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In a city that’s quickly becoming more populated, is smaller the new normal in condo sizes?
It is no secret that Metro Manila is the most populous region in the Philippines, a sprawling megalopolis of over 12 million people. There is a high demand for residential space as a result of the continued population increase, causing the remaining developable space in the metro to dwindle, with the average size of condos shrinking along with it.
In an analysis of condo spaces conducted by Lamudi Philippines, it was revealed that 42 and 41 percent of for-sale and for-rent condos, respectively, have floor spaces of 50 sqm or smaller.
The analysis was ostensibly corroborated by the 2014 fourth quarter report of Colliers International. Out of the more than 30,000 preselling condo units expected to delivered in the Makati CBD, For Bonifacio, Rockwell Center, Ortigas Center, and Eastwood City from 2015 to 2018, 75 percent are studio and one-bedroom units, with unit sizes ranging from 18 to 90 sqm. Some developments outside these areas are even selling condo units no bigger than 15.5 sqm.
Colliers indicated that the rise of smaller properties is to seemingly cater to young urban professionals, as well as investors looking to diversify their portfolios.
Going smaller seemingly is the trend for Metro Manila’s condo market. According to Jose Romarx Salas, a real estate consultant and head of research at Pinnacle Consulting, a condo project with 200 units in just one tower was unheard of in as recent as the late 1990s.
“Now it has become the norm with some developers going as far as launching projects with 30 units per floor, or essentially 1,200 total units in a 40-story high rise.”
The new trend is quite prevalent in Metro Manila’s most populous and popular cities, with a significant percentage of the total condo units in each area being of the “shoebox” variety, as seen with Lamudi’s latest property inventory.
Despite what seemingly would be more affordable residential properties due to their smaller overall sizes, shoebox condos do not always turn out to be the money-saving alternative. When seen in the perspective of prices per square meter, small units are not that much cheaper than that of other residential real estate (see infographic).
While the metro still has its fair share of reasonably large condos, smaller units look to become the wave of the future, as it better caters to the increasing population. While the averages sizes supplied now only apply only to the percentage of the total condos in Metro Manila that are considered small units, it is foreseen to be the overall average in the immediate future.