// posted October 15th, 2012

Condos in Manila, Philippines


One of the biggest issues faced by those people living and working in urban areas, like Metro Manila, would be living spaces and housing facilities.  Metro Manila is made up of 16 cities and is the municipal region surrounding the City of Manila.  In 2011, the city was considered the 11th most crowded cities in the world with a population of 27.8 million.

Metro Manila is also considered to be the center of most financial, industrial and commercial industries in the Philippines.  The city provides many employment opportunities to Filipinos as the country’s largest corporations are located there.

The article below serves to inform and equip readers who might be interested in buying a home.  This is very helpful especially for Metro Manila professionals as it can guide them and furnish them with important information on the best searching and buying practices when it comes to condos in Manila.

About Manila

Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila bay, situated on the western shores of Luzon.  Manila is the capital of the Philippines, wherein most of the big time establishments located.  Manila has several national government offices headquartered at the city, since it is the seat of political power of the Philippines.  

Together with the other areas of the Philippines, Manila lies completely within the tropics, features a tropical savanna climate that borders on a tropical monsoon.  Every year, Tourism in Manila attracts over 1 million tourists, and Rizal Park is the chief tourist attraction.  Aside from that, there are also well-known shopping destinations in Manila, Divisoria for local residents, while Ermita and Malate for the upper class.

Top 5 Facts

  • Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila bay, which rests on the western shores of Luzon.
  • Manila features a tropical savanna climate that borders on a tropical monsoon climate.
  • Manila is also home to other notable museums of the country.
  • Manila, being a major city, has various transportation options.
  • Manila is also the major destination for tourists who visit the Philippines.

Condominiums in Manila

Because most of us are living in a tight and cramped metropolis somewhere in the country, owning a compact living space that has all the benefits of a regular home has become one of the highest preoccupations of people and working professionals.  Condos are simply the solution to the predicament of trying to acquire urban space without necessarily buying a piece of land.  A condominium is a collection of detached residential living areas and rooms.  Within the city, one can find that condos are almost always built as high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, because of the limited land area available.  Aside from rooms, condominiums have common and linked amenities, such as fitness areas, play areas for children, swimming pools, lounges and restaurants, sports courtyards, and other such benefits.

Condos come in varying styles, and as we said, many of them are built into high-rise buildings to compensate for limited land areas in the metropolis.

There are condominiums that are also built like townhouses with ample driveways and recreational spaces in between, but these are found within exclusive villages and outlying communities in the city.

There are also condominiums that are built like regular apartment buildings, and these are usually located in the city suburbs.  Whatever the type of condo, these units are ideal for a select number of people wanting to live a semi-permanent or permanent life in the city.

One of the best benefits of owning a condo is that you can renovate and style the interiors of your living areas the way you want, just like a regular home.  If you have the creativity, you can design the insides of your unit in such a way that it becomes an extension of your personality, and of course very functional for you and your family.  You can do things like renovating the kitchen and bathroom areas to make them more efficient, or repaint walls and install lighting fixtures that will conform to your moods.

condo Cebu

Many of these condos can be highly-personalized, and you can hire the help of an interior designer to assist you with planning and installation.  Maintenance is not a problem in a condominium, as most condo developers offer maintenance services for a monthly fee.

Selling a condominium in Manila is similarly straightforward as selling a regular house and lot.  The potential owner can buy a condominium with straight, spot on cash, or he/she can opt to avail of mortgage, housing loan from banks, or even in-house financing provided that the condo developer has a facility for it.

As mentioned earlier, because Metro Manila is the hub for the country's financial, commercial, and industrial sectors, many companies and jobs are therefore highly-clustered in and out of the metropolis.  As a result, there is a huge workforce inside the city because of employment opportunities, and many more people are coming at a regular rate just to find jobs.  It is therefore natural for migrants to look for places to live when working in the city.

Because of this, the rate of condominium development and the number of finished condominiums in the city have skyrocketed recently.  And there is a variety of condominiums that suit a particular market, whether they are middle-class citizens or the super rich elites.  All in all, there is obviously a huge demand for condominiums.

Because the number of migrant workers coming into the city is always increasing, condominium developers have seized on this opportunity and are continuing to build large numbers of condominiums at a dizzying speed.  They are also aware of entrepreneurs who might want to get into the condo rental business, and so this is also an incentive for them to develop condos.

Another reason why the growth of the condominium market continues to rise is that condos are perceived to be less expensive and more convenient, as opposed to owning single-detached houses and lots.  While in a single house all upkeep and maintenance expenses will be shouldered by the owner, the buyer of the condominium benefits from lower maintenance rates because the maintenance expenses of the entire condominium is divided among all the condo owners.  The expenses cover the maintenance of not only the individual units, but also of the existing amenities like function halls, gyms, play areas, corridors, elevators, swimming pools, and the like.

Residents of Manila now have a good reason for availing and living inside condominiums.  This is because they can have a luxurious, convenience-ridden lifestyle for a lower price.  In fact, because buyers are also looking for luxurious living, condo developers are designing condos in Manila that are clean and green.  Designs are edging towards sustainability, livability, and the ability of condominiums to offer their residents a relaxing atmosphere.  Of course, these qualities will be very attractive to prospective buyers.

Benefits when Buying a Condo Unit

Do you know that condominiums can be a good source of income?  You can buy condo units and put them up for long-term or short-term rent.  You can pay your monthly amortization from the rent proceeds.

There are numerous benefits of a condominium, and we have mentioned some of them.  For one, you can get extra income out of buying and renting condos to other third parties.  It is also relatively cheaper than buying a single home with a lot.  Condos offer a convenient place to stay for those who are frequently traveling and making the city a transit to other places.

Condo owners usually have a homeowners' association, which takes into their responsibility the maintenance of the condo units.

Condominiums are also very well-planned and most of them are located within strategic areas in the city which are populated by many companies and jobs.  Aside from this, condos are mostly near malls, supermarkets, and educational centers, making them very convenient for families.  Lastly, many condominiums have regular amenities that cater to many needs of the homeowners.

There are a lot of benefits when it comes to condominiums.  For young professionals, condos are desirable because it is really their place, their own "pad" so to speak, and because if they choose right, they can practically walk from their condos to their workplaces.  Families can opt for condos because some units are designed to be family-friendly, spacious, comfortable, and secure for their kids.  Many condominiums have their own private security operating 24 hours a day, as well as guarded parking spaces.

As we said, because there is limited real estate around Metro Manila, condominium designs are usually patterned after high-rise buildings.  People may perceive this to be a problem, but in reality it isn't because all of them have elevators.  Condos in Manila can be maintained and cleaned very easily because there are resident maintenance crews, which are funded by the contributions from the homeowners.

Hence, owners of condos have a responsibility to keep since the maintenance and cleanliness of the condominium itself will depend on the commitment of each of the owners.  They are the ones benefiting from their monthly maintenance contributions.  For example, these shared expenses go to the maintenance of lobbies, elevators, escalators, passageways, corridors, and other shared spaces.  So, in a sense, each condo owner is responsible in taking care of the entire condominium community.

There are many types and designs of condominiums.  Some are built differently and designed so that it caters to a particular set of clientele.  Some are more generic to fit most middle-class buyers, while others are specialized for luxury and comfort for those having the most discriminating tastes.

For instance, there are those buyers who have active lifestyles, who go into sports or who love the outdoors.  Such market will be able to appreciate condominiums that have "green" designs; with interior designing that are matched to designs found in nature, and fresh and natural light coming in from large windows.

On the entrepreneurial side, condominiums can be good for business.  There are those real estate brokers who might be interested in brokering for condos instead.  Condo units are very good source of investment, and if one owns a condo, he or she can rent it to others at reasonable prices.

Two scenarios can happen.  The buyer of a condo can rent it to a third party, and then the proceeds of the rent payment can be used to pay the monthly amortization.  Another thing that can happen is that the original buyer can acquire the condominium unit for spot cash and then put it up for rent, then charge the occupant with the same amount in monthly amortization plus a mark-up for profits.

There are a variety of condominium prices, and these may depend on the quality of the unit, such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, the surface area of the entire unit, indoor furnishing and fixtures, furniture, and even the location of the unit itself.  Rental fees vary from as low as 8,000 pesos per month to as high as 65,000 per month.

An example of this would be the Two Serendra condominium located at Fort Bonifacio, Global City, Taguig, which is a fully-furnished studio unit available for rent at 39,000 pesos (900 USD).  Its location is near a hospital, school, and malls in Taguig city.  Another example is the Soho Central in Mandaluyong City - a fully-furnished, one bedroom, 28 square-meter unit that is up for rent at 25,000 pesos (581 USD), which also has a minimum of 6-12 months rental.

Even though there are many benefits to buying a condo in Manila, great care should be taken in going through the process of buying one.  Impulsiveness can land a buyer in a condo unit that is less than ideal for him/her.  The amount involved in buying a condominium, whatever kind it may be, is no laughing matter; it is the same as investing in a regular house and lot.  It is a lot of investment.

Things To Consider When Buying a Condo

If you are considering buying a condo unit in Manila, ask yourself what you exactly want from the condominium.  The first thing you should practically ask is what part in Metro Manila should I live?  Consider the location very seriously: is it near your workplace?  Is it near hospitals, bus stations, schools, and other important sites?  Would you want to be near the airport in case you're a frequent traveler?  Or would you rather choose a location that is far enough from the busiest parts of the city?  In that case, you will have to contend with traffic and travel time in going to and fro your workplace.

Another factor to consider is of course, the price of the condo unit.  Condominium units vary in their prices according to their quality, their location, and the number of furnishings that it has, as well as access to immediate amenities and benefits.

Another thing to deal with are condominiums that have exactly the same set of features and benefits, but the prices among them are different between each developer.  Price ranges of condo units vary from 1.3 million pesos to up to more than 5 million pesos.  The buyer then has to do his/her research well to find out the best deals, rather than settling immediately on the first unit he/she likes.

There are examples of this.  Condo units at Green Residences, built by the SM Development Corporation, range from 1.3 million pesos to 2.8 million pesos.  These condominium units are located at the so-called University Belt near De La Salle University-Manila at Taft Avenue.

Other examples include the Villa Sole at Pasig City which has a price of 1.3 million to 2.9 million pesos, and the Grand Tower at Malate City that ranges from 1.4 million to 2.4 million pesos.

Great amenities are one of the perks you get when you actually buy a condo.  It is therefore a good exercise to check out the shared amenities of the condominium first before buying a unit.  Try to see what group of amenities would fit your lifestyle.  If you're leading an active, sporty lifestyle, you might want to check out for sport and gym areas.  If you have a family, you might want a kid's playground and other play areas.  These are all shared areas and in using them each condo unit owner is expected to pay monthly maintenance fees.

How To Purchase a Condo Unit

When it comes to payments, all condominium developers require a downpayment which is 20-30 percent of the principal amount.  This downpayment is also amortized and is payable within one to two years' time.  Downpayments are usually the single biggest challenge that potential condo owners face, and so developers are constantly trying to find ways to lower the downpayments.

If money is really no object for you, it is still not advisable to buy the condo unit immediately, since you have other factors to consider, such as transfer costs, renovations, maintenance costs, and the like.

For both the developer and the buyer, cash payments are still considered the best form of payments for condo units.  It is hassle-free, there is immediacy of the transaction, and the buyers can tap into discount opportunities if there are any.

But for those who do not have immediate cash resources, buyers can avail of in-house financing provided by the developers, or they can go to the banks and avail of house financing with terms beneficial for them.

The government also extends assistance to condo buyers in the form of their housing agency, the Home Development Mutual Fund or HDMF.  This agency gives out loans to condo buyers, and in turn, the buyers can pay through the Pag-Ibig scheme.  For more information about Pag-Ibig, you may contact us.

Condominium Developers

As for condominium developers in the country, there are several major players in the market.  One of these is the aforementioned SDMC or SM Development Corporation.  These developers build condo units targeted for the middle-income and premium-income class markets.  Some of their current projects include the SM Residence and MPlace.

The Megaworld Corporation is also a major player in the Philippine condominium market.  It owns Eastwood City along C-5 road in Libis, Quezon City, as well as condominiums in Araneta Center in Cubao and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.  All in all, Megaworld has developed around 12 luxury-class residential condominiums.

There is also the Eton Properties Philippines Inc. owned by one of the country's richest men, Lucio Tan.  This company is young and only three years old, but it already has 30 major projects lined-up and underway. 

Other condo developers that are strong in the market include DMCI Homes, Rockwell Land, Robinsons, Ayala Land, Empire East, Filinvest, and Vistaland.

All of these condominium developers boast strong presences in the market.  You can check them out at their respective websites and see what they're offering.  Buyers like you need information to make the best possible decision and land that dream condominium.

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

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2 Question & Answers
  1. mermeid6:

    Mayfair Tower, if you wish to be near the US Embassy and like your amenities to be more than the usual, a notch above the standard. Ivy Hill, if you’re a student of nearby universities DLSU, St. Scholastica and others.

Stefane Anub, Lead Broker
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