The protracted COVID-19 pandemic has radically shifted Filipinos’ preferences and priorities—perhaps even permanently—as they struggled to cope with the forced lockdowns and the realization that the COVID-19 disease is likely here to stay and cause sporadic outbreaks.
This helps explain the marked increase in the demand since March of last year for real estate projects outside stifling Metro Manila, that offer quarantine-weary Filipinos wide, open space and easy access to all the good things that Mother Nature has to offer, like energizing fresh air and sunshine.
And among those cornering a chunk of the increased sales resulting from this pivot is Rockwell Land, one of the country’s largest and most respected real estate developers, through Rockwell Horizontals, with projects such as Rockwell South at Carmelray in Calamba, Laguna; Terreno South in Lipa, Batangas, The Villas at Aruga Resort and Residences in Mactan, Cebu, and a development soon to be unveiled in Bacolod.
Jovie Lim-Dy, vice president and project director of Rockwell South at Carmelray, shared that horizontal developments started gaining traction faster than Rockwell’s signature vertical developments in June of 2020 when quarantine restrictions started easing, although sales have already been good even before the pandemic struck in March last year.
That sales markedly picked up amid the pandemic, Lim-Dy attributes, mainly to the realization among buyers that space should be given a premium.
“The pandemic has led many of us to reassess our housing situations and lifestyle preferences. Many realize the value of having more space at home. Given this, we saw clients looking for horizontal developments and even being more open towards properties outside Metro Manila since these offer the space that they need. We launched the second cluster of Rockwell South at Carmelray in December 2019. By March, ECQ (enhanced communit quarantine) happened, but despite that, we were able to sell out our lots last year,” Lim-Dy said.
Of Rockwell Horizontals’ properties, Rockwell South at Carmelray in Laguna and Terreno South in Batangas are performing particularly well because of their proximity to Metro Manila.Rockwell South at Carmelray is Rockwell Land’s first exclusive gated community in Calamba, Laguna and is its largest project to date. Here, families can build homes to their taste with generous lot sizes on offer—ranging from 656 to over 1,000 square meters in Cluster 1, and 300 to 478 sqm in Cluster 2. Together, residents can enjoy 3 hectares of space, including the 1.9-ha Central Amenity area and seven recreational parks spread across the estate.
Terreno South, on the other hand, is a 38-ha development in Lipa, Batangas, that offers a diverse mix of lot cuts ranging from 120 to 315 sqm. The first phase was launched in October 2018 with the third phase poised to be launched next year.
Lim-Dy said these two projects are seen by mainly Metro Manila residents as a new primary or halfway home where they can go to enjoy more space.
But there are also buyers from further afield, as shown in the robust sales of The Villas at Aruga Resort and Residences in Mactan, Cebu. A limited number of villas available allows residents to enjoy an unobstructed view of the expansive 270-meter long stretch of white beach that’s exclusive to the property, which is only 3 meters away from one’s villa. Rockwell in Bacolod will also soon introduce spaces that will allow residents more grounds to enjoy.
Rockwell Horizontals is by far not the only player in the increasingly lucrative sector but it has more than held its own because of the high standards that it strives to apply in all of its developments.
“We made sure to carefully plan the details of our developments and the overall living experience of our customers to fit the higher standards and expectations of today’s residents and communities. Rockwell has a strong desire to create not just communities, but a sense of place for their future residents. A place that attracts residents who want and expect more,” Lim-Dy stressed.
Rockwell Land believes that the demand for these types of projects will remain even after the pandemic is contained, thus it has adopted a more strategic approach to expanding its development portfolio, with projects launched in Cebu, Bacolod, Pampanga and Batangas this year, with more to come out of the pipeline, all bearing the Rockwell signature of premium development.