Cebu Property Market Bullish Amid Tourism Rebound, Infra Boom 

In a Colliers’ review posted on Inquirer, Cebu has been named a top beneficiary of the property market recovery. Due to loosened COVID-19 restrictions, the reviving tourism sector, and improving infrastructure networks, developers and investors are to seize opportunities in the Visayan metro area.

Cebu was also featured in Lamudi’s list of 22 Cities to Watch for in 2022, as seen in its latest Hotspots Unwrapped trend report. The city’s property rentals have attracted the most leads, which may be attributed to its growing number of domestic migrants and tourists.

Colliers Philippines expects Cebu’s residential projects to be in healthy demand after the completion of major infra projects in the city.

Where Pilgrims, Tourists Meet 

In early March, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said that Holy Week activities would finally bring back pilgrims and tourists to the city, as reported by Cebu Daily News. He also mentioned the many churches and pilgrimage sites people can visit for religious tourism, especially now that 75% celebration capacity has been allowed. 

Meanwhile, Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 Director Shahlimar Hofer Tamano assures that Central Visayas is now ready to welcome foreign and local tourists with a wide range of outdoor activities.

In an ANC article, the regional director happily noted the ongoing construction of a nine-hectare five-star resort and casino facility in Cebu City, which will open this year. Many tourists also express interest in driving up the Transcentral Highway, which connects Cebu City and the Balamban town. It’s a bikers haven, a food hub, and a camping site all rolled into one place.

Tamano likewise expects an influx of tourists this Holy Week partly due to their pilgrimage programs, including the Marian Pilgrimage in Metro Cebu and the Southern Cebu Jubilee Churches Pilgrimage. 

On Track Completion of New Infra 

Set to open this April is the P30-billion Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) that will link Cebu City to Cordova town. The 8.9-kilometer link bridge will decongest traffic in existing bridges and increase economic activities throughout the Visayas region. With a design speed of 80 kilometers per hour, CCLEX is expected to serve around 50,000 vehicles daily, according to an Inquirer report.

The new link bridge and the 73.75-kilometer Metro Cebu Expressway are seen to boost the attractiveness of condo projects in Metro Cebu. Developers are then encouraged to be strategic with their land banking initiatives and gear up for the demand for rentals.

Colliers believes that residential uptake in Cebu will go hand-in-hand with the recovery in office leasing activities. This also puts forward the potential demand for mixed-use communities, which feature residential towers, office buildings, malls, and institutional facilities. 

As for Cebu’s office market, the availability of Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)-accredited buildings shall attract business process outsourcing locators, information technology firms, and traditional companies to expand in Cebu. 

After Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City is considered the next popular property location within the province, as mentioned in the 3Q 2021 trend report of Lamudi for Cebu. Meanwhile, Colliers’ data revealed that 99 percent of new condo supply from 2017 to 2019 were from Cebu City, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu City.

OFW Remittances as a Property Demand Indicator 

Colliers also noted the role of sustained remittances in the real estate market recovery. Its March 2022 market intelligence report mentioned the positive implications of OFW remittances that reached a new record-high in 2021. Besides reflecting an improvement in the global economy, the increased cash remittances are viewed as a demand driver in the horizontal market, particularly in affordable to mid-income projects. 

Based also on Lamudi’s 3Q 2021 report for Cebu, overseas leads for the area were from countries with high concentrations of OFWs. By region, Cebu’s top 5 overseas lead sources were North America, East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.

The same report noted a dynamic demand for properties, with each price segment–economic, low-cost, upscale, and luxury–getting a large share of leads. On the other hand, rental demand was primarily concentrated in affordable segments.

Sources: Inquirer, Cebu Daily News, ANC, Colliers Philippines

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