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Moving The Indonesian Real Estate Fraternity Forward

Property Insight recently held an exclusive interview with Chairman of Real Estate Indonesia (REI) Soelaeman Soemawinata who also goes by the name Eman. REI is an authorised body representing the real estate fraternity in the populous nation of Indonesia whose aim is to increase economic growth and commitment by upholding its mission and vision in the populous nation of Indonesia.

Born in Bogor in 1962 in the third largest city in Indonesia, Eman as he is fondly known, studied his Bachelor’s degree at the Bandung Institute of Technology located in the capital of West Java, Indonesia.

ABOUT EMAN

The consultant and director who serves several real estate development companies, property industries and prestigious organisations has built-up a colourful portfolio for the past 30 years. Eman served as a Project Manager of PT Perentjana Djaja from 1988 to 1993. Thereafter, from 1994 to 2007, he was the General Manager of PT Alfa Goldland Realty.

He later became the Director of PT Alam Sutera Realty Tbk between January 30, 2007 and February 25, 2015. PT Alam Sutera Realty Tbk engages in the development and management of residential, commercial, industrial properties. Counted among the iconic projects by this developer is the 211.8 metres project called Tower representing a 50-storey skyscraper with five floors built underground located at the Golden Triangle of Jakarta in Indonesia.

Eman also served as a Director of PT Adhihutama Manunggal from 2000 to 2007 and PT Alfa Goldland Realty. Currently, he is a Director of PT Bukit Asri Padang Golf, a position he has held since 1997. Eman was also on the advisory board for Kadipaten Banten Realty.

Recently, Eman added another feather to his cap after he was elected as the President of FIABCI- Indonesia Chapter. REI has been given a mandate by the government of Indonesia in spearheading the Rupiah 1 million housing programme. Eman who hails from REI Banten holding a three-year term (2016-2019) as the chairman says he has committed to undertaking this huge role to support the government and the people of Indonesia via REI in his stride.

IN THE LINE OF DUTY

The main target for REI he shares is to solve the problem of funding developers in the region to meet the needs of community homes as well as government programmes in pushing to meet the 1 million homes goal.

Eman who has undertaken urban planning for several developers in Indonesia has also managed almost 100 projects throughout the country. These include hospital and commercial developments, warehouses as well as retail, industrial and tourism projects like hotels, parks and more.

He also manages the legal aspects in his line of duty including undertaking corporate agreements for joint ventures, procurements, tax, land certification contracts. REI has 29 vice presidents attending to these issues which Eman overseas. A feat by REI members include having built 40 units of houses by themselves complemented by infrastructure needs in Papua New Guinea.

Ean has teamed up with joint venture associations to develop a parcel of land with a built-up area spanning 1.175 hectare at Mandalika in Nusa Tenggara Barat, Indonesia. Incidentally, Mandalika has also been selected part of the project initiative by the Indonesian Tourism Development for Corporation (ITDC) to promote the area.

Eman discloses that now, 70% of REI’s 3,700 members are focused on developing low-cost and subsidised homes throughout the rural districts in Indonesia.

“I am a commissioner having a duty and obligation to the agency. I need to sacrifice time and energy as well as exercise patience to help other members,” he says. Eman says that most of the members of REI comprise businessmen and professionals therefore it is tough to invite every single person to sacrifice their time, money or energy due to their personal business and careers demanding full attention.

Having said that, Eman is adamant in raising funds from exhibitions which can bring in about Rupiah 7 billion to pay for research or planning initiatives undertaken in other places in Indonesia. Businessmen, doctors, lawyers usually have basic technical knowledge or skills but no formal education on REI he shares so for that purpose, REI has set up 35 training centres to manage and empower its members with knowledge.

ENOUNTERING CHALLENGES

“Every day is a challenge for me due to the economic slowdown globally which we can’t control. However, we continue to stay on course by establishing the normal price for real estates to strike a balance,” asserts Eman.

At REI, members not only merely build homes but they also need to consider other factors such as ensuring accessibility or having amenities nearby their developments. In successfully completing their developments, Eman says companies will be able to generate labour and pay taxes to elevate the local economy in line with REI’s mission objectives.

REI is also trying to attract foreign investors into the country.

REI has declared that it will develop 200,000 units of affordable homes with a gross development value of Rupiah 190 million as this housing programme serves a primary housing need for the locals in Indonesia.

Sharing on the importance of building a legacy for the property industry, Eman says that REI will fulfill part of the Indonesian Government’s strategy to upgrade existing standards while managing via regulations in order to meet the goals for the country. The Government is always wary on the property or economic bubble situation and strives to keep everything balanced.

Eman opines that some regulations hinder the property sector. For example, this includes the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio aimed at controlling the bubble for developers is now from 80%, depending on the size of the houses.

“Customers currently have to pay 30% down payment but REI proposes for the balance of the mortgage to be settled in three months instead, whereby the money would be paid progressively to the developers,” says Eman.

FUTURE IS BRIGHTER

“Some developers have been enjoying these facilities and benefits for the past ten years. Hopefully, we will do well next year after going through a three-year slowdown in the property market. Therefore, REI need to save the industry as those in the real estate industry have been affected by the uncertain market,” he sums.

In conclusion, Eman advises new investors and homebuyers before even starting to invest in properties to weigh all viewpoints and work through each barrier even though it seems like an ongoing struggle to maintain equilibrium during the market slump. He wants to establish the mindset that properties are still the best investment which can bring about positive returns in terms of Return on Investments (ROIs) to the economy.

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