Vertical Communities in the Philippines: Current Scenario and Future Directions

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Do the Filipinos, known as somewhat in between traditional and receptive people, fancy the vertical living set up?

For a typical worker with office based in Metro Manila, the crammed streets, overloaded buses and trains, and crowded malls are all but ordinary sights. On weekdays, Makati City, also known as the city in the Philippines with the highest daytime population, accommodates 10 times its population at night. The same thing happens to other cities like Manila and Quezon.

Because most of the work opportunities are found in these key cities, people who do not have homes in these CBD areas travel to and from their workplace every single day, enduring the traffic and public transportation issues of the country. Some can bear the trouble of traveling for two hours or more just to be home with their families, others simply can’t.

This resulted in high demand for residential spaces, but the scarcity on available land property seemed impossible to address until the introduction of vertical communities. These vertical communities are the answer to the lifestyle change the Filipinos need.

The Value of Vertical Living

Condominium living is a vertical living set up and it gives dwellers more than just a roof above their heads. They provide the urban holistic lifestyle one deserves. More than a room to stay in, they come with complete amenities for entertainment and recreation. These mixed-use type of township with integrated amenities that varies per market’s need makes condo living more exciting. Each condominium develops their unique offerings based on their people’s needs and interests. Some have unique rooms such as a library or a music room for properties located near schools. Others have gyms, dance rooms, infinity pools, game rooms, spas, and mini-theaters for additional relaxation.

Convenience is another selling factor for these vertical communities. Oftentimes, the property has a commercial area of its own. Convenience stores, restaurants, laundry shops, and almost everything else is within your reach. The location of these properties also provides accessibility, as they are strategically placed in prime areas near workplaces, near locations that are frequently visited and of course, have easy access to transportation.

More than its original purpose of providing space for the tenants, these properties have become a vacation spot on their own. Staycations, or staying inside one’s property on a holiday, is another person or bonding activity that millennials and families enjoy.

The condominium’s 24/7 security and emergency-ready facilities, which further make the investment worth it, should also not be forgotten.

The Present State

Real estate developers started to bring this change of landscape to the areas outside Metro Manila, most specifically to those areas with high tourism value such as Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Bohol. Vertical communities have also reached up-and-coming business districts like Batangas, Laguna, and Cavite.

Millennials, which comprise the biggest chunk of today’s working population in the Philippines, are said to be leaning towards acquiring a smaller space near their workplace. More feasible payment terms compared to those houses with lots also contribute to the selling proposition.

What the Future Entails

According to a 2nd Quarter Report by real estate consulting services firm Colliers International, it will be a long while before the Philippines’ vertical communities bubble burst. This year’s vacancy rate has lowered while the decline in rent was finally arrested.

Colliers said that as of the first half of 2018, 30,000 units have been taken up in the preselling sector, and the figure is expected to go over 60,000 units within the year.

According to the same report, occupancy in residential condominiums across Metro Manila significantly improved in the second quarter, with Colliers attributing this to the leasing power of foreign and local professionals, as well as Chinese investors and workers working in offshore gaming companies.

Colliers sees the warmer relations between the Philippines and China as the reason behind the increase in residential condominium demand. This leads to another prediction by the firm that if this trend continuous, the Philippines will observe more inquiries from firms and businessmen based in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Japan.

If the developers’ schedule is followed, Metro Manila is expected to have 142,000 units in 2021, which is 33% higher than the units produced in 2017. About 8,600 units are expected to be completed each year from 2019 to 2021.

The firm feels positive about these residential condominiums data and even encourages high-end developers to produce more projects in the Manila Bay Area. In this area, more office constructions are being built, thus a high demand for residential properties is again expected.

Colliers also encourages real estate developers to start operating in Cebu, Pampanga, and Laguna, where the offshore business game is predicted to rise next. 

Vertical living seems like the silver lining to this space problem and lifestyle woes Filipinos are experiencing. Since vertical communities are the real estate developers answer to address these concerns, the challenge now is how these properties will bring these communities to a whole new level in order for them to stand out.

Sources: Make It Makati, Manila Bulletin, Colliers, Telegraph, Rappler, Businessworld

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