That we have a housing shortage sounds preposterous when you are handed a condominium project brochure every few steps at the mall, followed by the oft-uttered words: âFor investment, po.â
Youâd be forgiven to think, in fact, that thereâs possibly a glut of medium- and high-rise buildings dotting (sometimes besmirching) our metropolitan skyline.
But House Committee on Housing and Urban Development chairman Rodolfo Valencia says otherwise. Thereâs no danger of a bubble burst at the moment, thank you very much. On the contrary, the Oriental Mindoro representative cites government figures that reckon the countrywide housing shortage at a staggering four million householdsâa count that is distressingly expected to top 5.6 million by 2016.
Speaking at the opening of the Home & Modern Living Expo 2012 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Valencia laments that this figure certainly dwarfs the 118,000 housing units served up by public- and private-sector efforts from 1999 to 2011. A meager three percent of the units were actually for high-end buyers. âNinety-seven percent or 14,500 were in the mid-rangeâŠkaya ng ating market,â he avers.
An examination of the daytime-versus-nighttime population difference of Metro Manila (14 million versus 11 million) not only shows a surfeit of commuters but, explains Valencia, potential buyers of real estate in the capital. About 154,000 units are expected to be built from this year until 2016âstill a woefully inadequate number.
At a later interview with InterAksyon.com, Congressman Valencia says the solution lies in creating a housing departmentâsomething that can give a âbetter feel and handle on the housing problem.â The shortage onerously grows by 250,000 to 300,000, outpacing the 200,000 units built by developers. A cabinet-level focus on housing will, insists the congressman, help address the problem through a âbigger budgetâ and a bigger organization with a âcabinet portfolio.â
âPresently, we only have a coordinating council. Itâs good that we have VP Binay who oversees it,â he underscores. Otherwise, housing will rank low on the list of government priorities. âIdeally, we need to build 500,000 houses a year to solve our housing backlog in 11 yearsâŠ But how can we do that? We need financing, land, technology, support from the government.â
We tell him that the problem is not just a matter of supplying homes but making them affordable. Is government subsidy a decisive step in the right direction? Subsidizing a part of housing cost can be a feasible solution â albeit a limited one, he replies. âThe most important for me is to bring in modern technology. Countries such as China are successful in being able to bring down the cost of construction.â
Valencia adds that financing instruments are also crucial in easing the burden of acquisition. âLately, thereâs also good news that interest on long-term loans are getting lower,â he continues. Rates have eased from 12 down to six percent.
As you may have long suspected, peopleâs tastes and preferences in domiciles are changing. Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards director Atty. Nelson Arquiza explains to InterAksyon.com that more people are gravitating towards community living via condominiums, a âpracticalâ solution for a land-strapped real estate status quo. Besides, we can add that maintaining a house and lot is also a daunting prospect for early nesters and busy single professionals.
Urban congestion, on the other hand, can be eased by more development in peripheriesâsomething not lost on developers who by choice and default are land-banking in previously low-traffic areas.
âReal estate companies are also avoiding the bubble burst by specifically catering to markets with healthy demand,â Arquiza continues. The stratification of real estate products into distinct segments has honed and customized the value propositions purposively locked into the needs, expectations, and (more importantly) budgetary considerations of the buyers to be.
So, it doesnât take a crystal ball or divining rod to predict the future of metropolitan living. Expect more people to live a high lifestyleâliterally.
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The Home & Modern Living Expo 2012 is presented by the Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards (PAREB), Premier Events Plus Group, the Philippine Star and Space Magazine. It runs from August 31 to September 2, and features seminars and design competition aside from its big mix of residential and commercial developers, industrial developers, property consultants, contractors and architects, furnishing and interior design companies, and banks offering home financing solutions. Visit www.homemodernliving.com for more information.