DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Property has remained the top investment choice for Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf, encouraged by the continued capital gains that the market has achieved year-on-year.
This is illustrated in a survey of 10,000 Filipino expats, which showed that up to 80% of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the region are considering buying property in the Philippines within the next 12 months.
Even big investors, who have already heavily invested in the Philippines, look at property as a choice to put their money in with 55% wanting to invest more.
The results of the poll undertaken by the New Perspective Media Group show that property tops the list of the preferred investment (55%). The New Perspective Media Group is the organizer of the Philippine Property and Investment Exhibition (PPIE), the biggest investment event for Filipinos in the Middle East.
This is followed by plans to acquire a franchised business or a start-up business (25%). Fifteen percent of the respondents said they will invest in savings account and money market funds (mutual funds) while the rest of the respondents said they are keen to invest in insurance and gold investments (3% and 2%, respectively).
The PPIE, now on its seventh edition, has been gauging the investment sentiment of Filipinos – one of the fastest-growing consumer market segments in the UAE – since 2014. PPIE once again provided an avenue to learn about various investments options in the Philippines both for Filipinos and foreign nationals from April 26 to 27 at the JW Marriott Hotel Dubai in Deira.
Most preferred locations
Of the 5,500 respondents who preferred property as their primary investment, more than half (54%) said they plan to make the purchase within the next 12 months.
According to the poll, Manila is the top preferred location of Filipino expats in the UAE (53%).
The top 10 most preferred locations of Filipino expats in the UAE are as follows:
Source: Philippine Property and Investment Exhibition (PPIE)
Dr Karen Remo, New Perspective Media Group co-founder and Managing Director, said that as the World Bank had pointed out, 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.
Thomas Mirasol, General Manager of Federal Land, Incorporated, said that "the Asia-Pacific region, in general, has been a very good investment region and the Philippines has long been an attractive market."
"Manila, in particular, rates higher than Taipei, Auckland, and Kuala Lumpur in a 2019 report by PwC and the Urban Land Institute (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," Mirasol said.
Hottest luxury home market in the world
A report posted by property consultancy Knight Frank recently hailed Manila in the Philippines as the hottest luxury home market in the world – besting other popular luxury housing cities in the world like Boston, Tokyo, Paris, and others. With a robust economy coupled with the increase in demand for luxury homes by foreigners who decided to call the Philippines their home, the country experienced a price increase of 11.1%, making it the fastest growing luxury market to date.
Duane Santos, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Greenfield Development Corporation, credited the significant growth of the Philippine real estate market to local and foreign buyers heavily investing in property ownership and asset holdings.
"This growth can also be attributed to foreigners who are continuously purchasing condominium units in Metro Manila and other major cities in the Philippines, such as Cebu, Davao and Laguna," Santos said.
"Filipino and foreign investors in Dubai can also avail of this investment opportunity in the upcoming PPIE event. Dubai is one of the biggest markets for our sales overseas and PPIE has helped us in developing this market," he added.
Adel Al Fahim, Chairman of Al Fahim IMC Holding which invested in the Philippines in 2007 and has since developed two condominiums in the country, said 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 said.
Mirasol said another thing to consider about the Philippines is that it "offers a cosmopolitan, trendy, welcoming life for overseas investors."
"The cost of luxury living is much more affordable in the Philippines. It is quite easy actually for a non-Filipino to own a property in the Philippines. There are no special requirements on buying strata-title (condominium) properties and no extra taxes. Re-selling their investments is just as simple with no special requirements," he said.
The Philippine government’s “Build, Build, Build” program is seen to have ushered in the golden age of infrastructure in the country by raising the infrastructure spending from 5.4% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2017 to 7.3% by the end of 2022. The Philippines’ economic dynamism remains buoyant due to strong consumer demand supported by vibrant labor market and robust remittances.
Manuel Arbues II, Regional Head for North America and the Middle East of Ayala Land International Sales, Incorporated (ALISI) said the company posted an average yearly sales growth of almost 20% from the UAE for the past 5 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 added.
ALISI is the sales and marketing arm of one of the Philippine’s leading property developers, Ayala Land Incorporated.
PPIE draws thousands of attendees who are keen to meet with top property developers, banks, government-backed financial, investment and savings institutions, money remittance centers, and service providers.
PPIE is sponsored by Greenfield Development Corporation and Ayala Land. The participants are Federal Land, SM Development Corporation, Sta Lucia Land Inc, Green Circle Realty Sales, Inc, AboitizLand, Inc, Robinsons Land Corporation, LBC, RAKBANK, Cebuana Lhuillier, ekar, Al Habtoor Motors – Mitsubishi, Gold’s Gym, Philippine Airlines, Sharaf Exchange LLC, and Vision and Style Optical LLC (exhibitors). The Filipino Times, Tag 91.1, and The Filipino Channel also support the event as media partners. – Rappler.com