SMDC ready for new normal amid COVID-19

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — SM Development Corporation (SMDC) is all set for the new normal.

With most businesses either downscaling or scrapping projects as a result of the economic slowdown, SMDC is doing just the opposite. It is pursuing its expansion plans for the year and launching projects in the last two quarters.

This was the message of SMDC President Jose Mari Banzon in an interview with CNN’s Rico Hizon that aired on June 22.

“We just need to make sure that the features that buyers are looking for … will be there, that we price our products correctly and that we offer affordable payment terms,” Banzon said.

Geared for the new normal

SMDC’s investment in digital technology has proven beneficial during the lockdown. Contactless transactions – in selling, customer service and backroom operations – were immediately deployed, and which have now become part of SMDC’s new normal.

“We continue to sell during the lockdown. Our sellers did not even have face-to-face meetings with clients,” Banzon said.

The make-up of SMDC developments has also proven beneficial during the lockdown. Industry experts are now saying that the future of development is toward integrated developments, which SMDC has been doing from the very beginning.

“(Y)ou don’t have to get out of your development to buy your basic necessities. You can get your food, your medicines, you can do your banking, you can get your haircut (right within the property). We are ready for the new normal,” Banzon said.

Banzon also explained that SMDC units are designed to allow ample lighting and natural ventilation, which are conducive to a productive work-from-home (WFH) set-up. Wifi-equipped lobbies with open-air lounges and co-working spaces provide the perfect setting for a WFH environment that strictly adheres to social distancing.

With social distancing and restricted personal movement as part of the new normal, residents do not have to go out of their properties for fun and social activities, or to have a semblance of space. They can safely stay within the property and enjoy the well-appointed amenities and top-notch facilities that define every SMDC development, Banzon explained.

Banzon further noted that SMDC properties are situated in major CBDs and are near transport hubs, providing easy access to offices, schools, hospitals and major thoroughfares, enabling minimized travel.

Strong performance amid COVID-19

SMDC raked in P11.4 billion from January to March this year, 23 percent up from the P9.3 billion it recorded in the same period in 2019. Reservation sales, meanwhile, clocked in at P24.8 billion, a testament of consumer confidence in the brand even in trying times.

Banzon attributed SMDC’s success to three factors: industry resilience, consumers’ basic need for shelter and SMDC’s product.

“We belong to an industry that is resilient. The asset is real, tangible and least affected by deflationary forces,” he explained.

“In the Philippines, there’s a 6-million unit shortfall in housing, so there is a very big demand that has yet to be filled. Housing also fulfills the dream of every Filipino to own a home.”