Last Updated on November 7, 2022 by Lamudi
The United Nations projects that about two thirds of the world will be living in cities by 2050, and this rapid urbanization is perhaps most prevalent in emerging countries such as the Philippines. Developments in public infrastructure, housing, the job market, business friendliness, the variety of services and other indicators of economic growth have spurred urbanization across the country.
These are some factors that drive people towards living in cities, as is evident in property seekers’ behavior on Lamudi. As 2022 starts, we look at the 22 cities that attracted property seekers last year.
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1. Quezon City
Quezon City (QC) is the most sought-after city on Lamudi in 2021. Of all highly urbanized cities in the country, QC garnered the highest number of leads and pageviews.
The most populous and largest city in Metro Manila continues to attract property seekers as it develops its growth centers, new residential offerings, and maintains its open spaces. Leading schools such as Ateneo de Manila University, Miriam College and University of the Philippines are located in the city. It also doubles as green lungs with open spaces home to various species of flora and fauna.
With over a hundred accredited non-governmental organizations and around forty government agencies located in the city as well, it is small wonder that students and job aspirants flock to the city. Those seeking to invest in the city can look forward to exciting new projects, including a mixed township and business park linking QC to Pasig, a Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit Line giving residents direct access to the City of Manila, as well as the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 joining the existing rail line in North Avenue and extending all the way to San Jose del Monte City.
One of the country’s premier central business districts, Makati boasts heritage, a vibrant commercial landscape, and multimodal transport. Footbridges, wide pavements and maintained green pockets make the city walkable. Linkages to metro rail transit stations, bus stops, and major highways give residents multiple transportation options to choose from depending on their needs.
Primarily a rental market on Lamudi, majority of leads for Makati listings on the site were for condominium units and apartments. With new residential developments rising among some of the metro’s oldest hotels, corporate headquarters, independent galleries, and new food concepts, Makati continues to be home to an even more eclectic mix of services, lifestyles and people.
Hosting embassies, schools, and some of the largest multinationals present in the country, Taguig remains to be a popular choice among expats, families and experienced professionals. Outside of the Philippines, property seekers from the United States, Canada, Singapore, United Kingdom and Australia showed the most interest in Taguig.
Bonifacio Global City continues to see new retail and residential skyrises erected. The development of a Metro Manila Subway station in the area and several new residential buildings are some projects investors in the area are watching out for.
Pasig’s sustainable transport program and other initiatives undertaken in recent years to improve the city’s quality of living have enticed more and more property seekers to the city. The presence of bike infrastructure, pocket parks, and sidewalks along with various office and residential buildings contribute to its popularity among property seekers, especially as awareness surrounding the benefits of active transport increases.
The well-connected city is accessible via major roads to those coming in from Antipolo, Mandaluyong, Quezon City and Taguig – cities among the top locations where leads for listings in Pasig came from in 2021.
Primarily a rental market on Lamudi, the City of Manila continues to be a popular choice for students attending schools along the University Belt and investors looking to cater to that market.
The presence of many markets, churches, monuments, public parks and heritage buildings are some aspects of the city that make it an attractive place to settle down in. Consistently among the top ten most sought-after locations on Lamudi, listings on the site are evenly spread across different price segments.
Parañaque blends entertainment and upscale hospitality with homey neighborhoods through integrated casino-resorts in the Entertainment City and mom-and-pop stores across barangays B.F. Homes and Merville.
Majority of leads for Parañaque listings on Lamudi were for houses in 2021, while ‘house and lot’ was the most searched sub-category. Its commitment to improving its environmental sustainability is another factor contributing to its popularity as a residential area; the city was internationally recognized by the 5th ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable Cities held in Jakarta last October 2021 for its solid waste management program.
Dubbed the Mall Capital of the country because of the presence of malls including Shangri-La, Megamall, Podium, SM Light and Greenfield District within close proximity of each other, Mandaluyong doesn’t fall short in terms of retail and entertainment options.
Following after houses and condominium units, commercial properties contributed the most to Mandaluyong listings on Lamudi. Leisure facilities such as crossfit boxes, cycling studios, climbing gyms, and more can be found within the city. Bordered by Makati, Pasig, Manila and San Juan, Mandaluyong also provides its residents easy access to offices in its neighboring cities. With projects such as the EDSA Greenways coming into fruition, commuting and hopping across the city’s retail and shopping centers will be made easier.
8. Cebu City
The city renowned for its proximity to diving spots, trails and beaches is gearing up to be one of the country’s hottest investment destinations. Having ranked 52nd out of 100 cities assessed in Tholon’s Global Outsourcing Destinations Survey, Cebu City is one of the country’s biggest IT-BPO markets.
As a regional hub, the city attracts students and professionals from neighboring islands with its administrative centers, universities and work opportunities. Given the influx of domestic migrants and tourists in the city, majority of leads for properties in the city on Lamudi were for rentals. Waterfront developments, integrated resort-casinos, mountain rentals, and hilltop cafes are some other projects that have been cropping up in the Queen City of the South.
9. Las Piñas
Known to be a peaceful residential community, Las Piñas is primarily a ‘buy’ market on Lamudi with houses and land attracting the most leads for properties for sale.
Leads for properties in the city were mostly in the low cost and mid cost segments. The city attracted a large share of pageviews from overseas property seekers throughout 2021. Outside of Metro Manila, property seekers from North America contributed the most pageviews to Las Pinas.
Known as the Gateway to Calabarzon, Muntinlupa City offers residents a blend of suburban residential living with a business district, low-rise retail spaces and quick access to both vacation spots in the south and commercial hubs in the Metro.
With zonal values for commercial properties in barangays such as Alabang at PHP250,000 per sqm and residential values in Ayala Alabang ranging from PHP80,000 to PHP120,000 per sqm, there were large shares of upscale and luxury Muntinlupa listings on Lamudi.
Demand for these segments were especially high as majority of leads for the city in 2021 were for properties priced at 20M and above. Recently, the city has worked on delivering virtual services. Muntinlupa bagged three awards at the GCash Digital Excellence Awards 2021 for its use of a mobile wallet in distributing financial assistance to its beneficiaries.
11. San Juan
With the majority of its supply on Lamudi split between houses and condominium units, San Juan’s blend of both horizontal and vertical residential developments as well as its varied retail offerings – from Greenhills to independent restaurants – have made the city an attractive residential destination for families.
One major driver of interest in San Juan is its education. Aside from being home to major schools such as De La Salle University Greenhills, Immaculate Concepcion Academy and Xavier University, the city won the top Galing Pook Award in 2021 for its educational programs during COVID-19. The city’s LGU was the first to distribute tablets and laptops to all its public school teachers and students, and also provided free wifi to all public school students as reported by the Manila Bulletin in October 2021.
Views of the famed Manila Bay sunset continue to attract property seekers to Pasay City, with new vertical developments such as condominiums and office towers continuing to crop up. The city continues to be an attractive investment destination especially for employees of firms and government offices in the area as well as those who frequently fly for work.
From November 2020 to November 2021, majority of leads for properties in the city were for properties to rent, while the most inquired property types in the city were condominiums and apartments.
13. Davao City
Named the second most competitive highly urbanized city in DTI’s 2020 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, Davao City is one of the country’s most economically dynamic cities. Some of its investment priorities include agribusinesses – developing more homegrown brands in addition to Dizon Farms and Malagos Chocolate.
Davao has attracted significant demand from overseas, with property seekers from North America contributing the second highest number of pageviews to Davao listings – even more than other regions within the Philippines. Other investment priorities for the city are low-cost and socialized housing as well as eco-industries.
While the city is most famously known for its cool climate and vacation homes, the city also serves as an administrative center in the region, consistently among the top ten most viewed cities outside Metro Manila on Lamudi. Since the previous year, leads for the city increased by 20% – with houses and condominium units attracting the largest share out of all other property types.
Some programs that exemplify the city’s efforts in improving the delivery of its public services include its Baguio Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (V.I.S.I.T.A), its online registration system for travelers to the leisure destination launched during the pandemic; Baguio in My Pocket, an all-in-one digital platform for key services including business permit applications, delivery app, and online marketplace; and it’s online contact tracing system.
Caloocan has consistently proven itself a city dedicated to providing livelihood and housing opportunities. During the 2021 Kabuhayan Awards held in early November, Caloocan was named “Best LGU in Implementing Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP)” as reported by the Manila Bulletin.
Lamudi data for January to November 2021 also revealed housing trends favorable to the more affordable market segments. With over a third of available listings for sale on Lamudi belonging to the low-cost segment, Caloocan boasts a formidable affordable housing supply on the site. Houses, land and commercial properties were the top three most prevalent property types in Caloocan on Lamudi.
Beneficiary to multiple key infrastructure projects including direct access to an airport express railway station, travel between Angeles and Metro Manila is estimated to be cut down to about an hour upon project completion. Developments in Clark, including Clark Global City, New Clark City and the new Clark airport terminal, are some of the country’s most anticipated projects seen to be a driving force in attracting investment activity in the countryside, decongesting Metro Manila and leading sustainable and inclusive development.
Interest for Angeles on Lamudi was concentrated mostly in residential properties, with houses, land and apartments attracting the most leads.
The Shoe Capital of the Country is recognized not only for its leather footwear but also for improving the streets they walk. Having scored the highest marks for clean air, land and water assessments by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Marikina was awarded the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Environmentally Sustainable Cities Award in October 2021.
The city’s Eco-Savers program, which involves instilling discipline in the youth through proper waste management, was awarded by the Democratic Local Governance in Southeast Asia (DELGOSEA) earlier in 2021. Marikina’s commitment to improving livability contributes to its strong residential market – over half of all leads for properties in Marikina on Lamudi in 2021 were for houses.
From January to November 2021, condominiums were the most dominant property type present in Lapu-lapu on Lamudi. Lapu-lapu has gained immense traction in the last few years, with the construction of a fourth bridge further connecting Mactan Island to mainland Cebu and the renovation of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport further cementing the city as a cosmopolitan destination.
The number of Japanese locators in its industrial ecozones, as well as various English as a Second Language (ESL) schools and tourist activities, have made the city a popular retirement destination for overseas investors. The city is also growing as an alternative commercial hub in Metro Cebu, with various resort-style residential developments, a township with malls and offices, as well as an integrated resort and casino rising in the city.
This bustling industrial hub and northern gateway to Metro Manila is another city consistently recognized for its efforts in progressive governance and dedication towards growing its economy. In the 2021 Galing Pook Awards, an institution promoting excellence in local governance, Valenzuela took the most awards home. The LGU was recognized for its programs in digital learning (‘Valenzuela Live’), livelihood (‘Tagalag Fishing Village’) and business-friendliness (‘Paspas Permit’).
Valenzuela has also been recognized for harnessing innovation in the fight against COVID-19, having won the ‘Best in Covid-19 Pandemic Response’ for the Valenzuela Contact Tracing App during the 2020 Digital Governance Awards. Given the city’s efforts towards improving its business environment, it is small wonder that land and commercial properties attracted the most leads out of all other property types in Valenzuela throughout 2021.
Aside from being Region VII’s industrial hub hosting roughly 10,000 industrial and commercial locators and well over half of its rental listings on Lamudi composed of commercial properties, Mandaue City is gearing up to be one of the country’s most mobility-forward cities. The 2021 Mobility Awards hailed Mandaue as the second most bike-friendly city in the Philippines, recognizing the city’s efforts in establishing protected bike lanes as well as free-to-use bike racks and repair stations.
Mandaue also surpassed its neighboring cities in terms of road clearing operations in 2021 with the Department of Interior and Local Government reporting the city’s 97.5% compliance rate in a memorandum published last October, further showing the city’s commitment to keeping its roads safe.
21. Cagayan de Oro
With projects such as the Cagayan de Oro Coastal Road and CDO-New Diversion Road underway, Misamis Oriental is anticipating increased commercial activities and interconnectedness in Northern Mindanao. According to Lamudi data, after apartments and houses, commercial properties attracted the largest share for properties to rent in the city throughout 2021.
The National Economic Development Authority recognizes Metro Cagayan de Oro as the country’s fourth metropolitan center by 2025 in the National Spatial Strategy, and is actively pursuing the development of transportation and energy infrastructure in the city in efforts to sustain the region’s position as the largest producer of sustainable power in Mindanao. Last September, the city also completed the Cagayan de Oro City Convention Center after 20 years – a significant achievement for the city’s tourism.
The City of Smiles is not only known for Masskara and its famed chicken inasal, but also its status as a prime economic center in Western Visayas. The city is the country’s third fastest growing hub for IT and BPO activities, and was named by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry as the most business-friendly LGU outside Metro Manila.
Lamudi data revealed that since the start of the year, the share of commercial listing supply in Bacolod had slowly increased each month. According to Negros Occidental governor Eugenio Lacson, Bacolod also received P500 million worth of infrastructure projects for 25 insurgency-cleared barangays earlier this year.
- The top ten most searched property markets were mostly concentrated in Metro Manila. This trend was similar to DTI’s 2021 rankings for the top highly urbanized cities in the Philippines, with the exception of Davao City, Cagayan de Oro and Cebu City also topping DTI’s list.
- Low-cost properties attracted significant demand across over half of the 22 cities.
- Residential properties such as houses flexed a large share of leads out of all property types, a trend common to most of the aforementioned cities. This is consistent with 2020 trends, which saw an increase in demand for horizontal developments.
- There were high concentrations of demand for luxury properties in hotspots such as Muntinlupa, Paranaque, Pasay and Taguig – cities that saw consistently large shares of leads for upscale and luxury price segments.
- The top 22 most inquired cities varied in terms of being primarily buy or rent markets with leads split evenly, pointing to a variety in property seeker preferences.
- Plenty of the lauded developments in each of the listed highly urbanized cities were mostly service-based in 2021. Digitized administrative services, alternate mobility support, and environmental protection programs were some common developments seen across the identified cities.
There is not one single element that drives property seekers towards a city. Whether it be quality of living, variety in available properties, sustainable utilities or economic dynamism, property seekers are attracted to places that continually innovate and respond to their changing needs. With the public health and commercial landscape rapidly evolving, so must cities’ physical structure. The abovementioned cities lead not only because of what they currently offer, but what they ensure for the future – their ability to plan adequately and adapt to the unprecedented.