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Pandemic drives young Filipinos to buy own homes

/ 04:07 AM October 25, 2021

The lockdowns imposed since the pandemic erupted last year have boosted interest in home ownership among young Filipinos, but they mostly seek housing options with environment-friendly features.

This is according to member-firms of the Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP) in a recent briefing ahead of their upcoming online “Affordable Housing Summit 2021” to be held from Nov. 12 to Nov. 13 in partnership with financial literacy advocacy group The Global Filipino Investors (TGFI).

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“Around 78 percent of our buyers are millennials. Many of them are working from BPOs (business process outsourcing firms). They’re working usually in the night,” said Emma Imperial, president and chief executive officer of Imperial Homes group of companies.

Apart from just being interested in housing, Imperial said these young people wanted “sustainable” housing options.

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“Before that, you know, they didn’t invest in houses. They would invest in their cars, gadgets and all that, but because of the pandemic, that all changed. They are working from home, so they started really thinking. So I think they’re now showing what is important [for them] and they believe in climate change, and that shows in their buying history that we have in our company,” she explained.

Ecoverde Homes’ Gino Olivares, president of OSHDP, said this surge in interest on home ownership started during the hard lockdown of March 2020, when many young people got stuck in their homes with their parents.

“After that, there been so many inquiries. I think the youngest I’ve seen was 19 years old, recently graduated from high school, going to BPO and already wants to buy a home,” Olivares said.

Jefferson Bongat, president of Duraville Group of Companies, said OSHDP’s partnership with TGFI had also helped educate the public, not just the young people, on how to invest their money.

He agreed that young people, including those who were still single, were now starting to think early about housing.

OSHDP officials are also optimistic that any future increase in interest rates won’t affect the affordability of socialized and economic housing units.

“Because of affordable housing, almost around 90 percent of purchases of our houses are financed through Pag-Ibig (Home Development Mutual Fund) at fixed interest rate of 3 percent for socialized housing, which is basically subsidized. So we’re not that worried,” Olivares said.

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Mass housing veteran Januario Jesus Atencio, an investor at Olivares family-led Ovialand Inc., added: “We’ve done some regression on the effects of intrest rate movement on demand for housing loans, and the relationship is statistically significant …an increase in interest rates will decrease loan availments, particularly for HDMF. We also looked at membership levels and the relationship with new loans is positive. So, while increasing rates will lower loan availments, this can be managed if the membership base of HDMF increases at the same time.”

On green technology, Pablo Jorillo of Base Bahay Foundation, said more and more organizations were looking into green technologies in housing development, including the use of renewable materials like bamboo. By using resources that require low energy, such technologies help reduce carbon emission and mitigate climate change, he said.

As such, he said climate change initiatives had already trickled down even to socialized and economic housing developers, while public awareness had likewise increased.

With the theme “The Home EveryJuan Deserves,” the upcoming Affordable Housing Summit 2021 (AHS2021) is estimated to draw 5,000 participants. More than 30 key leaders and experts in the real estate industry are set to give advice, share innovations, and practical strategies in owning a home. //30

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TAGS: Business, housing, pandemic
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