Property investments remain a safe haven – survey

Published August 24, 2020, 2:00 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Investments in property still remain a safe haven during a crisis, according to a survey by online property shopping portal Lamudi.

 Based on the Lamudi survey “The Outlook on the Residential Market,” the number of pageviews for commercial and even residential property sectors adjusted according to government-imposed restrictions on movement. Lamudi is an online real estate portal currently operating in 3 countries across the world covering Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The survey showed that despite experiencing dips during the ECQ, CBD properties continue to be popular as a real estate investment.

For property seekers, location and the presence of functional and recreational amenities have been some of the main considerations in their property purchase during the first half of 2020. Given the restriction on movement, the periods covered by the ECQ and the MECQ also impacted the decision to buy or rent.

As a result, real estate investing is given more thought during the ECQ.

Based on its survey, from January to early March, before the ECQ, properties for sale received somewhere around 63-66 percent of pageviews on Lamudi, but properties for rent, despite having fewer listings on the platform, received more inquiries at around 53-63 percent.           

“This shows that property seekers have an intention to buy, but followed through with rental inquiries,” said Lamudi.

During the ECQ, interest in buying property rose to 68-74 percent, with property seekers continuing to inquire as well, contributing to almost 56 percent of inquiries on the platform during the ECQ. 

Connectivity amenities will no longer be a want; they are a need for work-from-home setups and extended stays indoors, according to Lamudi. The increased interest in properties for sale shows property seekers considering investment options despite the ECQ.

The affordability of foreclosed properties contributed to its resilience amid the pandemic.

The strong performance of condominiums at the start of the year waned slightly during the strict community quarantines. The slight dip in inquiries but relatively stable interest may be due to property seekers holding on to cash amid uncertainties.  The renewed interest in houses during the ECQ carried over to MECQ. 

With Metro Manila back in MECQ for two weeks at the start of August, a temporary shift can once again be expected in the residential market.

With this, Lamudi said 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.

As Metro Manila is back in GCQ, along with Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, and Laguna, Lamudi said that property seekers remained interested in condominiums but are still on wait-and-see mode.

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. In Lamudi’s previous trend report, it was revealed that 34 percent of surveyed property seekers are considering a property purchase a year or longer into the future, another 34 percent are considering a purchase in 6-12 months, and around 22 percent want to keep their timeframe open.

Houses, which showed a strong performance during the ECQ according to a survey of Lamudi property seekers, posted a 2 percent average week-on-week growth in pageviews 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 seemingly affirmed by the increase in leads gained by foreclosures (37%) on Lamudi at week 16 (April 12-18).

Home ownership also hinges on affordability although proximity to work continue to weigh on decisions.

In Lamudi’s report, cities with CBDs continue to be popular.         

In Lamudi’s trend report about the real estate movement in the Philippines amid the ECQ, a survey of property seekers showed their preferences switch from CBD to non-CBD properties during the ECQ. Two months later, with a look into seeker behavior for the first half of the year, CBD properties show long-term resilience.

In terms of property locations, most of the leads were looking for a property to buy or rent from Quezon City, which comprises 26% of the leads from January to the first half of June. Following are Makati (12%), Pasig (10%), and Taguig (9%), all NCR cities with a central business district.        

Three CBDs are in Quezon City: Eastwood City, Araneta City, and Triangle City. Makati City’s CBD is in the Ayala Makati area. Meanwhile, Pasig City has the Ortigas Center, and Taguig City has Bonifacio Global City.

Property seekers prioritize amenities that improve quality of life.