MANILA – Isidro Consunji, the chairman and president of DMCI Holdings Inc., does not see a real estate bubble in the country amid rising demand in residential and office space.
Consunji said a property bubble indicates that prices are “artificially high,” which he said is not the case in the Philippines where current prices of land and buildings are cheaper than it was in 1997 during the Asian financial crisis.
“I really doubt whether it’s a bubble. Secondly, the economy is much bigger now, the OFWs have very strong remittances, and interest rates are very low,” he told ANC’s “Inside Business”.
He also said the high demand in real estate will not result in a bubble because the assets are being used.
“I define bubble as superfluous assets, meaning to say buildings that are empty. If you go to certain cities in China, you will see hundreds of buildings with no lights at night. I don’t see that in Metro Manila. More or less every finished building here is lighted, so it’s being used,” he said.
DMCI Holdings is the holding company of the Consunji family’s construction, housing, mining, and power businesses.
DMCI was recently involved in a controversy surrounding the construction of one of its condominium buildings in Manila after several groups argued that it destroyed the view of the Jose Rizal monument in Rizal Park.
But Consunji defended the construction of the 47-storey Torre de Manila, saying DMCI obtained the proper permits and clearance before pursuing the project.
“Before we bought that property, we checked whether there were any restrictions. So we checked with City of Manila, and we got clearance from the National Historic Commission that the area that we bought is outside their jurisdiction. We got a permit given by Mayor Lim. After the elections we went to Mayor Estrada and we affirmed that the permit was properly granted…As far we know, we have complied with all the regulations,” he said.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people say it will destroy, but it’s so far away. Sabi nga ni Mayor Estrada, ‘Eh ‘di maghanap ka ng ibang angle na hindi nakikita ‘yung building.’ People might say it is desecrating the monument of Rizal, we don’t think so,” he added.
Consunji replaced his father, construction pioneer David M. Consunji, as DMCI president after the latter stepped down in November.
“I always liked running things, whether it’s a company or a basketball team, a group of people in the neighborhood, I always enjoyed running things,” said Consunji.