COVID-19 business continuity strategies for the Philippine property sector

Santos Knight Frank shares business tips to help the capital heavy sector amid the outbreak

Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines. Z. Jacobs/Shutterstock

Given the uncertainties brought by the current public health crisis to the global economy, the Philippines’ real estate sector expects to see a sharp decline in sales in the short to medium term, reported Santos Knight Frank.

The real estate service provider predicted that Metro Manila will have 810,000 square metres of new office developments this year, less than half of the initial projection of 1.8 million sqm. As tenants re-evaluate their plans to expand, their analysis showed that the number of vacancies in the capital will reach 10 percent from only five percent a year before. 

“We’re experiencing a Black Swan event on a global scale that has slowed down the world economy and, with it, the property market. Liquidity, flexibility and business continuity are of utmost importance for companies to continue running, said chairman and CEO of Santos Knight Frank Rick Santos. 

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To help the real estate sector cope during the COVID-19 pandemic, Santos Knight Frank urges businesses to prioritise cash and liquidity, particularly since this sector is among the most capital-heavy. They can control their liquidity by applying for a loan, searching for funding overseas and selling their non-core assets. 

Landlords and developers should also think of exploring payment structures to support tenants and customers, as well as focus on providing good property and facility management services because as Santos Knight Frank puts it, “protecting lives is tantamount to protecting assets.”

Property firms can also give back to the community by allowing essential services to utilise their existing yet unused properties, and even convert some of their spaces into warehouses for last mile logistics, grocery stores, pop-up healthcare centres, offices and employee housing.

Lastly, they could also benefit from embracing recent technologies, such as online platforms to increase sales and complement their physical offices, and virtual tours to enable sales activities to continue as people continue to practice social distancing.