The Philippines stands out among the world’s emerging markets, as the skyline of the country’s major central business district was found to be the most recognizable among global emerging markets, according to a survey by global property portal Lamudi.
Lamudi surveyed participants from developed countries, as well as countries in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.
The survey asked respondents to identify emerging market cities by their skylines.
Among the cities shown were Medellín in Colombia, Lima in Peru, Karachi in Pakistan, Colombo in Sri Lanka, and Makati in the Philippines.
Results of the survey showed that the Makati skyline was the most recognizable among Westerners, as about 58 percent of the respondents were able to identify it.
In contrast, Colombo was the least recognizable, with only 52 percent identifying the city.
Lamudi noted that 52 percent of the respondents were from the West, 27 percent from Asia, 12 percent from Africa and the Middle East, and nine percent from Latin America.
Lamudi emphasized that Westerners were easily able to identify the five cities, as each city was identified correctly by more than 50 percent of the respondents from the West.
“These results point to a growing consciousness of emerging markets in the West,” Lamudi said.
Lamudi co-founder Paul Philipp Hermann said he was not surprised by the results of the survey, as the skylines in emerging markets, according to him, are becoming more impressive.
“I’m not surprised by those numbers,” Hermann said. “I expect city skylines in the emerging markets to become almost as recognizable as those of New York, Sydney, and Berlin in coming years. Due to rapid urban development and the popularity of skyscrapers in the emerging markets, their city skylines are becoming more impressive and unique with time
Although the survey results seem to be positive for the country, industry analysts noted that the appearance of a city’s skyline is not just enough.
Renowned urban planner and architect Felino Palafox Jr. agrees that the Makati skyline can be the most recognizable among emerging countries.
But he pointed out that it is only in terms of appearance.
“Visually powerful [Makati], but from the urban planning viewpoint, there’s a big imbalance between the place of work and the place of residence,” Palafox stressed. “It’s a nice view, but it’s surrounded by gated low-density communities.”
Palafox cited that the daytime population of Makati’s central business district is 11 times more than its nighttime population because of the people who flock to Makati to work in the day.
“There are so many jobs in the Makati CBD, but the average employee is priced-out of the housing supply market, surrounded by the gated communities,” he lamented. “So it’s not really inclusive development. It’s exclusive.”
He noted that many of the people who work in Makati cannot really afford housing in the city.
He said Makati is unlike better-planned cities in the world, where affordable housing is available to workers where there is a concentration of jobs and economic activity.
“From a real estate point of view, it’s visually powerful,” Palafox said. “But in terms of good urban planning, it’s not how to do it. A city must not only be beautiful, it must also be efficient.”
Similarly, Jones Lang Lasalle Head of Research Claro Cordero Jr. agrees that Makati—or to a greater extent, Metro Manila—is among the most recognized emerging markets in the global property market, as it has shown resiliency even at the height of the 2008 global financial crisis.
According to Cordero, it is the stable yield rates amid the continuous growth of supply that are attracting foreign investors into the local property market.
He said this is driven by the solid demand from the off-shoring and outsourcing (O&O) sector.
Cordero the local property market still has a lot to improve on, even if it remains attractive to investors,.
“We still have a lot of improvements to do in terms of transparency in real estate transactions and governance in the industry,” he said. “Once we have improved in this aspect, we can certainly be in the radar of the investors.”