AS business process outsourcing continues to thrive in the country, more and more Filipinos are entering the industry to earn a decent living and support their families, but the sad news is that most BPO workers can’t afford to buy a basic necessity of life: shelter.
At the 24th National Developers Convention of the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association on Monday, Colliers International Director for Research and Advisory Services Julius Guevara said only supervisors and managers in BPO companies can afford economic housing.
“For Metro Manila, only the supervisory and managerial position levels can afford economic and affordable housing both for condos and housing lot,”said Guevara.
However, since the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC ) has raised the price ceiling on economic housing to P1.7 million from P1.25 million, the bracket has been widened to accommodate larger portion of the market, Guevara noted.
“There are about 170,000 units that have remained unsold all over the Philippines, using the old segment for what is economic housing. Only 17 percent of the market could afford it, but because of the price increase about 31 percent could afford economic housing,” he said.
He emphasized that government financing agencies offer special borrowing rates for socialized and economic housing that are lower than the commercial interest rates, which would give BPO workers the opportunity to buy a house, Guevara noted.
The majority of BPO workers financially supports and still lives with their parents or family members, with 18 percent living with non-relatives and only 7 percent live on their own.
Guevara said there are still over 7,440 condominium units that are expected to be completed per year in the next five years in the major central business districts (CBDs) while around 170,000 units will be completed for the whole of Metro Manila.
This year, the remaining inventory of condominiums in Metro Manila is 81,949 units while there are only 256 remaining house and lot units, according to Colliers.
But Guevara noted that there are still opportunities for affordable housing outside the CBDs.
The occupancy levels of apartments outside the CBDs is over 90 percent, with rents for a room averaging P9,000 a month and bedspace at P3,500.
Developments that cater to the BPO industry, such as Megaworld’s Woodridge in McKinley Hill, was built to provide accommodations for BPO employees with the BPO company directly dealing with the contract.
Enterprising businessmen and small developers are now building apartments and dormitories at the fringes of the CBDs to offer better accommodations compared to the typical bedspace or dormitory or extra room in a house, Guevara said.