Of Proximity and Security: Student Residences

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The housing sector has been bullish in its growth and development since the early 2000s when it comes to the Philippine real estate market. This can be attributed to the influx of investments coming from several proponents.

“Over the past few years, the demand for residential condominium projects has primarily been driven by Filipino investors, OFWs and middle-class families upgrading from house and lot to condominium living,” said Colliers International Philippines research manager Joey Roi Bondoc.

The OFWs have primarily driven the housing sector investments by their remittances according to Colliers. “The demand from OFWs was also partly buoyed by the acquisition of condominium units for their children studying near universities in Metro Manila.” A specific niche has been observed to grow steadily due to the particular requirements coming from these investors—student residences.

In the search for better opportunities and a brighter future for their children, Filipino parents typically ensure that these will come to fruition. “Filipino parents working abroad buy or lease out condominium units for their children who are pursuing a college education in the Philippines,” explained Bondoc. Relevant to this growing segment in residential space investments, the Philippines continues to attract foreign students—Koreans, Chinese, Indians and Middle Eastern college students—who prefer to attend university here. Given this demand, more and more developer is expanding and diversifying options for student residences.

“This segment has been growing significantly as developers are targeting a niche market—students,” Bondoc said. “We see similar projects being launched near university areas as property firms cash in on the sustained demand,” he added. For the students, security and proximity can be ensured in these spaces which is integral in creating an atmosphere conducive for learning. For the investment side, practicality has been emphasized with student-centered residential condominiums since, as noted by Colliers, there is a steady demand for this type of housing. One developer that has been a step ahead in the student housing segment is Torre Lorenzo Development Corp. (TLDC).

Given the number of players in the real estate industry, TLDC made sure to focus on this specialized market — college students and their parents. “With so many seasoned and aggressive players in the industry, we had to understand what our unique selling proposition was: that we are a young and progressive property developer that seeks to ‘elevate lifestyle solutions today for tomorrow’s communities,’” said TLDC chief executive officer Tomas P. Lorenzo.

Colliers highlighted that student residences will always remain a viable investment, but developers must carefully assess the size of condominium units that students prefer and also the area’s potential for student population growth. “Given the proliferation of student-centered residential condo projects, developers must continuously differentiate,” Bondoc pointed out. Student high-rises should, therefore, offer something different to stand out in the market and be on the radar of both investors and end-users.“Look at developing lifestyle-oriented student residences and not just stand-alone buildings,” he further advised.

TLDC, for its part, has ensured its residents the convenience of proximity to their respective universities.
From its first university residence, Torre Lorenzo 1, at the corner of Pablo Ocampo Street and Taft Avenue, TLDC’s ever-growing portfolio now includes 2Torre Lorenzo and 3Torre Lorenzo, two more high-rises in the area of De La Salle University and DLS-College of Saint Benilde in Manila; Torre Lorenzo Malate, which is near University of the Philippines Manila and St. Paul University Manila as well as medical centers including Philippine General Hospital, Manila Doctors Hospital and Medical Center Manila; and Torre Central near UST.

“With every new university residence we make sure that we incorporate learnings from the previous and continuously innovate,” said Lorenzo. In addition, constant dialogue with both students and parents has helped the developer stay well ahead of the curve. As student residences continue to rise, developers should also and always keep in mind the fast-paced environment in this era and the changes that it continues to bring in terms of tastes and demands; to stay well-rounded, on top of the game, and to address the primary needs of the target demographics.

This article originally appeared in Philippine Daily Inquirer Property. Edits were made by the Lamudi.com.ph editor.

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