Construction materials were generally sold at lower retail prices in February compared with last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Monday.
The PSA’s Construction Materials Retail Price Index (CMRPI) in the National Capital Region edged 0.4 percent lower in February, swinging from a 1.5-percent gain in the same month last year.
This was driven by the decline in the index of miscellaneous construction materials, which fell 5.3-percent lower from year-ago levels.
Other indices also registered declines. Tinsmithry fell 1.5 percent; masonry materials, down1.3 percent; and plumbing materials, minus 0.9 percent.
“The annual increment in painting materials and related compounds index slowed down to 0.9 percent, while that for carpentry materials index remained at 0.8 percent,” the PSA said. “The electrical materials index posted a flat growth.
Meanwhile, on a monthly basis, CMRPI in NCR registered a flat growth at zero percent.
In January, the index recorded a 0.5-percent decrease.
This was driven by some indices posting zero percent growth during the month.
These were the electrical materials, and painting materials and related compounds indices.
The indices of masonry materials, plumbing materials, and tinsmithry materials edged higher.
“Prices of hollow blocks, paints, faucets, and corrugated G.I. sheets were higher during the month,” the PSA added. “Lower prices were, however, noted in common wire nails, cement, and steel bars.”
Julius Guevara, Colliers International’s director for research and advisory in the Philippines, said the decline in construction material prices is a good thing for developers.
“It’s a good thing because it makes it more affordable. The developers don’t have to increase their prices that much, so the buyers could afford it,” Guevara said.
Cushman and Wakefield Philippines manager of research and consultancy Janlo de los Reyes had the same opinion.
De los Reyes said the declining prices of construction materials would allow more people to construct houses.
“I think it is also good for the real estate industry because it will be more affordable to construct buildings even for individuals who want houses,” he said.
De los Reyes noted that the low oil prices could be one factor driving the decline in prices.
“I think it is the lower oil prices because it will be easier to transport these materials,” he said. “Low oil prices will be one factor, but I don’t think it will be the sole determinant for it. I think that’s one thing.”
Moreover, Guevara noted that the slowdown in China could be a driving factor for the decline in prices.
“I think it’s really a result of the slowdown in China, and we’ve been seeing that in the past few years,” he said. “We’re benefiting from it. Hopefully that situation would continue so that it could support our local market.”