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Revealed: Where are UAE Filipinos buying properties in the Philippines

A majority of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the UAE have picked Metro Manila as their preferred destination for property investment in the Philippines, according to a survey by New Perspective Media ahead of its Philippine Property and Investment Exhibition (PPIE) in Abu Dhabi.

Close behind Metro Manila were Cebu, Laguna, Bulacan and Davao, according to the survey of 1,000 Filipinos.

PPIE-Abu Dhabi will be held at the Liwa Grand Ballroom of Le Royal Meridien, Abu Dhabi, on March 20 and 21 with doors opening for visitors at 12 noon.

Twelve exhibitors will be participating at the largest Philippine property exhibition, offering visitors a wide range of real estate across all price points as well as tips and advise on investments.

“PPIE comes at an opportune time as many Filipinos working overseas now look at real estate as a major investment option. The event offers an opportunity for others to learn more about the burgeoning property industry in the country. The Philippines has been forecast as Asia’s next economic miracle and investing there would likely yield better returns than elsewhere in Asia,” Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Grace Relucio Princesa, said.

The Philippine Embassy will also use the exhibition to highlight the Pinoy WISE (Worldwide Initiative for Investment, Savings and Entrepreneurship) initiative.

“Less than 40 per cent of Filipinos in the UAE save money. The rest are just consumers,” said Princesa, who called upon OFWs to visit PPIE and benefit from the Pinoy WISE movement, which aims to instil financial planning principles among Filipinos.

Philippines Consul-General Frank Cimafranca said an increasing number of Filipinos in the UAE are investing in the Philippine property market to earn better returns as prices are set to rise in the coming years.

“We have also seen that more and more overseas Filipinos in the UAE are investing in property. We believe more OFWs will invest in property in coming years as prices continue to appreciate year after year, resulting in better returns on their investments,” the consul-general said.

Karen Remo, Managing Director, New Perspective Media, organisers of PPIE Abu Dhabi, said: “We believe that many of the cities in the Philippines are likely to feature among the top cities for real estate investment in Asia Pacific in coming years. PPIE gives Filipinos in the UAE an opportunity to invest in that growth story by buying property.”

She added: “Many global financial institutions have forecast good investment returns in the Philippines, which is one of Asia’s most steady economies. The rental yield of 7.53 per cent is among the highest in the world, beating Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and India.”

The UAE is home to more than 750,000 OFWs. According to World Bank data, remittances from OFWs are expected to have reached $28 billion in 2014, making the Philippines one of largest recipient countries in Asia.

Data from global property research and consultancy firms show that increases in both prices and rents in the Philippines are outpacing growth in the Asia Pacific region. This offers OFWs the perfect combination of reasons to invest in real estate at this time – price appreciation as well as rising rental yields.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle data, Manila saw prices of luxury properties increase by 9.7 per cent in 2014 compared to 6.3 per cent in Shanghai and 2.8 per cent in Mumbai.

The property sector is expected to continue gaining ground as economic growth remains at one of the highest levels not just in Asia but in the world. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (the Central Bank of the Philippines) reported that the country’s economy grew by 6.1 per cent in 2014, recording the second fastest growth in Asia. This is the fourth consecutive year the Philippines economy has recorded a growth rate of more than six per cent.

“When buying property, it is essential for the investor to consider projects that are backed by reputed developers and use the services of only authorised real estate agents. At PPIE, investors get to interact with multiple reputed institutions under a single umbrella,” said Remo.

Tom Mirasol, President of Sales at Ayala Land Inc., the largest developer in the Philippines, said: “The housing industry in the country is yet to satisfy the unmet housing shortage, so prospects are generally positive for the sector.”

Elsie Chua, President and CEO of CDC Holdings, one of the top real estate developers in the Philippines, said: “Buying property in the Philippines at this time is seen as a safe and profitable investment, not only to earn rent yields and price growth, but also to secure a future home at prices that will only rise in future. All the indicators point to property being the best possible investment for the next three years.”

PPIE Abu Dhabi is sponsored by Ayala Land and CDC Holdings. Etihad is the official airline. Companies participating in the exhibition include the developers Ayala Land, CDC Holdings, Megaworld, DMCI Homes and SMDC. Other exhibitors include Gulf Law, Philippine Business Council Abu Dhabi and Bayanihan Council.

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