Last Updated on January 12, 2023 by Lamudi
The pandemic was truly a game-changer for everyone. There is no denying that the real estate industry significantly changed how it operates. Real estate developers faced the challenge of adapting, but through it all, one thing remains unchanged: urban traffic.
During the panel discussion on Vertical Living: Where and Why at The Outlook 2022: Philippine Real Estate Conference, notable personalities in the vertical space shared how the condo market is beginning to bounce back, especially now that people are returning to offices. Further, it was mentioned that traffic remains a problem even with the country’s transition to hybrid work setups.
Rising Prominence of Vertical Living
According to Pete Felix, President and CEO of PHINMA Property Holdings Corporation, there has always been a preference for horizontal developments in the residential sector of the Philippines. However, he argued that “vertical living did not come about by accident, it came about as a result of affordability.” People shifted to vertical housing as property prices increased and areas began to commercialize more. The rise of new urbanism and 15-minute city concepts made the thrust for vertical living more apparent.
With the uncertainties that came with the pandemic, many went back to horizontal living due to work-from-home setups. But as soon as the vaccines started rolling out, Felix shared that many began to realize that “COVID is here to stay, and we are going to live with it, and we’re gonna have to learn to deal with the obstacles that it brings.”
Part of this is physically reporting back to work and battling the urban traffic. With this new realization, developers noticed an increase in condo sales and inquiries for co-living spaces near central business districts.
When asked about the future of vertical living in 2023 and 2024, Jogee Arellano, Chief Leasing Officer of Philippine Urban Living Solutions, Inc. (PULS), stated that they envision the revival of the market, specifically leasing and dormitory-wise. Arellano highlighted that there is a great demand for accommodation and housing.
To be more specific, people are looking for accommodations near commercial establishments, such as convenience stores and banks, allowing them to have almost everything they need in just one area. To address this demand, PULS’ rental housing communities under the MyTown brand were established in strategic places such as entrances and exits of central business districts, transportation hubs, and malls.
Everyone is Back on the Road
The recovery of the vertical market simultaneously entails that many are beginning to transition to hybrid setups. Thus, an increase in the volume of both people and vehicles in the city is likely. Consequently, this means that traffic conditions may worsen.
Arellano expressed that even if not everyone has fully returned to on-site reporting, the traffic in the metro already persists. He said, “We are hoping that people come back to work, people would come back to the offices. Traffic is not going to ease up when it’s hybrid.” Still, there are ways to escape the burden of traffic, one of which is through vertical living.
Felix shared that the old way of designing cities was urban sprawl, where you have residential and commercial areas. He added, “At 5 o’clock in the afternoon, we all go from the commercial areas back home and that causes all the urban decay that we have today, especially in our country where we lack transportation.” This old method of urban planning plays a huge role in why major roads are often congested during specific times of the day. Developers are now finding new ways to build more sustainable cities that can alleviate the challenges at hand.
The problem of traffic is inevitable as long as there is an influx of people and vehicles that go back and forth in CBDs, residential areas, and commercial spaces. Hence, there is no surprise about the desire to decongest. Despite this, the influx of people returning to work in CBDs is a good indicator for developers and owners of co-living spaces to revitalize the vertical market.
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