Having the largest condominium and office stock outside Metro Manila, Cebu is well-prepared to capture opportunities and reap the benefits of a recovering property market.
Last year, Cebu recorded the largest volume of office space deals closed outside the capital region, indicating its attractiveness as a preferred office hub in the Philippines. Metro Cebu likewise has diversified projects that serve the residential needs of young employees, professionals starting their own families, and the more discerning local and foreign investors.
Colliers projects a recovery in residential and office space demand beyond 2023. This should be supported by regional economic growth, inflow of remittances, improving business confidence, increase in the arrival of foreign tourists, and sustained business process outsourcing (BPO) investments.
Metro Cebu is one of the most competitive cities in the Philippines that has attracted major foreign and local investors. Hence, it is no longer surprising to see Cebu corner bulk of investments from national property firms.
Viable areas for residential development
From 2022 to 2026, Colliers sees major cities including Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue likely accounting for the new supply of condominium units in the province.
Colliers encourages developers to implement landbanking initiatives outside the Cebu-Lapu-Lapu-Mandaue corridor. In our view, the completion of big-ticket infrastructure projects such as the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) and Metro Cebu Expressway should raise the attractiveness of these locations for residential development beyond 2023.
Just like in Metro Manila, Colliers is optimistic that these public projects will have a positive impact on the prices of land and residential projects in Cebu City and its environs. In our view, property firms should remain strategic in acquiring developable parcels of land in the city. We also see investors gravitating towards these masterplanned communities as they provide better value proposition and have gargantuan capital appreciation potential.
Largest condominium stock outside Metro Manila
As of H1 2022, total condominium stock in Cebu reached 57,900 units, the largest outside the capital region. From 2022 to 2024, we project the delivery of about 7,020 condominium units per year, with Cebu City likely accounting for 80 percent of new supply.
Colliers believes that condominium demand, especially in the Cebu-Mandaue corridor, will partly be sustained by buyers and investors who plan to lease out their units to employees in Cebu’s major business districts.
Meanwhile, Metro Cebu’s horizontal demand is dominated by economic to mid-income projects, with a share of 84 percent in the total take-up in H1 2022. Colliers believes that these price segments remain popular especially among overseas Filipino worker (OFW) households. For the past 12 to 24 months, we observed that fringe areas such as Talisay, Liloan, Carcar and Naga are the most preferred locations for H&L developments.
Cebu office market gains traction
Cebu was the most active provincial site in terms of BPO leasing in H1 2022.
Colliers Philippines believes that the completion of new office towers as well as continued absorption from outsourcing and traditional tenants should sustain office leasing recovery in Cebu.
In our view, Metro Cebu’s landlords are likely to benefit from firms’ return-to-office mandates. The vacancy though is still relatively high, providing leeway for occupants to haggle rates. Landlords should continue providing concessions to tenants, especially with new spaces likely to be completed over the next five years. Occupants, meanwhile, should take advantage of available fully-fitted spaces and consider short-term lease options.
Demand from international tourists
Colliers Philippines believes that Cebu will also benefit from the arrival of more international tourists.
The reopening of borders, dropping of mandatory mask mandates, and overall recovery of global air travel should lure more foreigners to throw Cebu a glance. No foreigner can resist the charm of Cebu and we see more national property players cashing in on potential demand from these foreign tourists.
Undeniably, demand was crippled by the pandemic and global travel restrictions, but we see this demand bouncing back. Revenge travel, revenge spending, and revenge investing should lift Cebu’s residential market, especially the luxury and ultra luxury market, beyond 2023.