Monday, March 30, 2009

fire alarm

It was 8am and I am reading the online version of The Financial Times while sipping freshly-pressed barako coffee. The condominium people are busy figuring out what's causing the fire alarm to go off. This commotion has been going on for 15 minutes now, and they still don't know why. There seems to be no fire, not even smoke.

Most unit owners have already left for work. You see, I live in a building of people who work in cubicles; they drive out of the parking basement (in their shiny Jap cars) before 7am to avoid the traffic along EDSA so they can sit in their middle-management jobs all day, every day.

The average income of single occupants here is P80,000 monthly (roughly $1700); couples and small families earn around P100,000 (this is very decent by Philippine standards). Of this income they probably spend 20% for the monthly mortgage, depending on how big their downpayment was.
These are people living within their means - heck, even below their means. Defaults are unheard of. People here have either paid for their homes in full, or really pay on time.

(I know all this because I saw the marketing intelligence report. Apparently, the developer wants to change the sales approach to cater to this market. The papers were casually left on the concierge table by one lady-agent while she used the lobby loo. I pretended to look at food delivery brochures, but I was really reading her stuff.)

Based on this data, I'm guessing I live amongst the sensible middle class, perhaps even the "silent rich." I saw designer furniture being moved in a week ago, and I once met a fellow owner in Manolo Blahniks. And did I mention that there were exotic Euro cars in the basement, too? Several. Some people here actually have taste.

Why they would live in these outskirts, I can only guess. They probably didn't want to spend too much on a house, and would rather stay liquid. They all have cars anyway, and the business districts are really quite near if you drive.

Or perhaps they see potential, like I do. People who are not investment savvy don't get it; in 10 years or so, this area will be central. The price of units here already doubled from 4 years ago, when a "luxury" mall was built nearby. It should be a really solid asset to have 10 years down the line. You can't really say that for "middle" developments even in the business district. Those units are already overpriced; if you paid 2 million for them now, you will still only get 2 million for then in 10 years. Believe me, I've inquired :)

Foreclosure of luxury homes

Below is the "Melville House," Scotland’s most costly repossession, now priced at just £2.5m, down from £4m.

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I predicted some months ago that luxury developments will sink, and that bargains can be had by those who are patient enough to wait. Well, FT just confirmed my suspicions. There is an apparent rise in luxury home foreclosures, and I'm sure that the Philippines is next. Erase that. The Philippines is ALREADY experiencing it. This explains why the luxe condo MSP and I have been eyeing is still available - and why the development won't be sold out anytime soon.

Correct market timing - that's all we're hoping for. We can wait a few more months. This recession buys us time. We can beef up our savings and come up with more ways to solidify the company to withstand this uncertain market. Maybe we can even travel for a while, while airfares are cheap.

Meanwhile, this little white box in the fringes of the business district is serving it's purpose. No steep mortgage + some money in the bank = no worries :) I appreciate this recession-proof space more than ever before. I can live amongst these penny-savvy, square people who never use the gym or pool on weekdays (leaving all the amenities free for me to enjoy). It feels like home, for now :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha. old farts are damn good at reading stuff they shouldn't read, like that marketing intelligence report. good job, muss!

12:16 AM  
Blogger ennui said...

sigh ... i wish i were a quarter as savvy as you when it comes to financial stuff. that stuff is all "straight" to me. hehehe

1:24 AM  
Blogger mussolini said...

barry? we are certified voyeurs.

10:15 AM  
Blogger mussolini said...

ennui> why you underplay your chekwa ability to save much more than you earn, i have no idea.

10:16 AM  

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