The gap between an average worker’s salary and the price of properties in the major central business districts is driving demand for bedspace, according to a property listing portal.
Bedspace provides the average Filipino worker, employed in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, a cheaper alternative place of dwelling, Lamudi Philippines Managing Director Jacqueline van den Ende told the Manila Times in a recent interview.
“People need to live closer to work. At the same time, it’s also about the affordability gap. You’re average call center worker who works in Makati, BGC, Ortigas, cannot afford to buy or even rent a condo in those places,” Van den Ende said.
Employees who received the lower end of the salary range under P20,000 find it quite difficult to rent an apartment.
The bedspace is the “next best option” for BPO workers who prefer to live near the place of work, she said.
The country’s Information Technology- Business Process Management(IT-BPM) industry is expected to further grow this year and yield more employment.
Data from the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) projected $25 billion in revenue and 1.3 million in direct employment this year, prompting developers to take a closer look at a potential market.
“It’s definitely an opportunity. We see a lot of serious developers actually looking into that space,” Van den Ende said.
Colliers International director for research and advisory Julius Guevara echoed Van den Ende’s sentiments.
“Yes, especially for workforce housing. BPO workers . . . usually live in the fringe areas and their cost for commuting is very high. So it’s almost equivalent to the rent. So rather than commuting all the way, spending two hours on their way to their homes, they would now choose to live in affordable housing. But it is of high-quality . . . parang mga condo standard,” Guevara said.
“Actually what we’re seeing right now would be worker housing, which is for rent—especially in the fringes. So that is a need that is found not only in Metro Manila but in all cities where you find BPO,” Guevara said.
A developer that is quite interested in the trending demand for bedspace is Anchor Land Holdings Inc., with its recently announced plans to cater to the mobile employees and students by building an urban dwelling project.
Another is local dormitory builder My Town, which estimated a bedspace inventory of 6,000 by 2018.