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The great outward migration of the house and lot by TR SalazarPublished: May 26, 2014Updated: December 2, 2014

Provinces are becoming preferred settling grounds for overseas Filipinos.

It’s still part of that great Filipino dream, the dream that sees someone having a beautiful/handsome spouse, a bunch of healthy kids, a decent-looking car, a high-paying job, wonderful in-laws, and a house one can call his or her own.

A house and lot is often considered the culmination of the struggling everyman’s missions for material success. It represents all the blood, sweat and tears invested over the years. Not just seen as one of the basic needs of man, the house and lot often symbolizes the very status of the family that lives there.

That is why, despite the meteoric rise of the demand for other forms of shelter such as condominiums and townhouses, the house and lot still reigns supreme as the symbol of family and financial stability. And if you ask property analysts and experts, it would still be wise for the new generation of Filipinos to continue regarding the house and lot as its own reward, for the advantages of owning one are numerous.

These advantages include the freedom of determining the dimensions of the area for building the house; the ownership of the property is not shared; and once the house and lot is fully paid for, the property is owned by the buyers forever (unless they sell it, of course). A house and lot is also considered a long-term investment which could be passed on to children, grandchildren, and so on.

The drawback to the house and lot is the prohibitive price it fetches in congested cities such as Metro Manila. It is for this reason, apart from the other practical considerations, that vertical communities (condominiums) have proliferated in these areas.

This development, however, can be considered a blessing in disguise for countryside communities. There has been a rapid urbanization in areas outside Metro Manila, fueled in part by the creation and improvement of roads and highways and the creation of economic zones. Provinces are becoming more accessible, and that means horizontal communities (subdivisions, townships) are ripe for developing.

Enrique M. Soriano III, Ateneo program director for real estate and senior adviser for Wong+Bernstein Business Advisory, shared that in the house and lot markets, the low-cost category has seen increased demand. The houses in this category range in price from P1 million to P3 million. In fact, he observed, this price range is most preferred by the potent overseas Filipino (OF) market.

Real estate consultant CB Richard Ellis Philippines confirmed that the middle- to lower-end market developments priced from P1 million to P3 million per unit have been steady in terms of new developments and take-ups. These developments are usually located in the areas outside of Metro Manila, and that these usually target the entry- to mid-level section of the market, especially first-time homeowners, startup families, and OFs.

Soriano stressed that while high-rise residential and commercial developments have mainly been concentrated in Metro Manila, the cities and municipalities south of Metro Manila have been the target of development for both residential and commercial real estate by the major real estate companies, too. “At least 3,000 housing units are being sold every month in Metro Manila’s peripheral provinces and cities as growth potential for these areas continue to soar over the past year. Among these cities with strong takeups and robust concentration of OF markets are Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Laguna, Rizal and Batangas,” he added.

CBRE Philippines concurred, saying that Laguna and Cavite, in particular, had showed consistently strong performances in low-cost house and lot sales.

Soriano said that the price range of an entry-level single-attached house and lot within Metro Manila but outside central business districts is from P1.5 million to P3 million. Mid- and high-priced houses range from P6 million to P25 million.

CBRE said that the price for the sale of house and lot in the primary market of Metro Manila is from P22 million to P28 million.

OFS AS AMONG BIGGEST CUSTOMERS
Soriano revealed that overseas Filipinos have become among the house and lot market’s biggest customers. “The next target market is the working class on the verge of retirement, followed by the affluent baby boomers (empty nesters) that will soon move out from the cities, purchase smaller lot cuts and retreat to the provinces,” he added.

Soriano enumerated the rest of the sectors, such as the young professionals, newlyweds, and families, to choose carefully between buying a condominium unit and a house and lot. That choice, he said, would be a “personal preference” and primarily dependent on the demographic profile (age, sex, occupation) and psychographic (lifestyle) makeup of the future homeowner.

However, he stressed: “Horizontal developers must do more than just deliver basic expectations. It must rethink its strategy and offer more community-based values, exceptional post-delivery services and with strong emphasis on the core product. Only then will it be able to connect to these elusive and picky homebuyers.”

HOUSE AND LOT CATEGORIES
Soriano listed down socialized housing, economic housing, low cost, mid and high-end or luxury markets as the categories used to refer to the different housing classifications.

The Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) has categorized housing units based on the selling price of the units.

Socialized housing has a price range of P300,000 or lower, a lot area of 30 sqm to 50 sqm, and a floor area of 18 sqm to 30 sqm.“ These are the lowest priced housing units in the category. Typically, the houses are row type with no amenities. The roads are narrow, and in many cases, there are no sidewalks,” Soriano described.

The low cost level 1 has a price range of P300,000 To P1,250,000. Lot areas range from 50 to 100 sqm, while floor areas are between 35 and 55 sqm.

“Houses are usually bare or box type with only one toilet and bath, and the home interiors are left for the buyer to improve. Sometimes the community would have a few amenities,” explained Soriano.

The low cost level 2 has a price range of P1,250,000 to P3,000,000. Its lot area ranges from 100 sqm to 150 sqm while the floor area 80 sqm to 120 sqm.

“The houses in this category are finished type with a minimum of 2 bedrooms. You will usually find a swimming pool or clubhouse as standard amenities for this type of community,” he said.

The medium cost range from P3,000,000 to P 4,000,000. Its lot area has a minimum of 100 sqm while its floor area has a minimum of 70 sqm.

“This type of project has improved amenities like a guard house, entrance gate perimeter fence, club house and play courts, plus the usual swimming pool. Houses are of much better quality than the previous categories,” said Soriano.

The open market has a price range of P 4,000,000 and above.

“This development is sometimes referred to as high-end. It has all the amenities. Buyers in this category are mostly educated, have money and know what they are buying. In many cases, the buyers are the ones who hire their own architects to design the house according to their preferences,” said Soriano.

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