Real estate interest from overseas remained strong from the first half of 2019 through the first half of 2020 based on the latest trend report from Lamudi. This makes a significant impact on the property market, which has seen a slowdown in business transactions amid the pandemic.
The data from the real estate platform shows that the United States represented the most number of overseas pageviews on Lamudi in the period mentioned, registering 46.76 percent. Citing a finding from the Migration Policy Institute, the United States has the highest number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Among American states, California accounted for the most number of pageviews, posting 22.9 percent. Texas and New York followed, with 4.71 percent and 4.21 percent of pageviews, respectively.
Philippine properties have been popular in Florida (3.89 percent of pageviews), Illinois (3.29 percent), and Washington (3.14 percent) as well. Nevada and New Jersey had 2.54 percent and 2.51 percent, respectively.
The US is likewise the largest source of overseas inquiries. The figure even increased from 40.11 percent in the first half of 2019 to 40.66 percent in the first half of 2020. The slight uptick is significant given the health and economic crisis at present.
Strong Overseas Interest
Aside from the US, there are five more overseas locations that showed vigorous demand for Philippine real estate: the Middle East (Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh Province), Canada, England, Australia, and Japan.
In the first half of 2020, the Middle East, namely Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh Province, accounted for 17.78 percent of pageviews on Lamudi, a slight decrease from the 18.28 percent last year in the same period.
Canada, on the other hand, experienced an uptick from 12.05 percent in the first half of 2019 to 13.41 percent in the first half of the current year. England likewise climbed from 9.57 percent to 10.21 percent.
Meanwhile, Australia accounted for 9.02 percent of pageviews in the first half of 2020, a slight decline from 9.93 percent last year. Tokyo, in Japan, had 2.82 percent, marginally less than the 2.93 percent it showed in the first half of 2019.
As for the inquiries, the Middle East posted 25.42 percent in the first half of 2020, while Canada had 10.88 percent. England, Australia, and Japan accounted for 9.92, 8.96, and 4.15 percent of leads on the platform.
Triggers for Demand
In the Lamudi roundtable discussion held last September, industry experts mentioned a few factors that may be fueling the overseas real estate interest. For one, property purchases have become more accessible.
Due to the crisis, property developers have offered flexible term payments, as well as discounts. Pag-IBIG has introduced special low rates of 4.985 percent per annum under a 1-year repricing period and 5.375 percent per annum under a 3-year repricing period. These are the agency’s lowest rates in history under the Regular Housing Loan program.
The accessibility of property purchases goes beyond financial matters, as the real estate sector stepped up its efforts to make options and information widely available for seekers. Property developers have strengthened their online presence using different platforms to help the market in their buying journey.
Majority adopted virtual tours, exploring drone shots, videos and, 3D technologies to simulate property showings and open houses. Others set up online payment systems for safe and secure reservations.
Industry experts are confident that OFWs will contribute to the recovery of demand in the country’s real estate market. The improvement in remittances in the last months can complement the greater accessibility of property purchases.
In July, money sent from abroad rose to $3.085, climbing by 7.6 percent from the $2.867 billion last year, according to the data from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) mentioned in this Rappler report. This was the fastest growth since the 7.7 percent increase in October last year, and the highest since the $3.22 billion posted in December.
The BSP credited the surge to the 12.6 percent increase in remittances from land-based workers, amounting to $2.467 billion in July 2020 from $2.192 billion last year. These are employees who have work contracts of one year or more.
As the economy recovers from the pandemic, Colliers International Philippines projects a strong take-up of house and lot developments, especially those that offer open spaces, among OFW investors.