By Vincent Mariel P. Galang
FOR a property developer originally based in Cebu, expanding into Luzon can be a challenge. AboitizLand, Inc., which launched projects in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac this year, is seeing encouraging signs the market has welcomed its Ajoya brand.
“No one really knew the AboitizLand brand outside of Cebu and maybe South Luzon, currently. But when we launched Ajoya… what was encouraging was… when they saw, again the two strengths that we have the masterplan and the house, ang mga verbatim na response nu’ng market is [the market’s response was] ‘Uy, parang hindi pa kami nakakakita in this price range ng ganyang product [It seems like we have not seen this product in this price range],” John A. Amon, AboitizLand vice president for customer acquisition and innovation, said in an interview with BusinessWorld on Dec. 3.
“We felt good about it because our gamble, our bet was being validated,” he added.
AboitizLand launched two Ajoya mid-market residential developments in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, and Capas, Tarlac. Last year, the Cebuano property firm launched Seafront Residences in San Juan, Batangas.
Mr. Amon said the company wanted to take advantage of the large number of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) families in Cabanatuan, and investors in Capas, which is near New Clark City.
Ajoya Capas is a 13-hectare development in Barangays Talaga and Estrada in Tarlac. House and lots at Ajoya Capas range from 45 square meters (sq.m.) to 60 sq.m., with prices between P1.8-million to P2.5-million.
At the 19-hectare Ajoya Cabanatuan in Barangay Valle Cruz, house and lots range from 60 sq.m. to 75 sq.m., and are priced between P3-million to P4.7-million.
Both projects can accommodate 1,000 homes.
Mr. Amon said the Cebuano property firm decided to expand in northern and southern Luzon in response to the robust demand for housing in these areas.
“From a strategic perspective, the market that we are trying to capture, in general in the country, research says that there are about 12-plus-million homes that are still in demand… and a huge chunk of that is in the north,” he said.
Unlike other developers, Mr. Amon said Ajoya projects are based on the concept of “new urbanism” or “building communities for people, not vehicles and making sure that people are connected.”
“It’s also the way we design our houses… the market now especially, yearns for authenticity… As far as our philosophy is concerned, it doesn’t make sense, for example, to build Italian-inspired homes for local Filipinos. We have to look back at our history and see what is the climate, our culture, etc.,” he said, noting Ajoya homes take their cue from the architecture of the Filipino Bahay na Bato.
The property firm has seen robust take-up for the Ajoya projects, with sales exceeding targets since the launch in September.
For instance, AboitizLand targeted P150-million worth of sales in September, but generated between P200 to P220 million in sales.
“It’s not by far a number that is staggering based on our other launches, but it is actually encouraging because from a brand that had zero awareness levels in that area, to hit our numbers during launch month, and sustain that, and exceed that is quite encouraging for us,” Mr. Amon said.