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Updated: December 11, 2014

Are people really moving out of the metro?

More real estate developments are setting up outside the NCR, but is the average Filipino worker really willing to move outside the metro?

Drive the whole stretch of EDSA and you are bound to notice something different in the advertisements plastered on buses and on billboards. “Your home in Laguna,” or “Your home in Bulacan,” seems like a common catchphrase of real estate advertisements these past few months. Gone are the advertisements promoting residential units within CBDs (central business districts) as well.

It seems developers have shifted their gaze away from congested Metro Manila and its CBDs, and have set their sights in locations bordering the Metro. With land in Metro Manila becoming sparse after the developing boom in the past few years, it’s only natural to build their projects elsewhere.

Property analysts KMC Mag Group said in a briefing last week that developers creating business hotspots outside the capital are becoming more visible. Outside Metro Manila, mixed communities and townships are coming into fruition. For one, Ayala’s presence is becoming more visible in Central Luzon, as the property giant recently made announcements of Alviera, their new large-scale venture in Pampanga. Aside from Pamapanga, Ayala also has Altaraza, located in Bulacan. Meanwhile, in South Luzon, particularly in Laguna, Megaworld continues their rapid development of Southwoods City. Eton City, from Eton Properties Philippines is another township rising in Sta. Rosa.

Aside from these townships, separate residential development projects near the capital or special economic zones and techno parks outside the capital are being built and improved as well. Developers Empire East, Ayala Land Inc., and ProFriends, have residential projects located in South Luzon, particularly in Laguna and Cavite. Meanwhile, Fiesta Communities, and Hausland Development Corporation have residential projects in Angeles City, Pampanga.

For KMC Mag Group, the decongestion of the capital is important in sustaining the robust growth of the Philippine economy. Yet the poor infrastructure (or sometimes lack thereof) that connects these new urban hotspots to Metro Manila is a hinder to their growth. Manufacturing and industrial sectors outside the capital may be growing but are still having a hard time transporting their raw materials and goods. Also, some tourist destinations are not as attractive as others because of the hassle of travelling to these locations. To decongest Manila, roads and infrastructure must be improved.

This statement is also especially true for residential projects outside Metro Manila. To make citizens move outside of the capital, roads must be improved.

Filipinos are still bent on finding properties located within walking distance of CBDs. Myproperty.ph’s statistics show that Makati, Mandaluyong and Quezon City are still the most popular locations for those looking at potential homes. And though Cavite and Laguna are slowly following suit, relatively few searches are made in locations outside Metro Manila.

This goes to show that despite the abundance of homes in these locations, distance from work is a dealmaker or deal breaker in selling these properties successfully. Even if the property is a few kilometers away from the capital, the average working Filipino facing “Carmageddon” traffic on a daily basis knows that “15 minutes away from Manila” actually means “An hour and forty-five minutes away.”

Improving infrastructure will create a domino effect that will no doubt, greatly increase the output of the country. Better integration leading to faster growth of urban areas, may not only decongest Metro Manila but may also make living outside Metro Manila a more appealing choice. It is, as KMC Mac Group says, up to the government to take action and push for better roads and infrastructure to keep up with the times.

Photo from Benson Kua/Flickr Creative Commons

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