BOUNCING BACK. Photo shows an artist’s sketch of Masters Tower Cebu which will soon house the five-star Sofitel Cebu City operated by French multinational hotel chain Accor. Developer Cebu Landmasters Inc. is ramping up its hotel portfolio as it expects the tourism industry to strongly bounce back once travel restrictions are lifted post-pandemic. (Photo courtesy of CLI)

CEBU CITY – The housing market has remained resilient in Cebu and the rest of the Visayas, which are projected to benefit from the economic revival post-pandemic, a real estate industry leader said on Monday. 
“Housing has proven to be resilient and sustainable since it is now, more than ever, considered a basic need especially with the extended pandemic,” Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) chief executive officer Jose Soberano III said in a virtual investors’ briefing. 
The publicly listed developer has shown strong resiliency in 2020 and into 2021, being able to thrive in the midst of lockdowns and economic impact of the pandemic.
“We spot opportunities in the middle of all these challenges. The low-interest rate environment and tax measures that favor mid- and economic home buyers inspire us to persist in executing our project plans with agility and excellence. We are anticipating to exceed our year-end guidance by the end of the year,” Soberano said. 
CLI is proactively launching new projects to ensure adequate inventory to serve strong market segments, as it quickly adapts to the new normal.
“We intend to continue benefiting from our core business –housing– while preparing for new opportunities that global recovery and tourism will bring. We are confident VisMin (Visayas, Mindanao) will be at the forefront of this revival,” the business leader said. 
Company officials disclosed the property developer saw its first-half income surging by 66 percent year-on- year, setting to surpass its growth targets for the year, driven by exceptional revenue growth  derived from real estate sales.  
Net income rose from PHP792 million to PHP1.32 billion in the first six months as the company continued its robust uptrend in financial performance.
CLI reported that construction activity in its ongoing project sites is now on average 97 percent. It is in full swing in major sites like Cebu, Dumaguete, and Bohol while others post activity at 90 percent and higher, hampered only by quarantine restrictions.
Six residential projects worth PHP11 billion bearing CLI’s economic, mid, and high-end brands were launched in the first half in Cebu, Iloilo, and Ormoc.
“Real estate sales will be complemented by recurring income from CLI’s leasing and hotel business currently hampered by the pandemic but has been timed to roll out as the local and global economy fully recover from the aftermath of Covid-19,” Soberano said. 
CLI is growing its hotel portfolio to 1,433 rooms by 2025 when the tourism industry is anticipated to already bounce back. 
Meanwhile, the completion of five projects in the first half of the year has also strengthened operating cash flows generating PHP5 billion in collections upon take-out and turnover. 
To date, CLI has 40 completed projects while 36 are under construction and 14 in the pipeline.
To further sustain its long-term growth, the Cebu-based company acquired four hectares of property in Panglao, Bohol and expansion sites for existing Casa Mira projects. 
Over 200 hectares of high valued sites are under negotiation and agreements expected to be reached in the second half of 2021. (PNA)