How Vista Land edges out competition – Villar

Aya Lowe

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Vista Land says rivals do not have presence in these areas

Senator Manuel Villar looks towards second tier city for future profits

MANILA, Philippines – Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc., the property developer of the family of Senator Manuel Villar, is focusing on launching projects in “second-tier” cities.

“We’re opening more developments this year in second-tier cities such as Zambales, Kalibo and Roxas. In these cities, I don’t see any presence of listed real estate companies. I only see low-cost housing developers. I don’t see them as competition,” said Villar at Vista Land’s 2012 financial briefing on Thursday, March 21.

“Right now it’s very difficult to enter in these areas. It’s difficult to buy property. You need a lot of approvals and you have to make sure you have the logistics ability. This is the kind of thing we built over 30 years. An advantage that very few in the industry realize we have. This practically gives us a monopoly,” he added.

Vista Land, which has made a name for offering affordable houses, has a land bank of 1,962 hectares nationwide. The company has presence in 31 provinces, 63 cities and municipalities. It has 5 business units namely, Brittany, Crown Asia, Camella Homes, Communities Philippines and Vista Residences.

The company launched 28 projects with an estimated total value of P25.5 billion in 2012. Of these, 22 are in the low and affordable sector and 18 of those projects were launched outside Metro Manila. 

The senator said they would enter a minimum of 10 new cities this 2013.

The landscape 

However, as more big-ticket developers start launching projects nationwide, competition will start increasing.

Manuel Paolo Villar, the senator’s son who is chairman and CEO of Vista Land, said “competition is there right now. It’s not a monopoly. When we go to a new area there is generally a local real estate agent there and we compete with them. We do well because we have a brand and strong marketing.”

“We’re very confident in our building strategy mainly because we have been competing for 5 years. We accept it and look forward to the competition,” he added.

The younger Villar said most of their sales come from the Mega Manila area, the provinces surrounding Metro Manila.

“The cities that are doing quite well are not secrets; Cebu and Davao. Smaller cities have been growing quite well. We’re seeing demand in the provinces,” he said. 

OFWs, retirees

Purchases made by OFWs make up 60% of their sales. According to Senator Villar, most of their OFW buyers come from the Middle East and from places in Asia such as Singapore and Malaysia.

The younger Villar said the strengthening peso has not affected sales. 

Foreign nationals make up less than 5% of sales. These exclude Filipino-Americans with dual citizenship.

In 2012, its affordable housing brand, Camella made up 34% of total revenue while Communities Philippines made up 36%. The developer’s other brands – Crown Asia, Brittany and Vista Residences –made up 12%, 13% and 5%, respectively.

Villar said their mid-range brands Camella and Communities Philippines would take a bigger part of their revenue share in the future.

“They will be more than 70% in the next few years,” he said.

Villar said they would also look into retirement villages. “It’s an interesting area that we’re looking into,”

Vista Land reported a net income of P4.4 billion in 2012, exceeding its P4.2 billion goal for 2012, citing record sales.

“The market demand for housing, particularly for Camella in the provinces, continues to be robust and we don’t see any risk of a slowdown in that segment,” Ricardo Tan Jr, Vista Land’s CFO, said.

Vista Land is mulling a capital restructuring plan, which is part of moves to raise funds in the future without breaking foreign ownership rules. –

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