The rapid growth of property prices in the Greater Manila Area is attracting more developers and investors, gradually closing the window of opportunity to “buy more for less” for ordinary homebuyers, an analysis by MyProperty.ph and recent data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.
Data from the BSP’s Residential Real Estate Price Index (RREPI) showed that from the second quarter of last year, the growth in residential property prices in areas outside the National Capital Region (NCR) outpaced growth in the metro area. For the third and fourth quarters of 2016, prices for all types of real estate actually declined in NCR, by 0.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. In areas outside the NCR, by contrast, real estate prices grew by 4.9 percent and 1.7 percent in the same periods.
The growth of the RREPI in areas outside the NCR outweighed the decline in prices in the metro area in the fourth quarter, the BSP said, lifting the index on a nationwide basis by a modest 0.3 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2015.
The BSP data does not provide the RREPI for the entire year.
In an online analysis of prices between Metro Manila (NCR) and the Greater Manila Area (GMA) – the neighboring provinces of Tarlac, Pampanga and Bulacan in the north; Rizal in the east; and Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas in the south – MyProperty.ph said that location is probably the biggest factor in most homebuyers’ property searches, with buyers looking for convenience, safety, and stable or appreciating property values.
The property listing site also noted that many buyers perceive the NCR as being too crowded and expensive, which is helping to drive development in the wider GMA region, although the market for residential real estate is still evidently quite strong in the NCR in spite of the recent decline in prices. Prices for condominium units in the NCR, in fact, rose in each of the last two quarters, but were offset by nearly flat growth in the prices of townhouses, and sharp declines in the prices of single attached/detached houses and duplexes.
“Nevertheless, with prices being higher to begin with, residential properties in Metro Manila remain generally more expensive than those found in the GMA, which is why some buyers believe they get ‘more for less’ when purchasing in provinces that are not too far out from NCR,” MyProperty.ph said.
MyProperty.ph looked at some comparable properties inside and outside the NCR based on property specifications and budget, and found that it is possible to find “more for less,” provided buyers are willing to make some compromises on location.
In the first comparison, MyProperty.ph found that a specific property – a new, two-bedroom townhouse with a one-car garage (a 90- or 91-square meter house on a lot of between 114 and 120 square meters) costs about P5.6 million in Quezon City, but less than half that – P2.4 million – in Mabalacat, Pampanga, about an hour-and-a-half away from the city. In another example, MyProperty.ph found that a 35-square meter, one-bedroom condominium in Makati’s Legazpi Village has a selling price of P9 million, while a nearly identical unit in Cainta, Rizal costs just P2.6 million.
From a budget perspective, MyProperty.ph found that P5.2 million could purchase a 66-square meter, three-bedroom home in Alabang, while the same amount could purchase a four-bedroom house with 171 square meters of floor area in Calamba, Laguna.
Likewise, a budget of P3.9 million could purchase a 36-square meter, one-bedroom condominium in Taguig’s Bonifacio Global City, but a 48-square meter, two-bedroom condo in Tagaytay – “If distance will not be an issue,” MyProperty.ph added.
However, the online property finder clarified that the examples it found were not universal; rapid development in some areas is pushing prices faster than in others.
“Keep in mind that there are so-called Next Wave Cities, areas in the Philippines seen to have great potential due to their ability to sustain information technology and business process management (IT-BMP) companies. In last year’s list, half are in GMA: Santa Rosa, Laguna; Taytay, Rizal; Malolos, Bulacan; Dasmariñas, Cavite; and Lipa, Batangas,” MyProperty.ph explained. Property prices in some of these areas are already pushing higher than comparable properties in the NCR, MyProperty.ph found.
“One example is Ayala Land’s Nuvali, a well-reputed and highly developed township where prices continue to increase due to its constant growth. Located in a portion of the old Canlubang Sugar Estate that covers the cities of Calamba, Cabuyao and Santa Rosa in Laguna, a 248 sqm lot in Hillcrest Estates, one of Nuvali’s residential estates, costs almost P4.6 million. At a price of P18,548 per sqm, this lot costs slightly higher than a 239 sqm Las Piñas lot selling for P4.2 million or P17,573 per sqm,” it explained.
The property listing site also noted that some parts of Tagaytay are also commanding premium prices. In the upscale Tagaytay Highlands development, for example, a 56.73 sqm, one-bedroom, one bathroom condo costs P7.337 million, which is comparable to prices in many higher end developments in the NCR, despite being two hours or more from the metro area.