SYNDEY, AUSTRALIA —The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Sydney, DTI’s overseas office in Australia, held a webinar on real estate investment opportunities last August 13. The webinar was part of PTIC’s Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) webinar series to help overseas Filipino investors (OFIs).
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, we have organized five webinars covering topics such as franchising, trademark registration, stock market investing, budgeting techniques, saving and other investment opportunities,” PTIC Sydney Philippine Trade Representative Alma Argayoso said.
Speakers from Arthaland Corporation, Ayala Land International, Megaworld International, and COL Investment Management Inc. shared how the Philippine real estate industry coped amid the pandemic and discussed its challenges and prospects.
Mr. Manuel Arbues II, Ayala Land’s Regional Head for the Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, shared that the COVID-19 restrictions initially affected their sales. Still, the business recovered by June to July after the easing of community quarantine restrictions. The recovery was a positive development despite widespread unemployment, a drop in overseas remittances, and the repatriation of over 100,000 overseas Filipinos.
Arbues also noted that the unprecedented remote working situation highlighted the advantages of large scale, integrated, mixed-use, and sustainable communities. He also pointed out that information technology, infrastructure, communication, and e-commerce are essential to thrive in the new normal.
The webinar also discussed the Philippines’ first Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), the Ayala Land Real Estate Investment Trust (AREIT), from the basics of REITs to the benefits and risks of buying REIT shares.
COL Financial Investment Management Inc.’s President and Chief Information Officer, Mr. Marvin Fausto, discussed how a REIT is often considered a more affordable and attractive form of investment. He explained that this is because a REIT typically offers higher yields and stable income, despite coming with some risks.
A REIT is a company that owns and manages income-generating assets or real estate property such as apartments, offices, malls, warehouses, and hotels. It provides investors exposure to the property market through their stock portfolio. A REIT is similar to a managed fund where investors’ money are pooled together and actively managed to invest in properties.
REITs typically invest in commercial properties such as offices and apartment buildings, shopping centres and hotels.
Even though Ayala’s REIT share price fell on its debut listing, Fausto shared that REIT is a positive development in the country and believes that there are more real estate companies interested to list their own REITs.
“This is a good opportunity for investors, particularly the retail investors who cannot afford a large amount to invest in real property, but can generate the comparative yield and return by just buying REIT shares,” Fausto said.
“REITs can be used to diversify one’s portfolio. It has been proven historically in other parts of the world that REIT investors, over the long term, can get a good yield above the normal interest rates,” he added.
PTIC Sydney partnered with the Australia Philippines Business Council (APBC), and the Philippine Consulates General (PCG) in Sydney and Melbourne in this fifth instalment of the TNK webinar series.
PCG Sydney’s Consul General Ezzedin Tago commended the timeliness of the initiative in this period of pandemic. At the same time, PCG Melbourne’s Acting Consul General Anthony Mandap observed that real estate investment in the Philippines is intimately connected with income, the economy, peace and order, and the political climate, as well as foreign relations, travel regulations, and dual citizenship.
PTIC Sydney concluded the webinar by inviting participants to attend upcoming online training, such as the APBC’s webinar on updates on the Philippine economy and key PH-AU business insights. PTIC Sydney’s upcoming webinars will also tackle franchising, agribusiness, and regional investment opportunities.
The TNK is an initiative of the DTI in partnership with other government agencies, private sector, academe and civil society organizations, to increase incomes by generating more jobs and promoting entrepreneurship. The program aims to popularize entrepreneurship as an alternative to unemployment, job-seeking, or migration.
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