Completion of Skyway Extension On Track Despite ECQ

Even with the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) policy in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) vowed that the Skyway extension project will be finished on schedule, Philstar reported. The department aims to finish the northbound section by the second quarter of the year and the southbound on or before the fourth quarter. 

In a CNN Philippines report published in the last week of March, San Miguel Corporation said that the northbound section was already structurally complete. Stretching 3.99 kilometers, the thoroughfare allows a 30-minute trip to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), a drastic improvement from the typical two hours. Additionally, it can accommodate up to 4,500 vehicles per hour. Meanwhile, the southbound section was halfway done in March.

According to the Philstar report, the DPWH added three lanes going north and two lanes going south, increasing the daily vehicle capacity of the road network. The Skyway extension has a direct connection to Skyway Stages 1 and 2, and the recently opened Skyway Stage 3.

The extended skyway is set to decongest traffic at SLEX, the portion approaching Alabang, Muntinlupa.

Latest Skyway Projects

The Skyway extension project began in late 2019, forming part of the 38-kilometer elevated Skyway system, extending it from the Skyway Main Line Toll Plaza located in Sucat, Parañaque all the way to Susana Heights at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and back.

The most recent Skyway project delivered is the Skyway Stage 3, which partially opened in December 2020, as CNN Philippines reported. From Buendia to the North Luzon Expressway in Quezon City, travel time was reduced to 20 minutes. From Alabang to Balintawak, it’s a 30-minute drive.

Recently, the Toll Regulatory Board approved the provisional rates for the elevated highway, as mentioned in this ABS-CBN News article.

Another Skyway project rising soon is the Skyway Stage 4, a roadway connecting the South of Metro Manila Skyway to Batasan Complex in Quezon City. Designed to reduce traffic jams in EDSA and C5, it will create an alternative route for motorists in the CALABARZON region, particularly those from the province of Rizal. It forms part of the C6 Expressway or more formally known as the Southeast Metro Manila Expressway. The project broke ground in 2018, Inquirer reported.

Brewing Real Estate Interest

The construction and completion of infrastructure projects bode well for real estate investments in host locations. The demand for properties is seen to pick up in the next few months. 

For instance, Muntinlupa, which will benefit from the delivery of the Skyway extension, is expected to see a drastic increase in market interest, especially in commercial properties. According to the forecast trend report Lamudi published, titled What’s Next: A Forecast on PH’s Residential and Commercial Real Estate in 2021, Muntinlupa will likely experience a 17.91 percent increase in pageviews from the first half of the year to the second half. 

Business process outsourcing (BPO) companies represent a huge share of the take-up of office spaces in the city.

Last year, Muntinlupa retained its status as a top real estate hotspot in Metro Manila, earning a significant number of pageviews, despite the new normal of work-from-home.

Similarly, places in South Luzon were attracting more residential property seekers. Half of the 10 most in-demand provincial cities in 2020 were from the CALABARZON region. They include Bacoor, Antipolo, Dasmariñas, Imus, and Calamba–places that will also benefit from the Skyway projects. 

Antipolo, for one, ended 2020 with positive figures. It experienced a surge of 88 percent in leads and 86 percent in pageviews, compared to the second half of 2019, as shown in Lamudi’s latest trend report titled Indicators of Growth: Where to Invest in 2021.

Vaccination Rollout Urgency

The acceleration of the vaccination drive in the country will trigger better market sentiment, making property seekers more confident about investments amid the pandemic. 

In the latest report from Inquirer, about 800,000 Filipinos have received COVID-19 vaccines. Healthcare workers and senior citizens were among those included. Of the number reported, over 13,000 who have comorbidities got the first dose. Currently, the country has 2,669 vaccination sites.

The national government recently allowed the private sector to procure their own vaccines for their employees to help speed up the population’s immunization.

Sources: Philstar, CNN Philippines, ABS-CBN News, Inquirer

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