Overseas Filipinos fuel property sector boom
A Cause for Celebration – ‘Labor Day’ in the Philippines.
Today, in more than eighty countries, the contributions made by workers to their respective countries are being celebrated through Labor Day festivities.
The impact of Filipino overseas workers (OFWs) on the Philippines’ economy continues to fuel growth and create wealth and opportunities throughout the country.
The estimated ten million overseas Filipinos worldwide (11% of the total population), are referred to as ‘modern day heroes’ by both the Philippine government and their fellow countrymen. Remittances from OFWs today account for 13.5% of the country’s gross domestic product (US$18.3 billion – up 7% from January to November of last year) and is expected to reach $20 billion in 2012.
Of the ten million overseas Filipinos worldwide, an estimated 200,000 reside in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Daly City in San Mateo County is home to one of the largest Filipino communities in the Bay Area with an estimated Filipino population of over 32,000.
Filipinos work in varied lines of work including doctors, physical therapists, nurses, accountants, IT professionals, engineers, architects, entertainers, technicians, teachers, military servicemen, seafarers, students, caregivers, domestic helpers and fast wood workers. Filipinos in the Bay Area contribute significantly to a diverse range of industries in the U.S. while remittances from the area fuel a variety of sectors in the Philippines.
While most Filipinos leave the Philippines for better employment opportunities, for most, there is a strong desire throughout OFWs to return home later in life.
The opportunity to earn a higher wage abroad enables OFWs to provide their family members back home with a better lifestyle through a higher standard of living. As a result of this desire to improve their lives and those of their relatives, houses and condominiums are considered to be the most important investments OFWs can make in the Philippines.
In addition to how OFWs continue to provide better living conditions for their relatives back home, an increasing number of Filipino ‘baby boomers’ in the Bay Area are also looking to return to and retire in the Philippines in the next five to ten years. As a result, the real estate and property sectors in the Philippines are being driven by the investments being made from overseas Filipinos.
Property developers in the Philippines are increasingly reaching out to OFWs in the US. Trends in the domestic market today include the building of high quality, lifestyle driven developments designed to meet the needs of relatively affluent Filipinos.
Modern condominiums and homes built in the Philippines today cater to the different income brackets of OFWs. From the mid-cost segment to the luxury, high-rise residential condominiums and homes, new developments continue to rise above the Metro Manila skyline and surrounding cities.
These contemporary and impressive developments are re-shaping the once dormant skyline of Metro Manila.
This drive to create a glamorous and modern property sector in Manila is embodied by Paris Hilton’s endorsement ‘Azure Urban Resort Residences’, a luxury property developed by Century Properties. The company has also recently collaborated with The Trump Organization to bring the first Trump branded building – ‘Trump Tower Manila’, to the Philippines. The tower will be a 250-unit residential skyscraper and promises to be one of the country’s tallest buildings.
With the Philippines property boom not expected to slow down in the foreseeable future, foreigners are also attracted to investment opportunities in the country.
According to the Republic Act. No. 4726 (the Condominium Act) as long as no more than forty percent of the units in a project are acquired by foreigners, foreign nationals are today able to buy
condominium units in the Philippines. There is a wide choice of developers to choose from when considering investing in property in the Philippines. While industry heavyweights Ayala Land and Megaworld Corporation continue to build in prime locations across the country, relative newcomers are creating a more diversified and accessible property sector. Earth and Style, Greenfield Development Corporation and SMDC are successfully offering alternative opportunities to potential investors.
Developers are continually improving construction standards while remaining focused on offering quality, modern developments at appropriate price points. With the industry heading in the right direction and OFWs and foreigners continuing to make investments, interest in the property industry in the Philippines looks set to increase and further fuel the country’s growth.