• PH condos becoming more ‘family friendly’

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    Philippine condominium developers are adding more “family friendly” features to their projects to appeal to a wider market in the face of intense competition and slower uptake by the young professional segment, several experts said.

    Real estate property services firm Colliers International Philippines has several times during the past year noted a “mismatch” between what is being developed – mid- to high-end properties aimed largely at the young profes-sional market – and the greater part of existing demand, which is for economic housing catering mostly to families.

    Play areas like this one at SMDC’s Sea Residences near the Mall of Asia are becoming staple features of Philippine condominium projects, as developers increasingly try to attract families. SMDC PHOTO

    Julius Guevara, director for research and advisory at Colliers Philippines, in discussing the slower pace of new pro-ject launches earlier noted, “There has been a mismatch in terms of actual demand from the end-user market ver-sus what has been developed. That’s why we’re seeing such slowdown.”

    Demand among young professionals may be lower than anticipated because Filipino millennials are relatively con-servative with their spending. According to data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Nielsen surveys over the past two years, the rate of savings among people under age 30 is steadily increasing, and Filipino millenni-als save more of their income than their peers in most other countries.

    One reason for that, online property portal Lamudi Philippines and several developers noted, is that many millen-nials, even if they have good jobs, remain at home with their parents much longer than previous generations.

    Online property Zipmatch noted that while developers are facing a bigger challenge in appealing to the young pro-fessional market of singles or couples, the family market is evidently robust.

    For example, “Three-bedroom units in Makati CBD are enjoying full occupancy, while smaller units are taking more time to be rented out,” Zipmatch said, noting that Colliers had made the same observation in recent market re-ports.

    In those same reports, however, Colliers – as well as other property analysts such as Jones Lang Lasalle and Pinna-cle Real Estate – also stressed that developers “are cognizant of the situation,” as Colliers put it, managing the number of product launches and the features developments are offering to attract a wider market.

    Joven and Marie Castillo, a young married couple The Manila Times first spoke to back in December of last year, said that condominiums were appealing because they offered better amenities than the housing developments they were viewing.

    “We started looking at condos because all the houses were far from work and things to do,” Joven said. “We were just going to rent for a while, but we really want ‘a place of our own,’ so we started looking at condos. We have two incomes, so we can afford a little more, even though we don’t want to get carried away.”

    Marie added, “We weren’t sure, because we think we’ll start a family in a few years, and we wondered if we’ll have enough space. But so far, we’re seeing places that will be big enough if we have one or even two kids, and they have nice features for families, like play areas and swimming pools, so maybe we’ll find something we like.”

    Developer SMDC is among those embracing the “family friendly” market positioning for many of its projects.

    “Many people think that retirees and young people are better suited for condo living, but families can definitely enjoy the perks of high-rise living. Space is no longer a big concern as more condos adapt to the needs of a growing family,” SMDC said.

    “New developments are made to be more family-friendly. These properties have more bedrooms and amenities like swimming pools, playgrounds, gaming areas, and so on,” SMDC added.

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