2) What will be the legacy of COVID-19?
Working from home under the “New Normal” is going to stay. Ultimately, the legacy of COVID-19 will be felt across the residential, office and retail real estate sectors. This transformation has already begun in some areas.
The country’s largest retail developers, like SMDC and Ayala Land, have already repurposed their mall spaces into storage and e-commerce facilities. While other companies are moving away from the traditional office towers in central areas to townships in suburban locations where employees can enjoy greater convenience in a healthy environment and specially with the shortage of mass transportation.
Consumer preferences are already shifting in the residential sector, and this will continue within 2021 and beyond. Some developers have started focusing entirely on sustainable living, launching projects that provides a wide range of wellbeing amenities.
Living within integrated communities that mix residential areas with office, retail and recreational components are also expected to grow in popularity over the next 12 months.
“The ideal cities in the future will need to offer opportunities for innovations that enhance the quality of living (right balance of sustainable and cosmopolitan lifestyle); working (uncongested spaces and presence of job opportunities); playing (availability of recreational and cultural centers), and learning (talent enhancement and R&D centers),” Claro dG. Cordero, Jr., Cushman & Wakefield Director and Head of Research, told BusinessWorld.
3) What's the trend on OFW remittances?
Overseas Filipino worker (OFW) remittances are key to the Philippine property market and economy in general. It is estimated that 370,000 OFWs had returned home in 2020 with another 80,000 expected to come back during the first half of this year.
In the short term, remittances picked up towards the end of 2020 and the House of Representatives passed a measure providing discounts on remittance fees for OFWs sending money to their families.
Looking long term, a successful global rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and the loosening of travel restrictions during the year may allow OFWs to return to their jobs.
This would again increase the remittances with the Philippine property market to mostly benefit from it.
However, flat or declining remittances would mean bad news for the Philippine property market because the OFWs are the key source of potential homebuyers.
It’s still too early to tell, but this would be something that the real estate sector will be watching closely.