SM starts China condo project

Property developer SM Prime Holdings Inc. said it expects to start pre-selling condominium units in China by the first quarter of 2017, after it broke ground for a seven-tower residential project this year.

SM Prime residential business head Jose Mari Banzon said the company started excavation works for the seven-tower residential project in Chengdu.

“In China, [you] can’t start selling unless each construction has reached the found level. So we would start pre-selling units by the first quarter of next year,” Banzon said.

The company expects to complete the whole development by 2019 to 2020, he said.

The residential project in Chengdu is one of the several condominium projects SM Prime plans to develop in China, as it continues to look for landbank, particularly in the first and second-tier cities.

Expansion project in China would mostly likely be near SM Prime’s existing malls.

SM Prime has six malls in China which are located in Xiamen, Jinjiang, Chengdu, Suzhou, Chongqing and Zibo. In 2016, the company plans to open SM Tainjin.

Banzon said residential sales in China remained strong despite concerns over possible economic slowdown.

SM Development also plans to finally launch its first house and lot project in the Philippines this year.

Banzon said the first economic housing project would be located in Pampanga and would be sold at a price range of P800,000 to P1.7 million.  The group is entering the segment given the huge demand and housing backlog in the country.

“There is strong demand for house and lot projects.  The biggest backlog in housing market is in the economic housing segment. Margin in that segment is still okay, but it gets narrower as you go down,” Banzon said.

The SM group plans to launch its first affordable mid-rise residential project in Cavite. “Ultimately, our target is to be half-half in terms of project launches and contribution to revenues,” Banzon said

Bulk of its residential launches are currently high-rise developments while only 10 percent are mid-rise and house and lot projects.

Banzon said the group’s residential sales in the first quarter of 2016 were significantly higher than same period last year, on strong demand.

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