Filipino Homes’ advisory facility expands to more countries

Business.
Business.(Business File photo)

FOLLOWING the successful launch in Dubai, Filipino Homes’ Global Partners is bringing its service to seven more countries this year, specifically in areas where there are large concentrations of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

In an interview, Filipino Homes founder and chief executive officer Anthony Gerard Leuterio said they are eyeing to expand in Bangkok (Thailand), the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, the United States and Europe.

Introduced and piloted in Dubai during the company’s property roadshow in January this year, Global Partners is a facility that aims to protect OFWs from being scammed, especially when purchasing real estate properties in their home country.

Acting like an advisory service, Global Partners provides overseas Filipinos working or living abroad access to the right information about property investments in the Philippines and also spots illegal real estate-related dealings abroad.

“This facility also will help developers reach out to the international market and for OFWs to access real estate news and projects across the country,” said Leuterio.

He added that Global Partners will also establish networks to assist OFWs in reselling and renting the units they own in the Philippines, leveraging the Filipino Homes and Rent.ph network. It also commits to linking OFWs with the right banks offering credit access or loans to ensure smooth transactions.

OFWs remain the real estate sector’s big homebuyers amid the high-interest rate environment.

Leuterio said OFWs are an important market in real estate the reason they are committed, through Global Partners, is to only engage with reputable developer partners in the Philippines in ensuring the legitimacy of projects being sold and promoted abroad.

“The goal is to reach out to OFWs in each country and protect them from being victimized by scammers,” said Leuterio.

“We give free consultation or advice to prospective buyers. We will also launch a regular talk show to provide an avenue for Filipinos abroad who may have concerns or questions about real estate investment, property management, and other related issues,” he added.

Remittances

In 2023, money sent home by OFWs reached an all-time high on the back of the increased deployment of overseas workers.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that personal remittances from OFWs amounted to US$37.2 billion, up by three percent from $36.1 billion in 2022. This accounted for about 8.5 percent and 7.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and gross national income, respectively.

Remittances in the first two months of the year increased by 2.8 percent to $6.10 billion in January and February 2024 from $5.93 billion recorded in the same period last year.

In its market insight report, Colliers Philippines expects sustained growth in OFW remittances likely supporting economic expansion and boosting retail, leisure and residential demand across the country.

“In our view, the continued inflow of remittances should boost personal spending which will likely benefit the retail and leisure sectors,” it said.

It noted that remittance-receiving households should also partly lift take-up for vertical and horizontal units within and outside Metro Manila, particularly projects under the affordable to lower mid-income segments (P3.2 million to P7 million).

Expenditures of OFWs

According to the Q1 2024 Consumer Expectations Survey of the BSP, the percentage of the 324 surveyed OFW households who apportioned their remittances for food and other household needs (96.6 percent), medical expenses (58.3 percent) and purchase of a house (10.8 percent) increased in the first quarter this year compared to the fourth quarter of 2023.

In terms of the utilization pattern of remittances by area, a higher percentage of OFW households in the National Capital Region (NCR) allotted part of their remittances to medical expenses, savings, purchase of consumer durables, debt payments, purchase of house, and purchase of motor vehicles as opposed to their counterparts in areas outside NCR.

Moreover, the results of the survey also revealed that about one in four households availed of a loan in the past 12 months. By income group, the highest percentage of households that availed themselves of a loan belonged to the middle- and high-income groups at 25.3 percent each, followed by the low-income group at 24.2 percent.

For households that availed themselves of a loan, credit access improved as the index on debt application experience increased to 92.8 percent from 89.8 percent in the fourth quarter 2023 survey.

Most household respondents used their loan proceeds in the last 12 months to purchase basic goods (49.7 percent of households), followed by business start-up/expansion (24.8 percent), education-related expenses (19.1 percent), health-related expenses (14 percent), and payment of other debts (8.2 percent).

Meanwhile, the purchase of real estate had the largest share of the total outstanding balance as it accounted for 25.3 percent. / KOC

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