How SMDC succeeded in building homes for Filipinos

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Henry Sy’s businesses expanded from selling shoes to building homes, a legacy that was passed on to his son, SM Prime Holdings Inc. chairman Henry Sy Jr. who is making his own mark.

SM Development Corp. set the trend for urban vertical living amid the need to address the country’s housing backlog of over 5.5 million units.

“I want the Philippines to be a nation of home owners. At the moment, we are selling 15,000 to 20,000 units a year and we want to increase that to provide more families with homes,” Henry Sy Jr. said. 

This year, SMDC is celebrating its 10th year in the business with 31 projects and more than 50,000 units delivered to residents. The growth of the business became rapid after the launch of Mezza Residences in 2006.

The key to SMDC’s success was anchored on finding its market niche―families and professionals who aspire for a better life, look for new experiences and are equipped with increased spending power in a growing Philippine economy. Its simple and successful proposition: to provide accessible and affordable homes with five-star amenities across the country.

SMDC developed properties in key cities in Metro Manila and now in the provinces that offer accessibility to major transport terminals as well as malls and retail podiums and other basic services.

SMDC provides generous spaces for five-star amenities such as in Field Residences, one of its earlier developments in Parañaque City.

Convenience is the name of the game, said Sy who saw and felt its importance while briefly living in Hong Kong during the mid-1980s until the early 1990s. 

“Convenience is very important. I want to give Filipinos a chance to own homes in good, premium areas such as those beside a mall or transport terminal or build a mall within the condominium itself to provide residents with convenience,” he said.

SMDC has complemented convenience with innovation on amenities and designs. Among them are the cinema in Light Residences, Sky Lounges in Princeton, Coast and Breeze Residences, island amenities in Shore Residences, a huge clubhouse and sports complex in Wind Residences, large swimming pools in Field Residences, linear parks in Trees Residences, a retail podium in Jazz that boasts of a delectable mix of dining concepts, to name a few. 

SMDC also launched another first this year by introducing medium-rise building project outside of Metro Manila like the Cheer Residences in Marilao, Bulacan that rises about five story high. SMDC also unveiled its maiden house and lot project and its maiden foray into economic housing in Pampanga. Nestled in Mabalacat town, Cheerful Homes offers an affordable integrated residential community that has its own commercial area, transport hub, property management and a hectare of amenities. 

In 2016, SMDC entered China’s real estate industry with its Silk Residences showroom in SM City Chengdu, that was well-received by the international market.

Albert Yu of Asya, SMDC’s long-time architect, said listening closely and observing what the market needs is important in coming up with innovation.

“In Asya, our culture is to design with a purpose. One of the things that is important to us is the habitable size of the residence for the buyer,” Yu said.

Sy remains upbeat on the residential market, saying that SMDC’s growth will likely accelerate in the next five years. One of the main factors that will ensure the company’s drive forward he says are the people behind SMDC, a sales force of about 1,700, who are empowered to be part of the decision process and to promote the projects like owners. 

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