MANILA, MAY 24, 2007
(BULLETIN) Demand for real estate solutions, particularly professional asset services, is expected to rise as a result of sustained growth in the Philippine real estate industry, said Rick M. Santos, chairman of CB Richard Ellis Philippines and managing director of CB Richard Ellis Hong Kong. The principal driver of this growth is expansion of the business process outsourcing industry.

BPO industry revenues are estimated by the Bureau of Investments to reach US.7 billion by 2010. "We are seeing the Philippine Cyberservices Corridor materialize. If the government plans go smoothly, local real estate solutions providers will be servicing clients from Baguio in Northern Luzon to Zamboanga in Mindanao or the whole 600-mile stretch of the planned Philippine Cyberservices Corridor," said Santos.

A full-service, global real estate services firm, CB Richard Ellis registered US.3 billion in transaction activity (sales and lease transactions) and revenues of US4.8 million across the Asia-Pacific region for 2006, making it the largest real estate services firm in the region. The asset services sector, which is comprised of property management, facilities management, technical services, asset management and project management, contributed significantly to 2006 revenues, according to Santos.

Asset services is a CB Richard Ellis Philippines core competency as well as a key source of revenue.

"At present, the Asset Services group already accounts for two-thirds of the company’s manpower. The Asset services business line, led by newly appointed director Nikki Gilladoga, services both property owners and developers, and complements all the other business units within CB Richard Ellis," Santos said, adding that employment in the group will further increase as CB Richard Ellis pushes for a bigger share of the expanding market.

CB Richard Ellis maintains a diverse portfolio of assets and properties under its management, including properties owned in part by offshore investors and fund managers such as Aseana Business Park in Parañaque City, West of Ayala in Makati, and Essensa East Forbes in Ortigas Center.

HK is world’s costliest city for expat housing (BULLETIN)

HONG KONG, May 23 (AFP) — Hong Kong has the world’s highest average rents for expatriate workers, well above Tokyo, New York and London, according to a study released Wednesday.

Altogether, Asia accounted for half of the top 10 most expensive cities for rental apartments for expatriates, while Nairobi was the world’s cheapest.

The survey was carried out by international human resources consultancy ECA among relocation companies, real estate agents and foreign workers, and took unfurnished three-bedroom apartments as a base as they were the most commonly rented by expatriates.

In Hong Kong, such a flat in an area popular with expatriates would fetch nearly 8,600 US dollars a month.

That is by some distance more expensive than the average rental price for foreigners in Tokyo, which ranked the world’s second on a little under 7,360 dollars a month.

"Comparing the cost of renting an unfurnished three bedroom apartment, the data shows that Hong Kong is by far the most expensive city," said Lee Quane, ECA’s general manager in Hong Kong.

The high rental prices in Hong Kong are due to lack of space as well as an increasing demand for luxury developments as many financial firms strengthen their presence within the city, ECA said.

After Hong Kong and Tokyo, the third most expensive city was New York where a three-bedroom flat for an expatriate costs an average 7,250 dollars to rent, then Moscow, Seoul, London, Mumbai, Shanghai, Caracas and Paris.

Further down the scale, large increases were noticed in rental prices over the past decade in Doha and Dubai, up 130 and 100 percent respectively.

Nevertheless, Hong Kong’s rental prices have fallen.

Quane said the residential rental market here boomed in 1996, a year before the territory was returned to Chinese rule, but has since dropped steadily due to government policies cooling the market and the Asian financial crisis.

Nairobi is the world’s cheapest city for foreigners to rent a three-bedroom apartment at around 1,090 dollars a month, nearly eight times cheaper than in Hong Kong.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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