House and lot still the top choice for Filipinos — but millennials are choosing condos instead

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 9) Majority of Filipinos prefer to look for house and lots when they search for real estate online.

But the rise of millennials is making condominiums another popular choice, latest data from property website Lamudi showed.

Lamudi Philippines, a unit of Berlin-based Rocket Internet, garnered a total of 15 million user visits in 2017, up 20 percent from the year before, the company said in a briefing on Thursday.

Six out of 10 property hunters looked for houses. Condominiums were a far second with only 14 percent of searches, followed by raw land (12 percent) and apartments (11 percent).

Of those who searched for house and lots, 49 percent were willing to spend as much as ₱5 million. Another 35 percent were looking for homes priced up to ₱20 million.

According to data, only 13 percent of homebuyers were willing to spend up to ₱150 million for a house and lot. An even smaller 4 percent were open to going beyond that.

As for location, Quezon City was the top choice, accounting for 18 percent of properties on Lamudi Philippines. Another 12 percent were located in Makati, followed by Paranaque (8 percent), Pasig (8 percent), Taguig (7 percent) and Manila (7 percent).

"What we are seeing though is that property searches for Cebu and Davao are growing fast," Lamudi Philippines CEO Bhavna Suresh told reporters.

The cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro are also emerging locations, she added.

Millennial money

Millennials, however, are bucking these property trends.

Young Filipinos now account for about half the labor force, and their priorities are different when it comes to investing in real estate, Suresh said.

She explained, "What's happening with a lot more millennials in the picture is the searches for condominiums are increasing. They want things smaller but closer to their workplace — maybe not for large families but nuclear families."

Their preferred payment terms are also different. With smaller incomes, they typically need longer periods of time to complete their payment.

"I think the rent-to-own method is something millennials really like. They want to replace their monthly rentals with mortgage and at the end of a term, own the place they're living at," Suresh said.

Millennials are leading the growth of online platforms like Lamudi, which saw a 20 percent increase in its user visits this year. Since it launched in the Philippines in 2014, its web traffic has grown five times, Suresh said.

Property window shopping

While Filipinos will still make their final decision on a property after a personal inspection, Suresh said more and more people are choosing to do their research and "window shopping" online.

"Even if you find out from a family member that you know about a particular property, there are high chances you'll go online to try and verify it," she said.

Property developers and brokers are also seeing the value of partnering up with online platforms like Lamudi, Suresh said.

Posting their properties has become a more efficient way for them to reach their market, complementing the typical 'brick and mortar' showroom.

All major property developers are currently tied up with Lamudi, and as much as 5,000 brokers have also enlisted onto the Lamudi network, Suresh said.