MANILA -- The Philippine property market is expected to achieve double-digit growth this year, with real estate values seen scaling all-time highs across all sectors, Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) said Monday.

“We're optimistic about the growth in the real estate sector. More or less, it will be a double-digit return across many assets, classes,” real estate services firm LPC chief executive officer David Leechiu said in an interview.

Leechiu underscored the industry's need to prepare for the central bank’s plan to bring down the reserve requirement from 18 percent to 8 percent by 2021.

“That is going to release trillions of pesos into the economy, and a big chunk of that will find its way to real estate,” he said. “(This will result in) lower interest rates and more investible funds for real estate.”

In a press briefing, Leechiu said transaction values are expected to continue increasing in the office markets, as well as the residential and industrial segments.

He bared the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) and Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) continue to be significant demand drivers for office space.

“The IT-BPM industry continues the upward trend since 2017 with now having 102,000 square meters (sqm) take-up in three months (of 2019). We expect for it to grow at a faster pace and reach the forecasted 450,000 sqm take-up in 2019 should there be more PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority) spaces available in the market,” he noted.

With or without the second package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), Leechiu said more IT-BPM firms are coming back after completing their diversification program from the Philippines, and because of labor wages in the United States which are climbing to new highs.

He further said the POGO industry is also the notable driver for the residential market, which generates an annual housing rental income of USD 501 million.

Leechiu also noted rising transaction values in condominium prices in Metro Manila driven by demand primarily from buyers from mainland China, and a boom in warehousing demand in the logistics market from online retailers.

“There is a surge in mainland Chinese buyers in the residential condominium sector and we anticipate for this to continue for the long term especially with the rekindled diplomatic ties between Philippines and China,” he added.

He stressed that residential sales are no longer dominated by overseas Filipino workers (OFW) buyers but by buyers from the mainland.

Moreover, Leechiu said industrial properties have kept pace with the trend of rising prices as online retailers seek to meet warehouse expansion requirements.

“The rise of the E-Commerce industry in the Philippines is driving up the need for warehouse space of online retailers,” he said, noting local third-party providers and food retailers are also contributing to the demand for warehouse space. (PNA)