Why are more foreigners buying condos in Manila?



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Why are more foreigners buying condos in Manila?

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia (ABS-CBNdotcom)
Posted at 03/05/2013 8:00 PM | Updated as of 03/06/2013 2:05 PM
MANILA, Philippines - More and more foreigners are buying residential condominiums in Metro Manila, according to real estate service company Jones Lang LaSalle.

David Leechiu, country head of Jones Lang LaSalle, said many Hong Kong, Singapore and US citizens are buying condominiums here.

"Interestingly, in the last 12 months, we have been getting clients coming to the Philippines and many of them are on business but they come here and like what they see and are now starting to be property owners for condos. (They are) mainly coming from Hong Kong, Singapore, those are our two big markets, and the US," he said in a press briefing in Makati on Tuesday.

He noted many foreigners are interested in the high yields they can get for these properties. "They're saying, 'wow, the yield at 5, 7, 8 percent is four times higher than what you can get in the US or in Singapore or Hong Kong.' So they're looking at putting their money down here and just sit on the property and enjoy high yield for the asset," he said.

To illustrate his point, Leechiu said 500 Singaporeans have bought units at a condominium development near De La Salle University in Taft Avenue, Manila.

"There's a cluster of buildings there where 500 indvidual Singaporeans have bought property 18 months ago. They made installments and all they're looking to do is get higher returns on their money...That's probably the most interesting trend we're seeing," he said.

While foreigners are not allowed to own land in the Philippines, they can own condominium units but subject to conditions of the Condominium Act.

Even "boring" businesses are attracting foreign interest. "We are starting to see more traction in the very unsexy and boring businesses. For example, we have heard that there's a new player that's looking to enter the Philippines in the poultry sector. They're not here to grow chickens and export. They're going to grow chickens, import chickens and address the growing demand here," he said.

Healthy demand seen

With Southeast Asia expected to continue growing in the next 24 months, Jones Lang LaSalle sees healthy demand in the region's real estate market.

"Strong growth in the economy means healthy demand for infrastructure and part of that is the real estate market. Rarely do we have a situation where there is a strong economic growth and real estate markets fall backwards," Christopher Fossick, Jones Lang LaSalle managing director for Singapore and South East Asia, said in a press briefing.

However, interests rates are likely to rise in most Southeast Asian economies through 2016, save for the Philippines which is expected to have a stable interest rate.

The young population and low dependency ratio in Southeast Asia is also seen as a factor in supporting growth.

"When you have an affluent economy, young people move out of the family home earlier, creating more demand for the housing market," Fossick said.

In the Philippines, Jones Lang LaSalle expects continued growth in the outsourcing and offshoring industry, as well as investor demand for high-end residential properties.

"The overall economy in the Philippines is growing, which will mean certainly more demand for office space on a broader base, across business sectors and BPOs," Fossick said. In the office sector in Manila, there is a 18.7% projected addition to office stock this year 2013.

Jones Lang LaSalle also noted there is a projected 47.2% addition to the residential supply in Manila this year.

Antonio Sabarre, Jones Lang LaSalle associate director for markets, said that there are 149,000 residential condo units coming on line in the next five years (2013 to 2018). This is more than the 135,650 existing condo units built from 1999 to 2012.

Majority of the condos are priced between P1.5 million to P3 million and are located in Quezon City, Ortigas, Pasig and Mandaluyong areas.

The more expensive units, ranging from P3 million to P10 million, are mostly in Makati and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.


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Things to Remember When Buying a Condo in the Philippines
by Hoppler Editorial Board

Low cost of living, warm tropical climate, and friendly people. These are some of the things that await anyone who wants to own a condominium in the Philippines.

Since the steady growth of the real estate market in 2001, buying condominiums continues to become a trend. The proliferation of BPO companies, looking to harness the potential of the Philippine workforce, has created a huge demand for both commercial and residential properties.

Aside from foreign demand, many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are using their income to purchase condos either as home for themselves and their families or as investments to be liquidated in the future. In fact, some migrant workers purchase properties in the Philippines even while abroad.

Owning a condo in the Philippines today has changed from an extravagance available only to the affluent to a worthy investment that yields many purposes.

What is a Condominium?

Unlike a house or a land property, a condominium is a section of a building or a complex which a person can own individually.

The rules for owning a condominium varies from country to country. In the U.S., foreigners are eligible to purchase properties regardless of whether they are present or not. In Thailand, foreigners are given 100% freedom to own condominiums and sell them to other expats or local citizens. However, local citizens are not allowed to sell their own properties to foreigners.

Meanwhile, the strict law of the Philippines limits foreign ownership of real estate where purchasing lands or properties are prohibited, except in few cases. With the implementation of “The Condominium Act,” foreigners looking for residential or commercial properties are now given an option to own them.

The Philippine Condominium Act

Republic Act No. 4726, or commonly known as “The Condominium Act,” is a law that allows people the right to co-own a piece of property of land aside from the absolute ownership of his/her unit.

The Condominium Act states the rights of the owner and the extent of his/her influence in the property where he/she has purchased the unit. It serves to protect the rights of buyers to ensure that they are not being misled by property owners or developers.

One of its most significant provisions is that it allows foreigners to purchase condos in the Philippines, given that they do not own the land on which it is built.

The implementation of this law has allowed many foreigners to buy units in the Philippines, thus strengthening more the country’s real estate market.

Why buy a condo?

When planning to buy a condominium, the ultimate consideration is your purpose for purchasing one. Is it because you want to move into a better residence to establish your independence? Or are you planning to make it an investment property? Buying a condominium ensures that these two reasons are fulfilled.

A condominium offers a kind of flexibility that you can’t find in owning a house or land. If you’re looking for a permanent residence without the added burden of building your own home, then a condo is your best option. Similarly, if you want an asset which you can use commercially, it can become a lucrative investment property.
Important factors when buying a condo:

Consider your short-term needs and long-term goals.

Evaluate your goals in life before buying a condo. While a condominium is a premium investment and a cost effective housing option, you cannot bank on the possibility that it can be passed on to your children 50 years into the future (see Section 8 of RA 4726).

Think about the next five years, and ask yourself questions that will create a drastic change in your lifestyle in the future. Will you be married then? Do you have plans to move in five years? Are you planning on changing careers in the next few years? All these will help you decide whether you should invest on a condo and what type you will buy.

Learn about the prices of properties in different locations before deciding on a place to settle down.
Location is a very crucial factor in selecting your unit, mainly because where you choose to live will shape the lifestyle that you will have. However, different locations especially in the Metro are priced differently depending on the area.

Properties near the central business districts are higher than those farther away. For example, the selling price of a three-bedroom unit in Makati can go from PHP 14,500,000 to PHP 25,785,000. While the same unit for sale in Bonifacio Global City average between PHP 13,500,000 to PHP 29,500,000. Aside from condominium prices, the cost of living also varies in different locations.

Choose the type of unit that best suits your needs.
The great thing about buying a condo in the Philippines is that you have a lot of options to choose from. Aside from the many existing condominiums in the market, there are also pre-selling condos that are readily available. However that same factor can also hinder you when you start searching for your ideal residence.

Because of the number of options, you may find yourself gravitating towards cheaper alternatives or more costly ones just because they have amenities and features you think you might need.

Bear in mind that you are in control of what condo you’ll buy. Don’t settle for second best when you can have the perfect one by simply being very discerning about your decisions.

Gather all the information you need before signing a contract.
Buying a condo unit entitles you to a building’s services and amenities. Thus, you are also responsible for a portion of the upkeep of the building. Before you sign a contract, enlist the help of a broker to guide you into the financial aspect of buying a condo unit. This ensures you won’t be blindsided when a bill comes for a service that you were not aware of before buying the unit.

You should also pay particular attention to the details of the contract and discuss some important points you want to clarify with the building owner. For example, if you’re planning on sub-letting your unit then you should be aware if the owner allows this sort of business venture or not.

Moreover you can also make some suggestions or propose changes to your contract. For example, you are not certain about paying for a gym membership since you don’t work out that much or you want to upgrade the pre-installed appliances in your unit. You can discuss these with your broker or the owner of the building. By voicing out your opinion, you will save yourself from regret and complications later on.

Buying a condominium in the Philippines shouldn’t be a difficult task, especially if you follow these simple guidelines. Owning the perfect residential home is a dream, and you now have a chance to turn it into a reality.


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Buying a Condo in the Philippines is a good investment, especially if they are planning to have it rent. But the question is, where to buy?, in what location?, and how much would it cost?


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That's a good question Carmela. Location is one of the best key when it comes to choosing your property.


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How can anyone think about investing or buying property in the Philippines when safety and security is a big issue. This bullet-planting scam in the NAIA and domestic airports has created an environment of fear for travelers and visitors. Why would anyone allow themselves to be arrested and detained for actions caused by airport personnel. This bullet planting is a terroristic act that no one should be subjected to. Sadly and unfortunately, Philippine authorities chose to do nothing about this crime.

Ryan Maryland

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Why? Simple, Filipinos are known for being hospitable, living in here might be a treat for you. Also, the Philippines Economy has been growing and making great efforts to make living here is all you've ever wanted.

Most of the time condos in manila are always near or around commercial areas so going to places would not be such a problem. Sometimes there were condo with really good site location wherein there's a nearby mall or maybe even schools and also, a place to work. Living in a condo in Manila will not be boring just make sure you live accordingly to laws governing the land and everything will be a breeze.


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Speaking of security, lots has change. Many Filipinos said they feel more secured. Polices are spread around different areas till dawn.​


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Speaking of security, lots has change. Many Filipinos said they feel more secured. Polices are spread around different areas till dawn.​
Yeah Agree, I think life is simpler and safer now. Aside from that cost of living in PH is affordable so that's why foreigners/expats choose to stay here.


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I think a huge part of that decision making for the foreigners to live in the Philippines is the fact that Filipinos are hospitable and very friendly. They would immediately offer that "feel at home" experience 5 mins after you meet them.


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Hi Carmela, do you live in Philippines? do you own a property in the Philippines?