Changing preferences in real estate post-pandemic

Pre-ECQ, 45 percent of condo seekers were exclusively looking at condos. During ECQ, 90 percent of these condo seekers were considering houses.

While we hunkered down within the safe confines of our home during the two-month Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), our lifestyle, daily routine, took a completely new turn. Suddenly, we didn’t have to get up so early in the morning and battle traffic to go to work as we were told to work from home. Suddenly, we were consuming more and more hours online than ever before. And maybe rethinking our financial or investment decisions.

According to a survey conducted by Lamudi, a leading real estate platform, those who were thinking about real estate before the ECQ gave property a more serious thought during the ECQ. There was renewed interest in residential lots, a property type that showed a steady upward increase after the ECQ. (Property developers assert that the need for a house is something that does not go away.)

In terms of site visits on Lamudi, Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa, and San Juan saw a bit of a slump after the first week of the ECQ.


The overall decrease in website traffic on Lamudi was due to a decline in the number of new users, but there was a simultaneous increase in site visits from returning users. Again, this only validates the fact that the pre-COVID interest in real estate did not go away.

For this dedicated market in search of property, how has the pandemic changed their preferences during the ECQ, if at all?

Respondents included business owners, government employees, frontliners, and sales workers. And here’s what the survey says:

During the ECQ, a good 26 percent of property seekers were looking for new areas. Properties outside CBDs (central business districts) are fast becoming popular. 

There’s a decrease in buying budget as we see an increase in affordable cities in the National Capital Region (NCR). 

In Metro Manila, certain areas saw a huge increase in inquiries after the implementation of the ECQ. Caloocan particularly saw a steep upward trend after the first week of the ECQ. Also posting positive activity during the ECQ were Manila, Las Piñas, Quezon City, Valenzuela, and Marikina.

CBDs suffered an initial slump but slowly recovered in April. 

Pre-ECQ, 45 percent of condo seekers were exclusively looking at condos. During ECQ, 90 percent of these condo seekers were considering houses.

However, property seekers will wait at least six months after ECQ to buy property again,

More than half of the searches during ECQ are for rental properties. As the real estate market shifts to a renters’ market, property seekers on a budget will need stimulus from property developers to pursue their real estate purchases.


We will see a shift towards affordable and fringe cities that are still conveniently close to Manila but the prices allow for the purchase of a house or a residential lot suited for a growing family. With more mobility, renters on the fringes who work in the NCR can ease back into their pre-COVID work schedule.

Property developers offer flexibility to property seekers by opening payment gateways online. With contactless transactions replacing face-to-face transactions, they’re still able to close 50-60 percent of their sales, with some developers providing digital tools as incentives to their sellers. 

To ease the financial concerns of property buyers and investors, developers are offering incentives such as grace periods, flexible payment schemes, and additional discounts, as well as additional commissions and cash incentives for sellers.

So, when can the real estate industry expect to recover from the economic onslaught of COVID-19?

The best-case scenario is a quick recovery in six months to one year, with one to two months allowance to welcome the new normal into our otherwise abnormal, frenetic life. 

Meanwhile, as the world anxiously waits for a vaccine that would stop the spread of the coronavirus, there’s no stopping property developers from pushing the envelope and moving into a more agile and digital future that will benefit everyone in the industry long after the new normal becomes a thing of the past.