Property investment seen a safe haven – even during a pandemic

As Lamudi tracks the real estate market in H1, property investment seen a safe haven — even during a pandemic

With the unprecedented changes spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic since early this year, the government imposed restrictions on movement, affecting all economic sectors, including real estate.

But judging from the results of Lamudi’s data from January to the first half of June 2020, it seems the property sector — the residential segment in particular — has shown resilience and is on its way to recovery faster than most other industries.

Despite a sharp week-on-week decrease in interest and inquiries at the start of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in mid-March, Lamudi said the market bounced back around the implementation of the MECQ, which happened on May 16. 

Lamudi’s initial trend report surveying property seekers, real estate brokers and property developers published in May showed renewed interest in house and lot properties after the ECQ has been implemented. This trend seems to continue on a climb to reach pre-COVID percentages on the platform during the start of the year, as it showed a huge week-on-week increase in inquiries from a huge drop following the announcement of the ECQ.

Photo from Lamudi

Lamudi said while condominiums showed a drastic decrease in leads at the start of the ECQ, there was retained interest in the property type. In its previous trend report, 34 percent of surveyed property seekers are considering a property purchase a year or longer into the future, another 34 percent are considering a purchase in six to 12 months, and around 22 percent want to keep their timeframe open.

Photo from Lamudi

Houses, which showed strong performance during the ECQ according to a survey of Lamudi property seekers, posted a two percent average week-on-week growth in page views for the first half of 2020. Foreclosed properties also showed resilience amid the pandemic, ending at an average lead growth rate one percent higher than houses. 

For property seekers, Lamudi said location and the presence of functional and recreational amenities were main considerations in their property purchase during the first half of 2020. Given the restriction on movement, the periods covered by the quarantines also impacted the decision to buy or rent.

From January to early March, before the ECQ, properties for sale received somewhere around 63 to 66 percent of page views on Lamudi, but properties for rent, despite having fewer listings on the platform, received more inquiries at around 53 to 63 percent. This, Lamudi said, shows that property seekers have an intention to buy, but followed through with rental inquiries.

During the ECQ, interest in buying property rose to 68 to 74 percent, with property seekers continuing to inquire as well, contributing to almost 56 percent of inquiries on the platform during the ECQ.

Cities with CBDs remain popular

Photo from Lamudi

In terms of property locations, most of the leads were looking for a property to buy or rent from Quezon City, — 26 percent of the leads from January to the first half of June. Following are Makati (12 percent), Pasig (10 percent), and Taguig (nine percent), all NCR cities with a central business district.

Three CBDs are in Quezon City: Eastwood City, Araneta City, and Triangle City. Makati City’s CBD is in the Ayala Makati area. Meanwhile, Pasig City has the Ortigas Center, and Taguig City has Bonifacio Global City.

Since public transportation has been suspended from March to May and is on limited operations, property seekers may have looked for residential properties closer to their workplaces.

Since the ECQ was implemented during the summer months, properties with either a common swimming pool or have air conditioning were popular. Meanwhile, having a stable internet connection has also become a necessity during these times as virtual events and work-from-home setups are the new normal during the community quarantine.

Aside from connectivity amenities, seekers also prefer properties with balconies and common gym areas. Balconies serve as an area for activities and hobbies that the seeker may enjoy while staying at home, while common gyms are good alternatives to the commercial gyms that have closed down during the ECQ.

Thus, Lamudi said the recovery of the residential segment highlights new priorities for property seekers and reveals factors that still remain important for buyers and renters, with or without a health crisis.

“With this, the second half of 2020 may show new trends in real estate demand and preferences from property seekers who have to adapt to the rules set in place during changing community quarantines on a more long-term basis,” Lamudi said.