THE residential real estate sector is seen to sharply recover first once the Philippine economy bounces back from a pandemic-induced crisis.
Amid the public anxiety over the negative impact of Covid-19 and lockdowns on businesses, housing prices have remained stable and home buying activities have remained upbeat, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao areas.
“The first that will bounce back is real estate,” said real estate broker Anthony Gerard Leuterio, who is the founder of Filipino Homes and Leuterio Realty and Brokerage. “Despite the alarm, housing prices didn’t fall at all in the Philippines. Majority of the housing prices stayed the same at pre-Covid levels.”
Leuterio said the current crisis appears to be different from the crises that happened in 1997 to 1998 and 2007 to 2008 when housing prices fell to rock-bottom levels. The past challenging times were triggered by a high degree of debt in the market unlike today when businesses are forced to close and people simply not being able to work.
“Everyone now values the need to invest in real estate. It is the most valuable asset today that never depreciates in value,” said Leuterio.
Despite the pandemic, Leuterio who has established a solid footing in real estate through the Filipino Home offices across the country, saw more buyers probing for properties since the various stages of lockdowns were implemented.
He said even as people are isolated in their homes, a lot of things are happening online, which he believed will accelerate the economic recovery. Brick and mortar business owners turn to online shopping and deliveries while real estate agents doubled their marketing efforts in selling properties online.
“The brokerage community is using technology to their advantage,” he said. This explains the robust home buying activities amid the pandemic.
“There are plenty of buyers. Many of them have already decided to purchase properties even before this pandemic,” said Leuterio, adding that this buying activity will continue amid reports of job losses as companies have quickly adopted the work-from-home arrangements and ventured into various online platforms to sustain their businesses and keep their workers.
Better deals, new designs
Moreover, Leuterio said this pandemic has opened opportunities for real estate developers, sellers and buyers.
He said more developers will now invest in building sustainable homes and building sustainable communities as people look for properties in a place that offers a good lifestyle and a high-quality healthcare system.
“There will be a trend of ‘new normal’ home designs,” he said. These lockdown-ready home units feature productivity spaces, and a space for garden and gym, among others, which weren’t typically offered in pre-Covid times.
For brokers, the lockdown experience will compel them to seek more innovative ways to keep their careers. In the past months, Leuterio said they have beefed up their webinars on skills trainings and market education to boost knowledge and reach out to more prospective buyers.
On the buyers’ end, Leuterio said they will score better deals in the post-Covid landscape as developers offer freebies and attractive monthly amortization, plus the low interest rate now being offered by financial institutions.
“Developers in the Visayas and Mindanao area are pricing their projects conservatively to make them attractive to buyers,” he said.