Real estate-related investments to be traded in 2009

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 11 2008 01:43 AM | Updated as of Oct 11 2008 09:43 AM

Despite of the ongoing turmoil in equities markets across the globe, the Philippines is still set on introducing Real Estate Investment Trust or REITs into the lcoal equities market.

REITs are legal vehicles or entities established for the sole purpose of allowing both small and large investors to participate in the ownership of income-producing real-estate and other related assets.

Shares of a REIT are traded like stocks.

Francis Lim, president of the Philippine Stock Exchange, told reporters at the sidelines of the REIT Forum held in Makati, said that "regardless of the external shocks, the market has to keep moving. The government and the private sector's role is to continue creating an environment where investments can flourish, and that includes developing the local stock market and implementing measures to insulate the industries from external shocks."

Lim added that the Philippines is a little late in getting into the bandwagon.

The REIT bill, which was filed in 2006, was already pending in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and would likely be put into place by July next year.

"I have to say that for a bill filed just a year and a half ago, the REIT bill is one of the fastest moving bills. We expect it to be put in place by early to mid 2009."

Lim said the government is merely ironing out details of the proposed REIT scheme, such as the 25 percent tax incentive plans for the potential investors.

Stakeholders in the industry said this would help beef up the property sector, which will be in for a difficult year come 2009.

"2009 will definitely be challenging for the sector. 2008 will still be buoyed by Christmas spending," said Jeffrey Lim, the chief financial officer of SM Prime.