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Filipino expats in UAE offered homes for Dh37,000 in Philippines

There is good news for those of the 600,000-plus Filipino expatriates in the UAE looking to buy a property in the Philippines.

Ayala Land, the country’s largest real estate developers, is offering “affordable” houses, with prices starting as low as Dh37,000 (PhP 450,000), a senior company executive has revealed.

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“Our youth brand called ‘BellaVita’ offers house and lot packages costing PhP 450,000. In fact, we do cover the entire range [affordable to luxury] and if anyone has a decent and a stable job you can afford our property,” Thomas Mirasol, President, Ayala Land International Sales Inc., said after announcing the “One Ayala” initiative.

It brings together Ayala Land, Globe Telecom and Bank of Philippine Islands – all subsidiaries of Ayala Corporation - under one umbrella and will cater to the needs of OFWs across the Middle East.

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“We recognise the overseas Filipinos... the income they have generated has contributed directly to the country’s growth, foreign exchange reserves and this has enabled our country to move forward and allow millions of people to live better lives. One Ayala is reaching out to them to understand and serve their needs through a single platform,” he stated.

Property prices in the country have been increasing over the years with statistics by Global Property Guide, a UK-based research house, revealing gross rental yields of 7.53 per cent   the highest among all Asian countries.

The Philippines has been rated higher than “B” by all global rating agencies – Standard & Poor’s (BBB), Moody’s (Baa2), and Fitch (BBB-) with all assigned a “Stable” outlook.

Amaia patio green

Asked what type of properties were UAE-based OFWs buying, Mirasol said: “It was mostly a mix of condominiums and villas. There are those who were buying condominiums in major cities as they tend to live when they visit the country, while there is another segment that buys villas to provide accommodation to their families or ultimately use it as a retirement home.”

Although foreign nationals were buying holiday or retirement homes in the country, UAE nationals have not been among the top property buyers.

“At this point, it is fairly very small. From our own experience, the country is not the top investment destination for UAE nationals, but we hope to change that in the coming years,” he revealed.

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Foreigners cannot buy land in the Philippines, but they can purchase up to 40 per cent of the units in a condominium project.

Ayala Land, listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange, opened a representative office in Dubai in 2013. It reported a net income of PhP 14.8 billion in 2014 and plans a capital expenditure of PhP 100 billion to support its ‘2020-40 Plan’ with the objective to earn a net income of PhP 40 billion by 2020, at an annual growth rate of 20 per cent.

= $24b global remittance

Citing figures from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, Roy Emil Yu, Senior Vice President for Remittance Business, Bank of the Philippine Islands, said global remittance were in excess of $24 billion in 2014.

“The remittance from the Middle East is in excess of $5 billion, which is about 20 per cent of the global remittance. Of that, we estimate the UAE’s contribution to be almost $1.8 billion,” he said.

He, however, clarified that the numbers could be much more, as certain transactions were routed through the United States though the remittance may have come from the Middle East.

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