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OFW's FUELING BOOM IN REAL ESTATE MARKET
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:29:00 12/16/2010

MANILA, Philippines. The Philippines’ famous diaspora of overseas workers is fueling a boom in the real estate market back home as they snap up houses and apartments to safeguard their futures.  Property prices have recovered strongly since the global financial crisis of 2008, with investments from the nine million Filipinos toiling away in foreign lands a significant factor, industry figures say.“Overseas workers are moving the market. Properties now are selling and when there is demand, prices go up,” Emily Duterte, head of the Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines, told AFP.
Industry sales nationwide this year are estimated to hit P300 billion compared with about P100 billion each in 2009 and 2008, according to Claro Cordero from Jones Lang La Salle, a global real estate consultancy firm.  “Nobody thought there would be such a quick recovery from the slump that began in 2008,” said Cordero, research head of the company’s  Philippines  branch.  Filipino workers abroad have a reputation for working as lower-paid employees, such as construction workers, maids, sailors and janitors.
But their sheer magnitude they account for about 10 percent of the Philippine population mean they have long been a major force in the economy. In 2009, they sent home $17.3 billion, making up more than 10 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, according to government data. And Filipinos are increasingly moving into higher-paid sectors, such as medicine, engineering and the media.  Overseas workers usually opt for houses costing about P2 million, humble by foreign standards but well in the middle-class bracket for Filipinos, according to Duterte from the brokers? association.
Fifty-year-old merchant seaman Rodolfo Oliverio has spent most of his working life outside of the Philippines but he is an active player in the domestic real estate market. Oliverio has used his overseas earnings to buy two small houses in the heart of Metro Manila for his wife and children to live in, and he is paying for a third he recently bought just outside the nation’s capital.  “If you work here, nothing will happen. The salaries are too small. The only way to afford a house is to become an overseas worker,” Oliverio told AFP while on his annual vacation in Manila.  “Naturally, among overseas workers, the most important thing is a house and lot.”
Oliverio said that as a ship’s bosun (the crew’s foreman) for a foreign company, he earned about P82,800 a month, roughly four times more than he could earn doing the same job with a local cargo line.  With his salary, he said he was confident he could afford the repayments on his third house, a middle-class 42-square-meter place south of Manila which cost a little over P1.5 million.  Industry observers said Oliverio’s real estate goals were typical of many overseas workers.  “Most have left families back home so they want to have a home for their families. Their children, their parents, these are the ones who stay in the houses they buy,” said Duterte.

PROPERTY SALES TO OFW's RISING
By Doris Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:36:00 03/07/2010
MANILA, Philippines Property demand from the overseas Filipino market is bouncing in a big way in the aftermath of the Wall Street shakeout that depressed the investment portfolio of high net worth individuals, according to Ayala Land Inc.  This was the main reason why Ayala Land is altering the master plan for its maiden foray into leisure estate development the P10-billion 320-hectare exclusive Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Club in Morong, Bataan to offer low-rise condominium and multi-dwelling units that are ideal for overseas buyers seeking readily built vacation houses, company senior vice president Rex Mendoza said.   To be launched in Anvaya this May is a new 4.6-hectare community Seascape Ridge composed of 14 quads with a total of 56 corner two-bedroom units that are ready to be occupied. The turnover date is targeted by December 2011.
Structured under a condominium setup and managed by Ayala Property Management Corp., the new neighborhood targets offshore buyers who want to avoid the tedious task of house planning and construction. It does not only target overseas Filipinos but all nationalities seeking seaside vacation units that they can just padlock when they are away.  Mendoza, who had just arrived from a roadshow in the Middle East, said the local property market seemed to have benefited from the recent global financial crises as people with excess money were now turning to real estate, which they now see as a safer haven compared to sophisticated financial instruments.
At the same time, Mendoza said demand from overseas Filipinos for local property was rebounding after falling from the peak in 2007 or before the US subprime crisis.
New real estate sales from the overseas Filipino market as of 2009 had gone back to about 28 percent of total sales from only 18 percent in 2008 when the US-led global crisis erupted, Mendoza said. This year, the ratio will likely be within 28-30 percent, he added.  In 2007, the ratio of new sales accounted for by the overseas Filipino market was about 33 percent. “We’re getting back there,” Mendoza said.
Philippine Real Estate News