Pag-IBIG Fund hit record highs in the first quarter of the year as the number of housing loan program and voluntary savings program recipients surpassed previous milestones despite the ongoing pandemic.
From January to April 2021, P27.39 billion worth of home loans were released to 27,041 members, while members’ savings reached P8.65 billion under the voluntary Modified Pag-IBIG 2 (MP2) Savings program. Out of the total amount, P2.2 billion were given as socialized home loans to 5,074 members in the minimum-wage and low-income sectors.
“Our home loan takeouts in December are the highest for a single month in Pag-IBIG Fund’s history. Because of it, we were able to finance the acquisition of 12,275 homes for our members in December alone, which is also a record-high. Amid the challenges, Pag IBIG has provided homes to more members during the pandemic, aiding in the government’s efforts led by President Duterte, to keep Filipino families safe at home,” Eduardo D. del Rosario, the Secretary of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), said.
Previously, the agency rolled out P12.11 billion worth of home loans in December 2020, the highest amount released in one month, while MP2 savings reached P13.3 billion, the highest amount saved in a single year at that point.
The boost in loan payments stands in stark contrast to the dwindling demand for consumer loans across the country, which decreased by 10.2 percent in April last year, according to a report by Rappler.
A promising outlook awaits
Acmad Rizaldy Moti, the Pag-IBIG Fund Chief Executive Officer, credits part of these impressive figures to savings brought on by the new normal. He explained that one way the agency saved on expenses was the lack of hotel rental and catering for its events due to community quarantine restrictions.
As a result, Pag-IBIG’s regular savings swelled by 13 percent to P9.1 billion in the first quarter of 2021 compared to P8.04 billion last year, as reported by The Manila Times.
“Looking at the bigger picture, the improvement in numbers does not only mean increased homeownership among Filipinos. It also means that Pag-IBIG Fund is able to take part in ensuring the safety of our members and their families, especially during this time of a pandemic. Rest assured that as 2021 unfolds, we will continue to be our members’ reliable partner as we all journey to full recovery,” the Chief Executive Officer added.
He further expressed confidence that the agency can sustain its strong performance for the remainder of 2021, especially in light of vaccine roll-outs and relaxed quarantine restrictions.
This prediction is supported by historical data from last year. Home loans released by Pag-IBIG Fund in January and February 2020 totaled P12 billion, but decreased to P1.2 billion in March as lockdowns began. When restrictions were lifted, loan releases rebounded to P1.2 billion in May and P2.9 billion in June, fully recovering towards the end of the third quarter.
Motivated property seekers drive demand for housing
Pag-IBIG Fund’s positive growth is in line with trends seen in a report by Lamudi in 2020 titled The Outlook by Lamudi: Eager property seekers, diligent brokers and developers raring for change. A survey conducted for the report revealed that a large part of property seekers were shopping for bank financing (60%), Pag-IBIG home loans (19%), or a combination of both (8%).
These figures are also in line with Lamudi’s observations of a revitalized housing market a year into the ongoing pandemic, as detailed in One Year Later: Are Property Seekers Buying Again? Over 50 percent of total leads this year were for properties for sale, which rose from the previously recorded figures in 2020.
Houses accumulated the most number of leads and pageviews, indicative of the demand for multi-purpose spaces, open spaces, and extra storage. A prior report titled Indicators of Growth: Where to Invest in 2021 further revealed that most property seekers were searching for fitness spaces, security features, and open leisure centers.
Despite vaccine roll-outs and easing of quarantine restrictions, Lamudi predicts that consumers will continue to adopt flexible work arrangements. These circumstances will ultimately lead to a renewed appetite for properties that support this kind of lifestyle and consequently, a new wave of property seekers in search of Pag-IBIG home loans.