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On Business Mirror: POGOs Drive Office Demand in Metro Manila in H1 2019

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On the July 19, 2019 edition of BusinessMirror, Roderick Abad reported on the Metro Manila Office Market Overview of Pronove Tai International Property Consultants:



OFFSHORE gaming now commands the office market as developers are more receptive to them given their strong demand for areas to locate in, according to a property consulting company.

“A shift in landlord strategy now welcoming POGOs [Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators] as office tenants has given rise to a stronger offshore gaming industry,” said Monique Pronove, president and chief executive officer of Pronove Tai International Property Consultants.

This is contrary to the scenario a couple of years ago when the offshore gaming operators were in difficult situation because of the lack of a clear regulatory environment that virtually turned them into a “pariah” in the business community.

“This year has significantly been different. More and more landlords and local government units [LGUs] have warmed up to having them as tenants,” she noted.

“Proof of this is the increase in leasing transactions accounted for by the POGOs during the first half of 2019,” she added.

Citing their Metro Manila Office Market Overview H1 2019: The Rise of POGO Market Report, Pronove bared that 45 percent, or 315,000 square meters, of the total of 703,000 sq m of office space transacted were taken up by POGOs.

Traditional office and information technology-business process management (IT-BPM), she pointed out, lagged behind POGOs at 28 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

There are now seven cities in Metro Manila, with the addition of four new LGUs giving letters of no objection (LONOs) to POGOs.

These are Mandaluyong, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa and, just recently, Quezon City by way of special use permits (SUPs).

The three accommodating LGUs that initially issued in 2016 such document required by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. for POGOs to locate in their areas were Makati, Pasay and Parañaque.

While Taguig City is still not issuing LONOs to POGOs, it hosts the biggest number of IT-BPM locators in the country and remains to be their preferred district.

Overall office leasing transactions increased by 36 percent to 703,000 sq m in the first half of this year, from 481,000 sq m during the same period in 2018.

POGO had the highest growth in demand over the year, at 216 percent, while IT-BPM posted the first negative growth rate at -8 percent year-on-year, from 204,000 sq m in 2018 to 187,000 sq m in 2019.

In general, the Metro Manila office market had a sterling performance in the first six months of the year with the office demand being 57 percent, or +255,000 sq m, higher than the supply on the back of a strong leasing requirement of POGOs.

The demand for office space from January to June of this year at 703,000 sq m already represents 85 percent of the average in the last five years. From 2014 to 2018, actual demand stood at 830,000 sq m.

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