Tourism workers explore opportunities in real estate

WHILE waiting for the tourism industry to bounce back, workers in the tourism industry have shifted careers and ventured into real estate.

Filipino Homes president and chief executive officer Anthony Leuterio said they are now assisting a lot of tourism professionals through the company’s Filipinohomes Institute of Real Estate (Fire) to guide them in their real estate journey.

Fire aims to address the need for continued skills development in real estate under the new normal. This continuous education program is being offered free of charge. Qualified students should be endorsed by at least three reputable real estate industry practitioners to vouch for their capability and good reputation in professionalism, among others.

Leuterio said at least 10 travel agency owners and executives from Cebu and Davao have signed up under Fire.

“Filipino Homes is assisting them (tourism professionals) to get familiarized on the complicated and broad real estate business,” he said, adding that learning the social aspect of the industry won’t be difficult for these tourism professionals as their social skills have already been honed in tourism.

“All they have to do is just master real estate, and know the industry up close,” he said.

Tourism is one of the hardest- hit sectors affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It limited travel movements globally, pushing all tourism-related establishments to temporarily shut down operations, waiting until tourism confidence is restored.

Courses offered in Fire include the Real Estate Service Act, documentation and titling, code of ethics and responsibilities, real estate taxation, social media marketing and leadership and management skills, among others.

“This is another disruptive innovation that will help a lot of people who want to have a more productive and real estate practice in this era of new normal,” said Alejandro Manalac, chairman and co-founder of Havitas Development Corp.

First to recover

Leuterio earlier said real tourism will be the first industry to recover post-pandemic because even during the various stages of community quarantine, real estate sales, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao, have remained upbeat.

“The first that will bounce back is real estate,” said Leuterio. “Despite the alarm, housing prices didn’t fall at all in the Philippines. Majority of the housing prices stayed the same at pre-Covid levels.”

Cebu Landmasters Inc. reinforced Leuterio’s pronouncements when it recorded sales of P2 billion from its economic housing brand Casamira in the months of April and May, a period widely forecasted to have little economic activity due to the government-mandated community quarantines. The Philippine government started to impose stricter lockdown measures in the middle of March.

“We expect demand for quality housing and residential units to rise, prompted by the greater desire for safer and better planned living environments in the aftermath of Covid-19,” the CLI said.

Leuterio said the current crisis appears to be different from the crises that happened in 1997 to 1998 and 2007 to 2008 when housing prices fell to rock-bottom levels. The past challenging times were triggered by a high degree of debt in the market unlike today when businesses are forced to close and people are simply not able to work. (KOC)