Lockdowns boost desire for homes


MOBILITY restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 which continue to be in effect today have made home ownership more attractive to Filipinos, according to the Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP).

In a briefing on Thursday ahead of its Affordable Housing Summit (AHS) this year, OSHDP National President Gino Olivares said lockdowns that forced Filipinos to stay home for almost two years have created a greater need for more space in households.

This has led to an increase in demand for single-detached homes with three to four bedrooms as well as prompted younger Filipinos, some as young as 19 years old, to start inquiring about being first time homeowners.

“The family members inside the house are looking to have their own space so there was also a growth in demand for units that have three to four bedrooms,” Olivares said during the briefing.

The need for their own space has also sparked interest for the real-estate market among young and single Filipinos who are still living at home with their parents.

“It all started probably during the hard lockdown in March 2020. They were stuck at home with their parents. After that, suddenly there was a flood of inquiries from newly hired, starting [workers] and I think I saw on YouTube the youngest that I’ve seen was 19 years old. Graduated high school, went to a BPO and suddenly, wanted to own a house,” Olivares explained.

These trends are expected to continue due to work from home arrangements as well as the conduct of online classes. These, the OSHDP said, could already be part of the new normal in the Philippines.

Apart from greater space, the increase in demand for green homes has also risen. This has become more possible due to the availability of housing technologies.

Emma Imperial of Imperial Homes said one of the more popular trends now is to go off grid by retrofitting existing homes or buying homes that already use solar power.

She said using solar power in homes is now being supported by Pag-IBIG loans. However, she said these loans are extended provided that the house is included in the mortgage.

“If your house is paid, Pag-IBIG requires your house to be part of the mortgage. It’s very difficult to push that to buyers who would like to buy solar and already paid for their houses, it’s very hard for them to accept that they’re going to get a loan again and put up their house just because of solar,” Imperial said.

“We hope that Pag-IBIG will try to change it a little bit [to make it] a solar-friendly loan, that you don’t have to give your house which has already been paid for a solar solution,” she added.

OSHDP said these are just some of the issues that will be tackled in the upcoming AHS which has a theme, “The Home EveryJuan Deserves.”

Through the AHS, OSHDP hopes it can better contribute to placing a dent on the country’s growing housing gap—estimated to be at around 6.5 million.

The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and key shelter agencies have been able to build 1.076 million houses between 2016 and June 2021. This represents 84 percent of the 1.28 million PDP target.

This means the DHSUD has a year to complete 203,976. Del Rosario said given that the annual accomplishment of the agency has reached an average of 195,687 houses per year since 2016, this is manageable and can be exceeded.

Del Rosario highlighted the accomplishments of DHSUD and its key shelter agencies, including the finalization of the 20-year national housing road map and the formation of a task force to run after real-estate scammers.

He added that the country’s housing need currently stands at 6.5 million nationwide and will most likely soar by next year, hence, the need to increase the government’s budget allocation.

Since 2010, government allocation for the housing sector only stands at less than 1 percent of the national budget. For next year, the Department is proposing a P75.575-billion budget, but the recommended allotment by the Department of Budget and Management is only P6.39 billion.

According to the housing czar, DHSUD is advocating passage of the National Housing Production and Development Financing Act, which will ensure a P50-billion annual appropriation for the next 20 years to address the rising housing need, as well as promote public housing development.

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