POGOs driving PH real estate market

By Angelica Ballesteros, 09-21-2018

PHILIPPINE offshore gaming operators (POGOs) continue to buoy the real estate market and are now considered one of the key drivers of residential and office property sales.

In a briefing on Thursday, Ortigas & Co. Chief Operating Officer Thomas Mirasol said the real estate developer was seeing robust interest for residential projects from gaming firms.

"For residential developments, the POGO market probably represents one of the newest and most significant changes in the real estate industry," Mirasol said during a media roundtable conducted by Lamudi Philippines.

"The growth in the POGO industry … has [contributed]a lot of take-up for residential units," he added.

Michael McCullough, managing director of KMC Savills, Inc., said this was being supported by POGO take-up of office spaces.

Citing company data, McCullough said the POGO industry took up 400,000 square meters (sqm) of office space in 2017 and added another 400,000 sqm in the first half of 2018 alone.

"So, 800,000 sqm in the last two years and if you estimate, five sqm per person-that's 160,000 people-potentially working in these facilities … that's how you can quantify it," McCullough added.

KMC Savills data also showed that total office vacancy rates dropped to 3 percent in the second quarter of 2018 from the 4.2 percent a year earlier, with POGOs contributing to the vacancy decline after taking a foothold in Alabang and Makati.