// posted October 15th, 2012

Condos For Sale in Manila, Philippines


Living in a large metropolitan area always involves big challenges.  For people living in Metro Manila, a large part of the problems they encounter there is the search for living quarters and residential areas; what we'd like to call home.

Metro Manila is one of the biggest cities in the world in terms of land area, number of member cities, and population.  The city is known to be the 11th most crowded metropolis in the world in 2011, with a population reaching nearly 28 million.  It is composed of 16 cities, of which the City of Manila is the center of them all.  The Megacity is the heart of the Philippines' industrial, financial, and commercial sectors, and as a result, it provides many job opportunities for Filipinos living in the city or from the provinces.

This information packet will give readers an idea as to how to search for a condo for sale in Manila.  Below are tips and information that will guide them in buying the best condominiums that are well-suited to their lifestyle, how these are availed, and what to consider when buying one.

As with any other nation, many people in this country have made urban areas and cities their home and residence.  Because many cities are crowded and have very compact layouts, residential units are built not spreading out, but going up.  One of the best solutions in living permanently in an urban area is to avail of condominium.

About Manila

Manila is the capital city of the Philippines.  It is the center of government, education, religion and one of the financial hubs of the country.  It is a home to over 14 million people making the city the second populous city in the country next to Quezon City.  Manila is situated on the shores of Manila Bay which rests on the western shores of Luzon.  Manila nestled within the tropics which features a tropical savanna climate so as the rest areas in the Philippines.  

Manila serves as the chief sea port in the country and home to different modern shopping malls.  It is one of the most visited places for its various tourist sites such as Baywalk, Intramuros, National Museum of the Philippines and the Rizal Park where the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, was executed and buried.  And the districts of Ermita and Malate showcase a wide variety of luxurious hotels, dynamics clubs, trendy restaurants, cafes and bars.  I could say Manila almost got it all, a perfect place to stay!

Top 5 Facts

  • In 1571 Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi founded the Manila in what today is Intramuros.
  • Manila was made the capital of the Philippine Islands, which Spain would control for over three hundred years, from 1565 to 1898.
  • Manila also became famous during the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade which lasted for three centuries.
  • Manila is the most densely populated city in the world with 43,079 inhabitants per km2.
  • Manila serves as the Chief Seaport of the Country, as the Port of Manila is one of the busiest in the world.

What is a Condominium?

A condominium, or condo in short, is a building made up of individual and compact residential units.  This unit, also called a condo unit, consists of bedrooms, living rooms, kitchen areas, bathrooms, and other features depending on what kind of layout it has.  Aside from these, condominiums also have shared or private amenities like lounge areas, restaurants, swimming pools, playgrounds, fitness gyms, courtyards, function rooms, and such.

There are a huge variety of condominium types to choose from.  Usually, these come in the form of regular apartment layouts, while others are built like townhouses.  The most common type of condo unit found in Metro Manila are like hotel rooms built inside high-rise buildings, which are geared towards the middle income and upper class buyers.  While there is certainly variety, any one of them is considered as a very convenient way to live within the city, especially if the condo unit is very near to the workplace.

Condo units are mostly placed in high-rise towers.  Going to your unit is not a problem at all since there are elevators to service people up and down the building; there's no need climbing the stairs except for emergencies.  Again, maintenance is not a problem since many developers have a maintenance staff to take care of all the maintenance needs of the building.

Occupants of condo units are responsible for the maintenance of condo units and shared spaces because expenses for maintenance will be sourced from them.  In a sense, they are the ones who will benefit from their monthly maintenance contributions.  The fees will be usually spent on maintaining shared spaces that are used the most, like elevators, corridors, lounges, passageways, garages, and others.

Cebu Condos

Manila Condominiums

As we mentioned earlier, because Metro Manila is so full of people, workers, and employees, there continues to be a high demand for residential spaces like condo units.  That is why there is recently a surge of condominium construction in Metro Manila to meet those needs.  There are more people coming into the city everyday because this is where they have the most chances of finding jobs, being the commercial and financial capital of the country.

Many of these people are not natives of the city, and so they search for places for residence. Condos for sale in Manila are just right for professionals, either single or with families, because they can have the opportunity to stay very near to their workplaces.

Because of the massive influx of human work force into Metro Manila, developers are continuing to take advantage of it by building condominiums after condominiums in prime places of the city.  They also know that many entrepreneurs choose condominiums as their primary or secondary business endeavor.  It is because of the developers' response to the rapid increase in residential demand that many are availing of condo units recently.

Many condominiums have flexible payment terms, and these payment schemes contribute largely to the appeal of condo units nowadays.  In the past, like in the 1990's, condo units were available only to those who had great financial leeway and cash-strapped, like the rich and famous.  Downpayments for condo units during those times were expected to be paid within a month.  Today, almost all developers offer 20-30% downpayment of a unit, which can be paid in arrears within two to four years.  These terms of course, vary from developer to developer.

Condo units in Manila condominiums are designed for the needs of specific types of buyers.  You need to know what kind of lifestyle you have or you'll be having, and then choose the type of condo unit that fits you accordingly.  For example, since a lot of condo unit owners are young professionals and single, their lifestyles tend to be more active and on the go.  Hence, condo units that are environmentally sound and lean towards the natural in terms of interior designing, are quite often the best for these types of people.  People want to have a place that they can relax after a hard day's work, and so condo units that exude calmness and give peace of mind can be a great asset to residents who love nature and relaxing on the outdoors.

The increase in demand for condos for sale in Manila can be attributed to the fact that condo units, individually, are less expensive and therefore affordable compared to single detached housing.  One example of how inexpensive they are is in the area of maintenance expenses.  Shared maintenance expenses is not uncommon in condominiums; all owners and occupants in a condominium pay monthly fees for maintenance of condo units and amenities like playgrounds, gyms, courts, function halls, and swimming pools.

In short, many people now have access to luxurious living in the heart of the city at a lower cost.  These are some reasons why Manila condominiums have been sprouting up all over the city.  Condo developers are constantly looking for ways to bring more occupants into their condo buildings, and these include condo units that are environment-friendly, "green", and offer the occupants a relaxing place to stay after a hard day's work.

Benefits when Buying a Condo Unit

Once you buy a condo unit, you'll find out you have a lot of freedom to do pretty much whatever you want with it, when it comes to renovations and interior designing.  Condo units are easy to manage because they are built in a compact manner.  If you have the creativity, you can redesign your condo unit to your liking, making it more comfortable and cozier for you to live in.  You can add fixtures and furniture, install new utilities, repaint the walls or paste wallpaper on them, attach new lighting schemes, and many other things.

A little help from someone who's good at interior designing can go a long way to personalizing your living space.  Maintaining your condo space is not at all difficult as most condo developers have their own maintenance crew, provided that you pay a maintenance fee every month.

You can buy a condominium as if buying your very own house.  You can avail of bank financing for it, secure a housing loan from government housing entities, or if you have the money, you can also buy it for straight cash, usually at a big discount.

Not only are condos good for living too, but they can be used for business interests.  Aside from living in it, you can even rent them or sell them to a third party so you can have income from it.  You can sell them as you would sell a house.  You can also put them up for short-term or long-term rent.  The proceeds from the rent can help you pay the monthly amortization for the condo units that you are renting out.

There are many other benefits that a condominium affords to its occupants.  Some of these include:

  • Economical value - Most condos for sale in Manila are less expensive than single detached housing units.
  • Stay-in convenience - For those people who travel a lot, condominiums offer a lot of functionality and convenience.
  • Business value - It can be a source of income for those who look to condominiums as business items.
  • Maintenance convenience - There are homeowner's association which only need to pay a monthly fee for the maintenance of all condo units, amenities, and shared spaces.
  • Advantage of location - Many condo towers are strategically placed along areas that have a high concentration of businesses and commercial centers.
  • Convenience of location - Condo units are also intentionally placed beside schools, malls, shopping areas, entertainment centers, and the like.
  • Accessibility of amenities - Condominiums have amenities that are accessible to residents.
There are a lot more of benefits when it comes to living in a Manila condominium.  For young professionals, condos provide a way to be near the workplace.  Of course they also have the privilege of owning someplace to call their own.  There are condominiums that are designed to house a family members, and they can be spacious and comfortable even with a large number of people inside.  Manila condominiums have usually a 24-hour, on the clock security services, and many of them have parking spaces outside or below the building.

You can also turn condo units into business items that you can rent or sell at a profit.  Developers of Manila condominiums are certainly open to that, and if you are someone who invests in real estate, condo units can be a new type of investment worth trying.

The buyer of a condo unit may choose to either rent a unit to a third party at a higher price, or sell the unit outright to a third buyer at a marked up price.  Renting a unit is the long-term option; the proceeds of the rent can be used to pay the monthly amortization, while the rest of the proceeds is for profit.  Selling a condo unit outright can work only if the third party buyer is also amenable to buying it outright.

Many condo units vary in their price range.  These depend on the quality of the condo unit; its size, type, the number of bedrooms built-in, the number of furniture and fixtures installed, the type of furnishings, the available shared amenities, and of course the location.  Rental fees range from P8,000 to P65,000 a month.

Examples of this include a condo unit at the Two Serendra, located at Fort Bonifacio, Global City, Taguig.  The unit has a studio layout and is priced at P39,000 (USD 900), and is situated near a hospital, school, and shopping mall.

The Soho Central in Mandaluyong City is a fully-furnished condo unit, which has a total area of 28 square meters and has one bedroom, fitting for single occupants.  It is priced at P25,000 (USD 581) per month.

Consider a Few Things When Buying a Condo Unit

Investing in condo units either for residential or business reasons is a big thing in itself because it involves a lot of money.  No matter how convenient, practical, or profitable a condo unit is, a buyer shouldn't just go ahead and buy one without thinking much about it.  Besides, if you are the buyer, it's your own hard-earned money we're talking about.

  • Location

    By now it has become obvious that one of the most important factors to consider when in buying a condo unit is the location.  The buyer should ask himself/herself questions like: how near is it to the workplace?  How near is it to the mall, hospital, or schools?  The buyer might prefer to live in a condominium that is near important travel hubs like bus stations, seaports, or airport terminals.  Or, if the prospective buyer wants a far-off location, far from the busy business districts in Metro Manila, he/she should consider the commuting time and the traffic that he/she should contend with.

  • Price

    Another important factor to consider about when buying a condo unit is the price of the condo unit.  Considering about price is a bit tricky than considering the location because each buyer's budget is different from others, and that condo units vary greatly in their prices, depending on their quality, type, location, and number of amenities involved.

    It pays to be patient in searching for the most ideal condominiums for you and your family, and then learning to bargain for the best price once you have certain prospective units at sight.  Research well each condo unit offering and each condominium as a whole.  Many units of the same type and of the same location may not have the same price, and so it pays to do a little homework to find out what's best for you.

    It's good to know the basic prices of condominiums for sale in Manila; the good ones are around P1.3 million to P5 million.  For instance, SMDC's Green Residences located at De La Salle University-Manila along Taft Avenue has a total contract price of P1.3 million to P2.8 million per condo unit.  Villa Sole condominiums in Pasig City has condo units that range from P1.3 million to P2.9 million, while home units at the Grand Tower in Malate, Manila has TCPs ranging from P1.4 million to P2.4 million.

    Remember that part of the contract price that comes with the condo unit is the access to shared or private amenities. Shared amenities include swimming pools, gym areas, playground for kids, sports facilities, and others.  Private amenities are those that are built as extensions to your condo unit that you can enjoy for yourself or with your family.  One needs to check out these amenities as well.  However, there are corresponding costs to availing of amenities, and these usually come in the form of monthly maintenance fees.

  • Developers

    The potential buyer of a condo unit would also do well to research the biggest players in condominium development within Metro Manila.

    One of the prime leaders is SMDC, or SM Development Corporation.  This fast-growing condo developer has major projects like Mplace and SM Residences, and is focused on the middle and premium market.

    Another example is Megaworld Corporation.  Megaworld has projects located at Bonifacio Global City and around Araneta Center in Cubao, as well as owning the development in Eastwood City located along C-5 Road in Libis, Quezon.  Currently, it has developed at least 12 luxurious residential condominiums.

    Eton Properties Philippines, Inc. is owned by one of the Philippines richest tycoons, Lucio Tan.  It is a relatively young developer - around three years old - but it already has 30 major projects that are in development.

    Other big players in condominium development are Robinsons, Vistaland, DMCI Homes, Ayala Land, Rockwell Land, Empire East, and Filinvest.

    These developers are the biggest and best in the Philippines.  You can check out each of their websites to get more information about what they are offering right now.

    In choosing a condo for sale in Manila, it is always important to proceed methodically, research carefully, and compare wisely so that you can live in the most ideal condo unit.

Different Modes of Payments when Buying a Condo Unit

A downpayment of around 20-30% of the total contract price of a condo unit is usually the payment arrangement offered by condominium developers.  This downpayment scheme is typically payable within one to two years, although some developers offer lower payment schemes.

The downpayment is usually the single biggest challenge for each and every buyer, because not everyone has that kind of amount to dole out in a single give.  Not only that, a buyer should not be concerned only of the downpayments and the monthly amortizations, but also things like monthly maintenance costs, transfer costs, renovation expenses, and the like.

As with any other transaction, the best form of payment is typically through cash.  This applies to condo buying as well, as paying for it through cash or other cash instruments allows you to avail of discounts as well.  But just in case you do not have the much cash, there are several options available.  You can avail of loans offered by banks, internal financing by the developers themselves, or you can avail of loans offered by the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) of Pag-Ibig.

This government-owned entity allows members to buy residential units through loans.  However, one needs to be a member of Pag-ibig and should have at least 24 months' worth of contributions.  For more information about Pag-Ibig, you may contact us.

Need help? Contact me today and we'll get your property search started

Ask a Question  (I'll Email You Back)

2 Question & Answers
  1. colin:

    Hi Stef,

    How hard is it for an Australian to buy a Philippines condo? Also can you give me an idea of monthly fees? I realize there would be big differences. Maybe something near the Mall of Asia complex. Thanks.

    • :

      Hi Colin,

      Very nice to meet you and thank you for contacting Philippine Realty Group.

      Not hard at all! By law, foreigners may own up to 40% of the units in a Philippines Condo Development. So as long as the percentage of foreign owners is not too high (for a given property), then you will have no issue purchasing.

      The fees for any buyers (regardless of whether the buyer is foreign or local) are the same.

      I just emailed you back as well, so just reply when you can. Thank You.

Stefane Anub, Lead Broker
“Ask Me Anything”

Stef Anub Head Broker

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