PROPERTY CONSULTANCY SAYS: Floods erode property values

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    Lessons learned. The devastation of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 had prompted Filipinos to look for flood-free office, commercial and residential areas.

    Property consultancy Lobien Realty Group (LRG) said the recent tropical storm has affected the property valuations in flood-prone areas because of property destruction and disruption on families and businesses.

    Sheila Lobien, chief executive officer of LRG, said after Ondoy in 2009, a lot of people started to look for flood-free office, commercial and residential areas, making the South a hot spot for office, commercial and residential developments.

    Seeing the same trend happening due to the recent floods, Lobien said land values in hard-hit locations have also been severely affected.

    Lobien cited LRG research team’s study which showed Marikina’s land is valued between P40,000 and P70,000 per square meter (sq.m.), just ahead of Caloocan’s property values of between P35,000 to P65,000 per sq.m.

    These are way below Muntinlupa/Alabang where land valuations are between P120,000 and P140,000 per sq. m.

    Quezon City, Ortigas and Bay City’s land values are peaking at P280,000 per sq.m.
    Bonifacio Global City’s land values are between P300,000 and P350,000 per sq.m. while Makati City’s are in the range of P350,000 to P400,000 per sq.m.

    Lobien suggests that due diligence should always be part of the process when choosing locations for office buildings and malls to ensure employees’ safety and a company’s unhampered operations.

    Lobien said the same principle applies for developers and buyers in the residential market because, for many Filipinos, a home is their single most significant investment.

    She said areas located along fault lines, prone to high flooding and other disasters are red flags. Buildings should also be earthquake-proof, at the very least.

    Lobien said there should be a clear zoning mechanism for flood-prone areas which will identify where residential and commercial spaces can be built.

    “The government and private sector should invest on infrastructure that will make the developments flood-ready. Rivers may need to be dug deeper through dredging and silt removal; canals and sewers may need to be enlarged, cleaned and maintained, flood control mechanisms such as stronger dams and effective early warning capabilities may have to be installed and even buildings, malls, warehouses and residential developments may need to be elevated or flood-proofed. It’s also important to understand where the waters are coming from—if it’s because of denuded forests, then reforestation efforts may also be needed,” Lobien said.

    She said for areas like Marikina and Rizal to attract or entice real estate investments, these solutions should be implemented. These areas should also have a holistic flood control mechanism in place owing to their natural topography that is susceptible to flooding.

    Lobien said despite these challenges, elevated warehouses and factories can still be effectively built in these areas. She added local governments are doing their very best to maintain the competitiveness of these cities, despite the difficulties they face.