AMID the crisis that has plagued the Philippines at the start of 2020, there have been drastic changes week-on-week in the residential segment, according to data provided by Lamudi Philippines covering January to the first half of June 2020.

Properties in central business districts continue to be sought after mainly because property seekers prefer residences close to their places of work. Shown here is Serendra in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.

The pivotal period for the residential sector started when the enhanced community

quarantine (ECQ) was imposed on March 16 to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). From here, each property type saw sharp highs and lows until the shift to the modified ECQ (MECQ).

Following the sharp week-on-week decrease in interest and inquiries, the market bounced back around the implementation of MECQ on May 16.

With Metro Manila reverting to general community quarantine (GCQ), along with the adjacent provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, and Laguna, Lamudi aims to provide a snapshot of what has happened thus far, and how community quarantine impacted the residential market.

The residential segment’s response

Lamudi’s initial trend report surveying property seekers, real estate brokers, and property developers showed a renewed interest in house and lot properties after the ECQ has been implemented.

Condominiums had a strong start in 2020, owing in part to the interest in property investment carried over from the previous year. However, due to the pandemic, condominiums recorded an average week-on-week lead growth rate of -3 percent in the first half of 2020. Though condominiums showed a drastic decrease in leads at the start of the ECQ, there was retained interest in the property type.

Houses, which showed a strong performance during the ECQ, posted a 2-percent average week-on-week growth for the first half of 2020. Foreclosed properties also showed resilience amid the pandemic, ending at an average lead growth rate 1 percent higher than houses.

During the ECQ, affordability was a major consideration for property seekers, which is affirmed by a 37-percent increase in leads on Lamudi gained by foreclosures.

Prior to the ECQ, properties for sale received somewhere around 63 to 66 percent of pageviews on Lamudi, but properties for rent, despite having fewer listings on the platform, received more inquiries at around 53 to 63 percent.

During the ECQ, interest in buying property rose to 68 to 74 percent and property seekers contributed to almost 56 percent of inquiries on the platform during the ECQ. This shows that property seekers have an intention to buy, but followed through with rental inquiries.

In terms of location, most of the leads were looking for a property to buy or rent in central business districts (CBDs). Most leads are from Quezon City (26 percent), followed by Makati (12 percent), Pasig (10 percent), and Taguig (9 percent). These aforementioned cities have CBDs, and properties here show long-term resilience.

With public transportation suspended or on limited operations, property seekers may have sought residences near their workplaces, especially those classified as essential workers and are at higher risk to Covid-19.

Property seekers prioritize amenities

For the first half of 2020, property seekers considered their leisure and quality of life when looking at property listings on Lamudi.

Since the ECQ was implemented during the summer months, properties with either a common swimming pool or air conditioning were popular. Meanwhile, having a stable internet connection has also become a necessity as virtual events and work-from-home setups became the new normal.

Property seekers also prefer residences with balconies and common gym areas. Balconies serve as an area for activities, while common gyms are alternatives to the commercial gyms that have closed down during the ECQ.

In the light of these developments, the second half of 2020 may show new trends in real estate demand and preferences from property seekers who have to adapt to the rules set in place during changing community quarantines on a more long-term basis.