quite a big percentage—60 percent–to open spaces, our buildings are not as tall, I think the consumers will appreciate that more,” Yap said.

FDC owns property developer and shopping mall operator Filinvest Land Inc.

Selling properties will also change, she said, as the company will now devote more budget on digital marketing, online marketing tools, such as 360 degrees model viewing, drone project inspection, which will now become the norm. Yap said the company already have these selling tools.

“On the office-tenant side, we will see that the previous trend toward open space planning and densification may reverse, so there’s more demand now for more space, for social distancing reasons but this may also be offset a bit by work-from-home arrangement,” she said.

On the retail side, Yap said the company expects its tenants mix would change as e-commerce will be accelerated, but this in turn this will create a demand for logistics space.

“I think the most that will be heavily affected is the hospitality industry, we are expecting going forward there will be more domestic demand rather than international travel in the medium term,” she said.

The company also operates shopping malls, but Yap admits that it is not a major mall player in the country compared with other developers as the retail spaces that it maintain are meant to serve its township development.

“From the very beginning, since we are not a major mall player, our emphasis is different. Our emphasis was really more on lifestyle, a lot more lifestyle activities. We had predicted that there will be more e-commerce going forward so we made sure our malls are there,” she said.

Yap said she hopes that jobs generation will return, mainly from the government’s infrastructure program dubbed “Build, Build, Build” as well as the stimulus packages that can support small and medium-sized enterprises and other badly hit-industries.

“And we hope that the consumers will overcome their fear so that they will get used to go under the new normal and consumption can bring back the demand for goods and services,” she added.

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