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MANILA – An heir to the Trump empire on Tuesday said the Philippines'Â sound macroeconomic fundamentals is what led the US property firm to establish its presence in the country.
"It has become such an international destination, such incredible warmth, world-class city. It really fits our brand perfectly," Donald Trump Jr., vice president for development and acquisition of Trump Tower, said during the launch of Trump Tower Manila, a joint project with Century Properties Group Inc.
Son of the popular and flamboyant property mogul who made a reputation in New York as a street-smart businessman, Donald Jr. said: "That's why it makes sense. We will deliver the best product in Asia, the best product in the world could be here in Manila."
"This won't be the last project in the Philippines. We'll be putting out a couple of things," he said, referring to the Trump Tower Manila.
Jose E.B. Antonio, Century Properties chairman and president, told reporters that the two groups are in discussions for a second project.
Despite a thin affluent market, Antonio said the luxury residential segment is far from having a price bubble given the short supply, now that the Philippine economy continues to grow.
"Because the supply being developed in the Philippines is very limited, especially in the luxury space, there are very few projects. If you compute the numbers, this is only 200 units. Compared with the purchasing power of the country now, we're actually producing very little supply in the luxury [segment]," Antonio told InterAksyon.com.
"There are a lot of entrepreneurs that are making money. Foreign investors are coming in to buy and they have business in the Philippines and they would want to go to an address like this," he said.
Antonio sees the luxury segment growing 20 percent a year.
Trump Tower Manila is already 75 percent sold as of June 26. The residential condominium will surpass Century Properties' 72-storey Gramercy Residences, which is the tallest in the Philippines to date. The 222 units at Trump Tower Manila are being sold for P200,000 per square meter, with each unit measuring 57 to 400 square meters.
"The purchasing power of the people have grown a lot in recent years. Right now the Philippines, for the first time, as announced in the papers, is now a lender to the IMF. So you can see the country has reached a stage of financial stability never experienced," Antonio said.
His son, Robbie, who is Century Properties' project head, said their newest residential development is the most expensive building in the country since they are installing glass curtain walls to let more sunlight through the units.
Some of the growth drivers for the Philippine property industry that entice investors and buyers, especially foreigners, are the huge population of almost 100 million, making it one of the most populous nations in the world, and the amount of remittances that come into the country.
The younger Antonio said they have encountered foreign expatriates in their road shows abroad who are thinking of re-investing in the Philippines.
"When they hear the stats of $20 billion of remittances every year in this country, third next to Mexico, people are astounded by the figures. HSBC just gave a report that by 2050, we will be the 15th largest economy in the world. We used to be the sick dog," he said.
The Century Properties executives said they are "trying to assist" the country in positioning Manila as a cosmopolitan city since Asia now has the highest growth in the world.
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