Noel ‘Toti’ Carino - Housing Demand
Noel ‘Toti’ Carino / Image courtesy of Asian Journal

MANDALUYONG CITY, Philippines — Noel “Toti” M. Carino, national chairman of the Chamber of Real Estate & Builders’ Association, Inc. (CREBA), said the housing demand in the Philippines has been robust for months now as it is fueled by the housing backlog of some four million.

Carino, who is also chairman and CEO of the Carino Development and Management Corp., said he has noted a significant shift in the real estate market with the condominium boom almost gone and buyers now looking for house-and-lot packages costing between P600,000 and P3 million.

Housing Demand

In an interview with the Filipino Star News, Carino, a veteran realtor, said land developers are now focusing on economic housing projects instead of high-rise condominium projects.

He cited positive developments which indicate that now is the right time to buy houses and lots either for investment, rental or use. These developments include the much-improved peace and order situation, the six percent GDP (gross domestic product) growth and the comparatively low-interest rates, he said.

Even the banks, he observed, are competing with Pag-IBIG Fund, offering interest rates as low as six percent. It was recalled that a few years ago, the interest rates for housing loans ranged from 15 percent to 18 percent.

The growth drivers at present, Carino said, are the increased infrastructure spending, the profitable business outsourcing industry and the huge dollar remittances by the overseas Filipino workers.

It is a much better Philippines partly because of the success of the anti-drug drive being waged by the administration of President Duterte, he said. The success of the campaign has been achieved despite concerns about due process and the rule of law, he also said.

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Carino noted, however, some constraints to home building and land development. These include the limited land area available for housing projects, the expensive prices of land and problems about land conversions.

He also said that the Duterte administration is on track with its pro-poor agriculture and food security programs.

Another bright spot is the resort development industry which has been attracting investors, he added.