Growth in real estate in the Philippines is in the “upscale” category but consumer demand is highest for “affordable” properties, an official of a real estate portal said.
This does not necessarily indicate a mismatch between supply and demand. Rather, it shows that Filipinos are “upscaling” and want to see “value for their money,” said OLX Operations Director and Head of Real Estate Ferdie Perez.
It also shows the important role played by real estate portals like Property24, Perez said. Property24, which is part of the OLX group, is a website that lists properties for sale or lease.
No mismatch; role of portals
“There is no mismatch. Affordability here means, rather than the absolute peso amount, rather than the absolute price, it is more or less the value for money,” Perez said. “And we see that not only in real estate. It’s also the trend that we see in FMCGx (fast-moving consumer goods, in F&B in hotels and restaurants. The trend now is Filipinos is upscaling. People want to feel the value of their hard-earned money.”
Officials of Property24 and OLX were in Cebu this week to introduce the real estate website to local journalists and bloggers.
The site already has 6,000 Cebu properties listed and they will be expanding aggressively in the province. Perez said this is the most number in terms of listings compared to other web verticals.
Cebu real estate sector
He said they want to expand in Cebu because “there are a lot of local developers here.”
Perez said their data shows that the real estate sector in Cebu is distinguished by 1) strong growth in BPO, tourism, and remittances; 2) increased demand for condos; and 3) popularity of townhouses and duplex units outside Metro Cebu.
The top considerations for Cebuano property buyers, according to Perez, are presence of nearby shops (74%); accessibility (44%); kids infrastructure (40%); safety (39%); and public services (36%).
The top cities in property searches are Cebu City at 47%; Mandaue City, 17%; Lapu-Lapu City, 12%; Talisay City, 7%; and Consolacion, 5%.
Unlike other portals, Property24 is meant for professional sellers such as brokers and agents, Perez said. The website verifies the identity of sellers before they are allowed to post. For brokers, they require Professional Regulation Commission or PRC IDs; for agents, they require proof of identity and the name of their brokers.
Perez said Property24 also performs regular audit and review of listings to make sure these are legitimate.
Property24 works on a subscription model and those who want to post pay a fee based on different packages. Perez said the fee is minimal compared to potential earnings by brokers and agents if they make a sale on the platform.
Monthly traffic, sales leads
He said the combined monthly traffic of OLX and Property 24 is 2 million people. The combined platforms generate 300,000 leads every month. These are inquiries via email, SMS, and chat, said Perez.
“When combined, both platforms give sellers a rise in web traffic and increase in potential buyers, delivering better value for subscription fees. Buyers are equally rewarded with more property options, higher seller engagement, and more pages viewed,” the company said in a press statement.
Perez said Property24 also offers the “win-win exchanges” pioneered by OLX.
He said 75 percent of real estate professionals already use online tools to sell property and supporting this with face-to-face and on-site selling. He said online tools lead to faster turn-around and more sales. Offline, agents sell 2 to 3 units a month. Online, they are able to sell an average of 7 to 8 units.
Property sellers, buyers win
Perez said Filipino users are already starting to be comfortable with buying items online. Almost half are already looking for properties online, he said.
With the Property24 platform, “buyers win because they are able to find the perfect property they are looking for their families. Sellers win because they sell more, and they sell faster. Ultimately the country wins because the economy grows faster, real estate grows faster,” Perez said.