In January 2016, a research team tasked to conduct feasibility studies on three properties being acquired through loans from Reall's Land Equity Asset Facility (LEAF), was created by LinkBuild together with TAMPEI and HPFPI. Market research consultant, Maria Lourdes Espinosa, was hired to lead the market study of current approved projects.
The first phase of the study focused on the assessment of current situations in the area. Ms. Espinosa made visits to the cities of Davao, Talisay and Iloilo, where the properties are located, to facilitate focus group discussions (FGD) with potential community clients. The FGDs aimed to gauge the affordability levels of the communities and match them with their house design and lot size preferences, among others. During the FGDs, the community members were categorized into three groups: (1) the informal income earners' group, (2) the formal income earners' group, and (3) the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) families. Similarities and differences in the results of the discussions were then observed and noted.
Initial findings showed that most people find it challenging to save if they have no reason for saving. Without a particular goal in sight, they usually save for education and emergency purposes, but would not manage to have regular savings for other purposes. Most of their incomes get spent for supporting family needs. The discussions also leveled off people’s expectations about the forthcoming projects, and encouraged them to voice out their concerns, specifically with regards to repayment terms.
By mid-February, the team evaluated and analyzed all the data gathered. Preparations were also made for the next phase of the study, which involved more comprehensive field research. The team was divided into two groups, with one group focusing on market research and the other on technical research. Key community leaders and some members took part in the simultaneous studies by joining both of the teams. All gathered information were consolidated and are currently being analyzed.
As of now, the research team is working on finalizing data analysis, which would then feed into the development and finalization of the financial models for each project. [April 2016]