Indicators of Growth: Where to Invest in 2021

posted March 30, 2021 at 03:50 pm
The year 2020 had caused a shift in lifestyle for homeowners and homebuyers everywhere and with it property seeker preferences. Previous trend reports revealed a shift towards fringe cities and other booming regions south of the metro, while faster-growing pageviews for properties such as land and houses indicated an increasing preference for listings with larger floor areas. As the home becomes the place where individuals spend most of their time in and do various activities in their daily lives, choosing the ideal property has grown all the more important.

Property seekers can maximize their investments through awareness of trends--whether they be a homebuyer determining the right property for their lifestyle, or an investor seeking to understand the market and leverage the listing’s rentability. This report aims to assess real estate market preferences in 2021 as industries recover from the pandemic, and identify which segments boomed or softened amid the crisis.

Profile of Property Seekers in 2020

Land and foreclosures most attractive property types for older property seekers.

Demand for houses continued to grow in the second half of 2020, as it increased by 62 percent from 2H2019. As of January 2021, houses were still the most popular property type, contributing 48 percent of all pageviews for that month and attracting the most pageviews from each age bracket. Given this, the property type is expected to continue posting positive growth throughout the year. Land experienced the greatest uptick in interest from property seekers, attracting the highest year-on-year growth in pageviews from 2H2019 at 63 percent. It was the property type that attracted the most property seekers aged 65 and up. While foreclosures contribute a small share of total pageviews, it is one of the fastest growing property types, having increased by 23 percent from 2H2019 to 2H2020. Out of all the property types, foreclosures activated the most interest from the 55 – 64 seeker age group.

The youngest age group of property seekers (18-24) and the oldest group of property seekers (65 and over) exhibited the highest growth in pageviews in 2H2020, increasing by 75 percent and 65 percent respectively. Despite contributing the lowest percent change in pageviews in the latter half of last year, the age bracket of 35-44 shared the largest number of pageviews in 2H2020. Brokers and sellers are encouraged to retain engagement with older property seekers, highlighting investment in homes to pass on to the younger generation as well as the need for smart homes to accommodate the growing bandwidth demand for students and young professionals.

High-end property seekers are considering various luxury options.

Leads for properties across all price ranges increased in the second half of 2020, signifying a stronger conversion from views on listings posted on Lamudi and a more aggressive demand from property seekers. In January 2021, low-cost housing was the most attractive price point to potential buyers as the 1.5M to 3M price range contributed the highest share of leads (17%) for that month.

Properties priced between 9M and 12M experienced the highest growth in both pageviews and leads, with the former increasing by 50 percent and the latter by 89 percent in 2H2020 compared to 2H2019. Growth in pageviews for properties priced between 12M and 20M surpassed the growth of leads for that price range, which may indicate that homebuyers are adopting a “wait-and-see” approach for listings within that range. Leads within the 12M to 20M price range received a slightly lower share of leads in January 2021 compared to its performance for the whole 2020, while the high-end 6M to 9M range increased its lead share this January. This may indicate that buyers within the upscale price segments may be adjusting budgets or considering other price segments for their investments.

Property Preferences by Location and Price Range

Central Business Districts showed gradual gains as cities recovered from a softened demand.

In Lamudi’s COVID Report published last year, high-end cities in metropolitan centers weakened as cities such as Makati and Muntinlupa experienced a decrease in lead share in the onset of the pandemic.  Leads for these cities decreased at a lower year-on-year rate in 2H2020 compared to 1H2020, pointing at a gradual improvement but an improvement nonetheless. Leads for Muntinlupa increased by 4% in January 2021 compared to the year before. Though leads for Makati in that same period decreased, it still contributed the second largest share of leads in January 2021 at 23 percent. In addition to having a bustling commercial center, Makati hosts a concentration of green pockets amid walkable neighborhoods such as Legaspi Village, Salcedo Village, and Poblacion—a feature growing in demand from property seekers.

Pasig and Quezon City also posted impressive growth figures, with the former increasing by 21 percent and the latter by 26 percent in the second half of last year. Quezon City continued to attract the most number of pageviews among cities with CBDs, possibly driven by its proximity to a large employee base from the universities in the area as well as its access to industrial spaces in provincial cities up north.

Properties priced 6M and above in CBDs continued to attract demand. Listings in CBDs priced above 20M experienced the biggest growth in pageviews in 2H2020, increasing by 31 percent. In January 2021, listings within that price range contributed the largest share of pageviews for cities with CBDs at 31 percent.

Luxury rental properties in CBDs also exhibited the most growth in 2H2020 with pageviews for listings priced between 500K and 1M increasing by 162 percent from the same period the year before, and properties priced above 1M rising by 205 percent. Given the positive trend, Lamudi sees demand for prime properties in CBDs for rent and for sale continuing to grow in 2Q2021.

Good governance factored into demand for fringe cities.

Cities located within the fringes of the metro continued to rise in popularity in 2H2020. Pateros - which holds the smallest share of pageviews for fringe cities - attracted the largest growth in both pageviews and leads in the second half of last year compared to the first. Pageviews for Pateros rose by 69 percent, while leads increased by an impressive 149 percent. Situated between Taguig and Pasig, the city is a convenient choice for yuppies looking to live near their offices in CBDs while enjoying lower prices per square meter.

Next to Pateros, Caloocan exhibited the highest growth in leads for that period. The city is on track to becoming the most significant driver of leads for fringe cities in 2021, with Caloocan contributing the greatest share of leads in January 2021 at 52%.

Developers and brokers are encouraged to watch out for vacant commercial and residential space in these areas. Marikina contributed 43 percent of all pageviews for the fringe cities assessed, owning the largest share of pageviews for the location group in 2020.  Valenzuela, which saw a 65 percent surge in leads and a 58 percent increase in pageviews, earned the second highest. Valenzuela’s city government was quick to respond to its constituents’ needs in the onset of the pandemic, distributing around 110,000 food packs as early as March 23rd– only a few days after the first announcement of a lockdown.

Pageviews for all listings in fringe cities priced above 450K increased in the second half of last year, with properties costing between 9M to 12M experiencing the highest growth in pageviews for that period at 119 percent.

Mid-cost housing was most popular, with properties priced between 3M - 4.5M attracting the biggest share of pageviews in fringe cities at 23 percent.

With pageviews for high-end housing posting gains last year and as take-up in the nearby CBDs increases, Lamudi sees cities within the fringes of Metro Manila as excellent investment areas to watch out for in the months to come.

The assessed fringe cities started the year with higher annual figures for January 2021, with total pageviews increasing by 21% from January 2020.

Rental market in leisure destinations boomed amid pandemic.

With more consumers spending most of their time at home throughout 2020, more property seekers were considering homes close to nature. Homes by the beach grew in popularity last year, with Batangas Province earning the highest growth in leads among the identified leisure destinations at 143 percent in 2H2020 compared to the same period the year before.

Batangas Province also contributed the largest share of pageviews among the leisure destinations assessed in the second half of the year, owning 38 percent of all pageviews for that period.

Lapu-lapu City in Cebu, home to a number of resort-style residential developments, amassed 30 percent more leads and 12 percent more pageviews in 2H2020 from 2H2019. Antipolo posted positive demand figures in the latter half of 2020, with leads increasing by 88 percent and pageviews rising by 86 percent from 2H2019.

Tagaytay also experienced a growth in pageviews in 2H2020, having increased by 27 percent from 2H2019.  The city is on track to leading demand in 2021. Tagaytay contributed the highest share of leads among the assessed leisure destinations in January 2021 at 37%. The proximity of Antipolo to the metro makes it an ideal destination for homeowners who wish to live close to nature without compromising a short commute to the office, while Tagaytay continues to be an ideal vacation home or rental property for quick out-of-town trips.

The vacation rental property market appears to have recovered in the second half of 2020. Rental properties for listings in Antipolo, Lapu-lapu and Tagaytay attracted more inquiries from property seekers in 2H2020, with leads for listings priced between 30K-60K increasing by 550% from 2H2019 and leads for listings priced between 60K-100K growing by 398% from 2H2019. So far, rental properties priced within the 5K to 15K range attracted the most leads in January 2021.

The buy market also increased significantly, with properties for sale in Antipolo, Lapu-lapu and Tagaytay all attracting significant increases in leads from 2H2019 to 2H2020. Mid-cost listings or those within the 3M to 4.5M range attracted the most leads in January 2021, pointing to a trend towards the affordable to mid-range segment.

Leads for economic housing for sale in Batangas Province experienced the largest uptick among price ranges in the area at 747%, while leads for budget rental properties priced between 5K-30K experienced the most growth from 2H2020. The preference for affordable properties is sustained in 2021 so far, as rent leads for the month of January were most prevalent in the 5K to 30K range while properties priced 450K to 1.5M contributed the most leads for purchase listings.

Opportunities for luxury real estate outside NCR abounds.

Cebu City received over half of the total pageviews for major cities outside National Capital Region (NCR), contributing 54 percent of all pageviews of the cities assessed in 2H2020. The city is seen to continue leading demand in cities outside Metro Manila, contributing 58% of pageviews in January 2021 - the largest amount by a wide margin in. This is followed by Davao City, which composed 24 percent of all pageviews in January this year. The real estate market in these cities are seen to grow as the big-ticket infrastructure projects being developed there near completion.

Notable projects include the Davao City Coastal Bypass Road and the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway. It is worth noting that Cebu City and Davao City attract significant numbers of pageviews from foreign cities. Melbourne is Cebu City’s largest source of overseas pageviews, ranking sixth in its top sources of pageviews overall. For Davao City, a huge interest comes from Dubai, its top source of overseas pageviews and fifth largest source of pageviews overall.

Cagayan de Oro and General Santos experienced the biggest increase in pageviews in 2H2020, with General Santos attracting 53 percent more pageviews than it did in 2H2019 and Cagayan de Oro attracting 54 percent more. Both cities have boasted strong industry growth in agri-business and logistics. Cagayan de Oro’s strong performance persisted to 2021, with pageviews for the city increasing by 26% year-on-year in January 2021.

General Santos had a slow start to the year, posting fewer leads than it did the year before. The weakened appetite from potential buyers for that period may in part be influenced by external factors such as the Intensity Level V earthquake felt in the city mid-January as well as price increases of commodities in local markets.

Iloilo City had the most stable year-on-year growth figures over the last two years, consistently receiving more pageviews. It was recognized for its urban beautification projects and was awarded the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Award in January 2020.

As mobility, quality of life, and the local economy in these cities further improve, the demand for diverse and sustainable housing offerings will likewise grow.

Pageviews for properties outside Metro Manila were concentrated in properties priced at 12M and up, with listings with the 12M - 20M price range contributing 15 percent of pageviews, and listings above 20M owning the largest share of pageviews at 24 percent. In the second half of last year, properties priced between 12M to 20M experienced the biggest growth from 2H2019 at 74%. 

Developers are encouraged to tap into luxury markets outside the National Capital Region, as the middle class in these cities expand and increase their buying power.

Popular amenities in 2021

With major cities such as Davao City and Metro Manila remaining under General Community Quarantine and arrangements for the vaccine rollout in the country still being discussed and confirmed, Lamudi sees consumers continuing to adopt flexible work arrangements and spending a bulk of their day-to-day activities from home. Cities in the country are witnessing the emergence of new virtual services such as cloud kitchens and same-day logistics applications to support the change in lifestyle. With the introduction of new technologies and openness to disruptive tech growing, Lamudi sees consumer preferences likewise adapting to the changes in the environment.

Open areas and multi-purpose spaces are growing in demand.

Property seekers prioritized spaces for fitness such as a swimming pool, which was the top sought-after amenity in 2020 at 17 percent of pageviews for the top 20 searched amenities. Gyms were the fifth most-searched amenity in 2020. The same held true for January 2021, pointing towards continued prioritized demand for these amenities this year.

Having open spaces such as balconies and gardens composed around 11 percent of all pageviews in 2020. With more consumers showing a preference towards safe and open areas, brokers and developers are encouraged to equip their projects with value-adding amenities such as open leisure and active centers, complemented by features such as contactless elevator buttons, automatic doors, and other precautions to minimize contact.

These open areas contributed as many leads in January 2021, having ended the month attracting 11% of all amenity leads.

Homebuyers are putting a premium on safe and secure homes.

Whereas having a wireless internet connection attracted as many pageviews as security-related features in 2020, leads for the latter outweighed the former in 2021. Developers are encouraged to have basic security features such as an attentive 24-hour security staff as well as CCTVs in less exposed areas such as parking lots.

Having digital security solutions such as app-controlled amenities and visitor screening systems in place would be an attractive addition to the majority of property seekers.

With more potential buyers belonging to the digitally savvy Generation Z entering the real estate market, intelligent homes with built-in high speed connection and home automation features are seen to grow increasingly desirable. Developers are encouraged to have the proper digital infrastructure in place as demand increases.

Market insights on different Property Segments

The pandemic has left a number of real estate property segments thriving, and others focused on recovery. The report indicates key growth areas aimed at helping investors, brokers, sellers, and developers identify points of strength in their property portfolio – be it their property location or main prospect base - so that they may maximize the opportunities presented to them.

To summarize the insights discussed, here are a few important takeaways:

  1. More homebuyers are seeking larger spaces, open areas, and security amenities. With trends pointing in this direction, owning a house with private amenities is becoming increasingly attractive.
  2. Luxury residential properties in cities with CBDs are seen to sustain a growth in demand and will continue to be a key investment area for both buy and rent markets.
  3. Land and foreclosures were the most popular property type for more mature property seekers. Brokers and sellers are encouraged to focus on engagement with these consumer markets and leverage their purchasing power.
  4. Cities within the fringes of the metro have consistently attracted more demand; Pateros in particular posted impressive growth figures and may entice more property seekers to the city as fresh graduates and young professionals seek affordable alternatives to CBDs. Fringe cities are made more attractive by the good governance and improving quality of life.
  5. Property seekers crave proximity to nature, as shown in growing demand for listings in leisure destinations such as Antipolo, Batangas Province, Lapu-lapu, and Tagaytay. With leads for upscale properties generally receiving more interest, sellers are encouraged to maximize consumer appetite and highlight vacation homes as well as short-term and long-term vacation rental properties in their portfolio.
  6. A growing expat base, interest from audiences overseas, and the anticipated completion of big-ticket infrastructure projects will improve accessibility of key cities outside NCR such as Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro, Davao City, General Santos City and Iloilo. As their local economies continue to progress and various real estate offerings will become more accessible, developers are encouraged to explore upscale projects in these cities.
The past year has shown that the demand for real estate in certain cities is driven not only by the presence of large infrastructure development projects but also a city’s ability to be agile and adaptive to change. Some notable investment areas are marked by its response to the times and efforts to improve its citizens’ quality of life – from Central Business Districts that opened their streets to alfresco dining, to quick and reliable governance in fringe cities, to bike lanes in key cities outside NCR, to nature-oriented homes in leisure destinations and ecologically friendly residential projects. Current buying trends and consumer preferences show an irrefutable fact – property seekers are looking to invest in homes where they can feel safe, comfortable, productive, and connected.

Topics: Lamudi Philippines , real estate property , homebuying
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