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The Chamber of Real Estate & Builders’ Associations, Inc., (CREBA) recently appealed for the suspension of recently-issued Department Orders increasing the zonal values of properties across the country amidst the on-going state of calamity due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
In a letter to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, the group recognized the fiscal measures enforced by government but cited that the Philippine economy continues to contract to an all-time low since the post-war era due to the required lockdowns brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In particular, CREBA said, the construction and real estate industries continue to be on a downward growth trend as many buyers, whose livelihood have been severely affected by the pandemic are defaulting on their property purchases; and with developers, sellers and banks left with no other recourse but to absorb the losses. Low demand has stunted property prices despite increased inflation, while cost of construction materials continue to increase making it even harder to continue doing business.
CREBA national chairman Charlie A. V. Gorayeb urged the finance chief to preserve zonal values of properties across the country at their pre-pandemic levels to reflect the actual valuation of property amidst the pandemic. He said that this would also allow developers and property owners to keep expenses related to payment of taxes at a reasonable level. Additionally, CREBA renewed its earlier petition for the freezing of real property taxes for a period of at least two years, and that no additional property-related taxes be imposed at both national and LGU levels.
According to CREBA national president Noel Toti M. Cariño, taxes paid by developers form part of production cost that are ultimately passed on to home buyers. Freezing RPT will support the millions of homeless Filipinos and boost their capacity to acquire decent housing packages, made more urgent by the global health situation.
During these dire circumstances for practically all sectors, extending temporary administrative relief can alleviate some of the pressures on the real estate, housing and construction industries as well as many property buyers who are severely affected by this pandemic, CREBA said.
“After all, a robust property industry will be vital in our collective efforts to recover from the wide-ranging economic effects of Covid-19,” the two leaders cited.