Good Governance Drives Fringe City Demand Amid Pandemic

Data from 2020 revealed that fringe cities performed particularly strongly throughout last year. Lamudi’s trend report titled  Indicators of Growth: Where to Invest in 2021 assessed various location types in the country–central business districts, fringe cities, leisure destinations, and prominent cities outside Metro Manila. Fringe cities stood out, achieving positive year-on-year pageview growth figures in both halves of the year with 24.49 percent in the first half and 35.82 percent in the second half.

In light of the pandemic and consequent economic crisis, these figures are especially impressive. Let’s take a look at the cities within the fringes of the metro to see which factors make these locations extra desirable places to live in.


With 43 percent of all pageviews for the fringe cities assessed, Marikina owns the largest share of pageviews for the location group for the year 2020. Given that the city was one of the first to conduct mass testing of its residents, it is not surprising to see why.

Rappler reported on the city’s quick response to the pandemic in an article published last July 2020, citing initiatives such as building its own local molecular diagnostic laboratory, creating an efficient contact tracing map, and imposing a number-coding scheme in the Marikina Public Market. The city also encouraged civic participation, creating a strong sense of community amongst Marikeños as the government mobilized homeowners’ associations to help verify poorer households to be prioritized for an emergency subsidy program. 


Caloocan is on track to becoming a significant driver of demand amongst fringe cities in 2021, having contributed the greatest share of leads in the first month of this year at 52 percent. The city government was lauded by the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for its pandemic management, as reported by the Manila Standard last September.

Caloocan’s innovative use of ‘quarantine bands’–an app-supported wristband provided to exposed individuals–for contact tracing as well as its proper and timely implementation of the quarantine pass systems were some actions that were acknowledged by the task forces as the city sought to bring down its coronavirus cases. Data gathered by research group Octa in September and October last year identified Caloocan as the city with the lowest COVID-19 daily attack rate.


Valenzuela attracted a 65 percent uptick in leads and a 58 percent surge in pageviews from the first to the second half of 2020, enticing more potential real estate investors to the city across time. The city earned multiple awards during the pandemic for its good governance and progressive projects.

In the 2020 Digital Governance Awards held last December, Valenzuela coveted the ‘Best in Business Empowerment’ award for its Paspas Permit–its online business permit registration and renewal system. Its Valenzuela Contact Tracing App or ‘ValTrace’, which replaces the manual paper-based tracking system – won the ‘Best in the Covid-19 Pandemic Response’ award. It is also worth noting that Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian scored the fourth highest approval rating among Metro Manila mayors for their overall performance last year, according to a study commissioned by the group RP-Mission and Development Foundation Inc. and reported by the Philippine Star last December.

Recognized for its growing business districts and relatively affordable prices to CBDs, fringe cities have long been identified as viable investment spots for young property seekers looking to invest early in their careers. The cities’ recent efforts to promote the health and quality of life of their citizens through quick, effective, and innovative governance can only sustain their residents’ satisfaction and continue attracting seekers throughout Metro Manila to work, reside or do business within the fringes.

Sources: Manila Standard, Manila Times, Philippine News Agency, Philippine Star, Rappler


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