SMDC remains upbeat on residential market

SM Development Corp. (SMDC), the residential arm of the shopping mall operator SM Prime Holdings Inc., remains upbeat on the country’s residential market as the company expands its projects nationwide.

SMDC, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in November, said its growth may continue to accelerate during the next five years.

SM Prime and SMDC Chairman Henry Sy Jr. said there are still a lot of opportunities in the market and the company will continue with its expansion nationwide, as it takes advantage of the synergies within the SM Group.

The company now integrates the residences with the shopping mall for its residents.

“I want everybody to be affluent so we will have a better life, primarily with a roof on our heads and a good, clean environment to live in,” Sy said. “The environment plays a big role in your present and future because it shapes you.”

He explained there are huge opportunities for SMDC in a country where there is a backlog of over 5.5 million homes as of 2016.

“I want the Philippines to be a nation of homeowners,” Sy said. “At the moment, we are selling 15,000 to 20,000 units a year and we want to increase that to provide more families with homes.”

The SMDC started with the launch of Mezza Residences in 2006 in Santa Mesa in Manila. A decade later, it redefined the market to serve the young middle class. The company now has 31 projects and more than 50,000 units delivered to residents.

The SMDC developed properties in key cities in Metro Manila that offer accessibility to major transport terminals, as well as malls and retail podiums and other basic services.

“Convenience is very important. I want to give Filipinos a chance to own homes in good, premium areas, such as those beside a mall or transport terminal or build a mall within the condominium itself to provide residents with convenience,” Sy said.

Last year the SMDC entered China’s real-estate industry with the completion of the Silk Residences showroom in SM City Chengdu.

This year the SMDC launched its first medium-rise building project outside of Metro Manila called Cheer Residences in Marilao, Bulacan. The building rises about five stories high.

The company also unveiled its house-and-lot project in Mabalacat, Pampanga, the company’s first foray into economic housing.

Cheerful Homes sells an affordable integrated residential community that has its own commercial area, transport hub, property management and a hectare of amenities, according to the company.

SMDC’s condominium units are typically sized 24 square meters for a one-bedroom unit and 32 sq m for a two-bedroom unit.

Albert Yu of ASYA Design Partner, SMDC’s longtime architect, said their designs strike a balance between the actual living space and the amenities in the development.

“Even the whole family can stay together while they’re working in the city. It’s just a matter of managing the space. In the city, people need affordable living where they can stay Monday to Friday, like a halfway home. We also play with the amenities, making sure that they get a wholistic experience out of the residence’s facilities. The amenities are hyper-sized to give that feeling like you’re entering a hotel. Accessibility to the mall or retail is a plus as it acts like a clubhouse,” Yu said.

Most SMDC projects are located near malls to complete the mall complex’s lifestyle city offering. If the mall is of considerable distance, SMDC builds its own retail strip within the condominium building, offering both convenience and lifestyle.

Design also plays a major role in the safety of the residents and resiliency of the structure, Yu said, adding they make sure there is a technical due diligence. The latter includes a hydro study done on SMDC’s projects before its actual construction.

“We have a study on what will happen if there is flood for all SMDC projects we undertake. The building should be elevated by a certain level,” Yu said. “We make sure that we care for the welfare of our buyers.”