A recent survey by the New Perspective Media Group revealed that up to 80 percent of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf are considering buying property in the Philippines within the next 12 months.

According to the poll taken by 10,000 Filipino expats, property is the most preferred investment with 55 percent, followed by franchised business or start-up business with 25 percent. Savings account and money market funds (mutual funds) were third with 15 percent, while insurance (3 percent) and gold (2 percent) were fourth and fifth, respectively.

More than half of the 5,500 respondents who answered property as their preferred
investment said they plan on purchasing properties within the next 12 months.

The survey also released the 10 most preferred locations for property investments by Filipino expats in the UAE, with Manila topping the list with 53 percent. This is followed by Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Davao. Cebu placed 6th, followed by Iloilo, Bacolod, Pampanga, and Bulacan.

Dr Karen Remo, co-founder and managing director of New Perspective Media Group, stated that the Philippines “continues to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with increasing urbanization, a growing middle-income class, and a large and young population.”

“This positive trend comes at a time when more and more Filipino investors are getting into the property market, either as first time or repeat investors. The culture of acquiring property is spreading fast among Filipinos back home and those residing overseas, as this becomes one of the fastest and safest means to accumulate wealth,” she said.

“Over the last few years, too, an increasing number of foreign investors all over the world, and noticeably from the Middle East, have taken advantage of the massive growth potential that the Philippines has to offer,” she added.

Duane Santos, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Greenfield Development Corporation, backed the sentiment, sharing that Dubai is one of the biggest markets for their sales overseas.

According to Thomas Mirasol, General Manager of Federal Land, Incorporated, the Philippines “has long been an attractive market” when it comes to investments. He also noted that Manila, in particular, rates higher than Taipei, Auckland, and Kuala Lumpur based on a joint survey by PwC and the Urban Land Institute entitled “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2019.”

“Rental rates and capital values continue to do well as vacancies continue to remain low. Despite increasing prices, costs overall are much more affordable than key cities in the region so investment decisions are relatively easy,” he said.

Adel Al Fahim, Chairman of Al Fahim IMC Holding which invested in the Philippines back in 2007 and has since developed two condominiums in the country, gave out a testament, saying the Philippines is a “rapidly growing country that has beautiful cities, is rich in resources, and the cost of living is quite reasonable.”

“We saw an investment opportunity and took a decision to own a condo in the Philippines a few years ago. Owning a property is much easier with hassle-free processes, with provision of installments and it garners a good return on investments. The investment made earlier has been prolific and I personally look forward to future investments in the country,” he divulged.

Meanwhile, Manuel Arbues II, Regional Head for North America and the Middle East of Ayala Land International Sales, Incorporated (ALISI) revealed that their company posted an average yearly sales growth of almost 20 percent from the UAE for the last five years.

“For the most part, we attribute this growth to the increase in financial awareness among overseas Filipinos in the UAE. Likewise, due to many opportunities opening up for overseas Filipinos, they are in a better position to prepare for their future and real estate investment is their top choice,” Arbues said.

Ritchel Mendiola
Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a feature writer based in the Philippines. In addition to writing for Balikbayan Magazine, she is a news correspondent for Asian Journal News-Manila.

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