The Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) posted a 33 percent increase in the home loans issued in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2020. The amount totaled P20.94 billion, up by P5.17 billion from the P15.77 billion released in 2020, CNN Philippines reported.
The total number of loan releases in the first quarter of 2021 is 22 percent higher than the first quarter of 2019, which marked the agency’s “best year” in terms of home loan releases, amounting to P86.7 billion. With this, Pag-IBIG Fund is optimistic that they will sustain the momentum in the next quarters of the year.
The agency mentioned that the increase in home loan releases happened even before the re-implementation of stricter quarantine measures in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.
It was in September to December last year that the home loan releases reached pre-pandemic levels. December 2020 held the record of having the highest amount of loan releases in a single month, reaching P12 billion, funding the acquisition of 12,275 homes.
At Home Amid the Pandemic
According to the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, a total of 20,712 members benefited from the loans, securing homeownership. Of the number, 5,074 were minimum-wage and low-income borrowers, receiving P2.2 billion of socialized home loans.
Given the threats of the current health crisis, Secretary del Rosario emphasized the importance of securing homes amid the pandemic.
Currently, Pag-IBIG offices are operating with a skeleton workforce in areas with a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status. This includes NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) and the city of Santiago in Isabela.
Limited services will be available in their branches, including releasing of checks, payments, and Loyalty Card Plus availment. The agency encourages members to use Virtual Pag-IBIG for other transactions.
The government ordered a 30-day grace period for loans in areas placed under MECQ, including those under Pag-IBIG Fund, Rappler reported.
Property Seeker Demand
The positive development in the home loan market is likely a result of the renewed appetite for properties observed by real estate platform Lamudi as early as the second half of 2020. In its trend report series titled One Year Later, an analysis of how the market changed a year into the pandemic, the experts asserted that the enthusiasm for real estate investment recovered in the latter half of the pandemic year. Leads for properties for sale contributed 57 percent to the total leads, an increase from the 47 percent registered in the mentioned period in 2020.
Houses attracted the most number of pageviews and leads for the same period over any other property type. In January 2021, it remained the most popular in the market.
The Lamudi report added that this supports the demand trend towards open areas, multi-purpose spaces, and extra storage. In an earlier report titled Indicators of Growth: Where to Invest in 2021, swimming pools emerged as the most in-demand amenity last year, representing 17 percent of pageviews for the top 20 searched amenities. On the other hand, open spaces, including balconies and gardens, attracted 11 percent of pageviews.
The ability to renovate and extend living areas to include home offices and private study rooms for children may also contribute to the renewed interest in houses.
As the community quarantine measures ease, Lamudi expects the demand to improve further, especially with the renewed appreciation for properties amid the stay-at-home orders.
PH’s First Online Housing Fair
Understanding the market’s current needs, Lamudi, together with other partners, including Pag-IBIG, will be holding the first and biggest online housing fair in the country from May 3 to 31. Covering almost the entire month of May, the virtual event gives property seekers plenty of time to explore properties and take advantage of discounts.
Property developers joining the housing fair include RLC Residences, AboitizLand, Federal Land, Prime Homes, and Solar Resources Inc, among others.
Fair attendees can go to the webinars to know more about the home buying process. Pag-IBIG Fund, for one, will be discussing property lending programs.
The registration for the event is free, and automatically qualifies participants for the raffle draw.
Sources: CNN Philippines, Pag-IBIG Fund Facebook Page, Rappler