Published on September 27, 2013, Manila Bulletin:

by Bernie Magkilat

Mass housing developers yesterday stressed the need for government to continue granting tax incentives to their projects to enhance mass housing affordability as housing backlog still remains at 17.3 percent or 30,870 increase in volume of housing units compared to the year before and to eliminate housing backlog by 2030.

The Subdivision and Housing Developers Association Inc. (SHDA), the country’s largest association of real estate developers, stressed at yesterday’s 22nd SHDA National Developers Convention & General Membership Meeting, that government tax perks and incentives for mass housing will make housing be within reach for average Filipinos.

Developers said home buyers benefit by availing of prices as much as 6.4% lower than average, and getting more affordable payment schemes as the savings arising from incentives are passed on to buyers. Mass housing developers are entitled to four year income tax holiday and duty-free importation of capital equipment.

Keeping mass housing as a priority economic activity would strengthen investments, generate jobs, enhance Philippine competitiveness and sustain the momentum to eliminate the housing backlog, SHDA President Paul Tanchi said.

SHDA estimates put the national housing backlog to over 3.9 million units, rising to 6.5 million by 2030 if the problem is not addressed. The association drew up the Housing Industry Roadmap of the Philippines specifically to eliminate the housing deficit by 2030. Following consultations with BOI and key shelter agencies, SHDA initiated the crafting of the industry roadmap to guide members in increasing housing production.

“Our discussions with the BOI were a huge contributor to the development of the roadmap. It allowed us to focus on unmet housing needs and see how government and the private sector can work together to meet these needs,” Tanchi said.

The group presented its accomplishments on the roadmap’s first year of implementation in its recent national convention. In its roadmap, SHDA has recommended implementing a comprehensive government housing subsidy to enhance affordability.

“Affordability is a key component of our roadmap. On top of government subsidy, banks have become more aggressive and offer lower interest rates. As developers, we have also been pursuing increasing housing production for target segments. All the parties involved are doing their part now, so this is the right time to consider how we can keep things rolling,” added SHDA First Vice President Ricky Celis.