BPO workers driving housing demand in Bacolod, Iloilo

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A growing demand for worker accommodations in the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo is being driven by the growth of their respective outsourcing sectors, according to real estate services firm Colliers International.

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In separate reports released last week, Colliers International said there is a growing need for worker housing for BPO employees in Bacolod City and Iloilo City.

The two cities are recognized as centers of excellence for IT-BPM (information technology and business process management) by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

“Over the near to medium term, Colliers sees the Bacolod City residential market being driven by the demand for worker-accommodation facilities,” Colliers said.

At present, Bacolod’s BPO sector employs about 24,000 full-time employees, and this is expected to rise to 60,000 by 2022, according to the IT Council and the Bacolod City government.

The real estate services firm cited data from the Bacolod-Negros IT Council that show that 59 percent of BPO workers are from Bacolod City, while 31 percent live within Negros Occidental and 10 percent reside outside of Negros Occidental.

“This means that four out of every 10 BPO workers in Bacolod City need to rent or stay in a worker-accommodation facility located in city’s business districts,” the report said.

Affordability issue
Similarly, a need for worker housing is also seen in Iloilo, as affordability of residential properties is becoming a key issue for BPO employees.

“Colliers sees the demand for worker-accommodation facilities in the city growing significantly due to the increasing number of BPO employees from Iloilo and its environs.

The report noted that the Iloilo residential market is mainly dominated by mid-income condominium and affordable projects.

“Entry-level BPO employees can’t afford to stay in high-end apartments and condominium units near their places of work,” Colliers said.

Among the factors that have constricted the hiring of more employees in the city is the lack of accessible and affordable housing near the city’s office buildings,” according to the report.

“Rental rates in rooms and boarding houses in subdivisions are cheaper but these are quite far from the BPO offices,” Colliers concluded.

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