Rental market landscape: on-site housing, remote work, and transit-oriented spaces



There is now a more evenly distributed market for properties to rent and buy in Metro Manila – a sign of changing applicant preferences and diverse market needs.

In the first quarter of 2021, the distribution of leads for properties to buy and properties to rent was almost even. This progression is indicative of changes in applicant priorities brought about by the pandemic, including changes in the way people approach property rental. To guide real estate sellers in the new demands of rental applicants, Lamudi is looking at three major trends in the real estate rental market during the time of Covid-19.


At the start of strict community quarantines in 2020, workers in export-oriented industries were one of the few sectors identified as priority – essential workers needed to continue face-to-face operations and keep the economy afloat. Large-scale operations in sectors such as food production, business process outsourcing and other export-related services continued to operate as is, a difficult feat given the strict checkpoints and lack of public transport. To ensure employee safety and minimize travel, many companies have provided on-site staff housing or made available large residential spaces nearby for employees, as well as shuttle services to and from the plant to designated pick-up or drop-off locations.

Demand for luxury rentals continues to grow

The share of prospects for luxury rental properties valued at P200,000 to P500,000 has increased in Luzon and the Visayas throughout the pandemic. In Luzon (outside Metro Manila), where there are many industrial factories and export processing zones, the share of prospects for properties for rent in the P 100,000 to P 200,000 range has increased in 2Q 2021 compared to the same period of the previous year. The same trend was seen in Metro Manila and the Visayas, with the leading share of properties in the same range showing slight gains from 2Q 2020 to 2Q 2021.

Demand for affordable rentals in the metro rebounds

In Metro Manila, we are seeing demand for affordable rentals rebound in 2021 as many return to the office or prefer proximity to the office as they move to more flexible hours in the new normal. Lamudi data shows a gradual recovery in leads for rental properties in the P 5,000-15,000 range, which have posted quarterly gains since Q3 2020 and have maintained a lead share above 30% since Q1 from 2021.

For those who are not yet ready to buy their own property as well as for those who are not based in the metro, renting remains the most immediately accessible option. With tenants worried about cohabiting in high-density spaces during a pandemic, real estate sellers can take advantage of amenities such as offices and workstations, outdoor recreation facilities, and updated security measures to appease worries.


The increasing openness of businesses to work-from-home facilities, the growing number of self-employed workers and the current global economic situation have caused many people to choose to work in remote positions on a permanent basis. Defined by the World Economic Forum as an economy that “involves people who balance a range of income sources and work independently, job for job”, many people in the country have chosen to become workers in the small economy. jobs.

Joining the concert economy is not just a lifestyle choice that digital nomads of the 2010s preach, but a more practical reality for many new graduates, insecure employees and reduced wages, migrants and workers. creative people who want to earn extra income during the pandemic. In an era of low hiring rates, many new graduates and those who have just left their jobs have turned to setting up small businesses and upgrading skills to access freelance online jobs to get started. to earn money.

Property seekers prioritize health, seek balance

This has partly fueled the possibility for many to work remotely from leisure destinations such as Ilocos Norte, Siargao, Palawan and even Boracay. The provinces have recognized the demand from many young professionals to work in scenic locations with plenty of long-term outdoor amenities and, in the case of Ilocos Norte, have even encouraged contractors and remote workers to relocate to their homes. shores.

According to Lamudi data, some of the most popular cities overall in the second quarter of 2021 were well-known leisure destinations or cities with easy access to nature. Baguio, Tagaytay and Antipolo have joined Quezon City and Cebu City in the ranks of cities that have attracted the most searches from property seekers.

While the cities of Metro Manila were the most sought after areas in Lamudi, leisure destinations such as Siargao, Bohol, Boracay, and Zambales are also highly sought after.

Brokers and sellers are encouraged to showcase homes that promise a more balanced lifestyle – fresh air and natural open spaces always close to shopping malls.

Real estate seekers continue to seek vacation destinations

The aforementioned leisure destinations, along with the province of Batangas and Lapu-Lapu, have racked up impressive overall growth figures in the second half of 2020 compared to the first half of the same year. In the second quarter of 2021, these leisure destinations continue to be among the most sought after places in the Philippines, perhaps attracting investors, end users and tenants.

With revenge travel fueling demand for real estate, local hotel markets encouraging long-term stays, and investors considering leisure destinations for their rental business, domestic tourism has found an unlikely promoter in remote work. Brokers and property managers in these areas should monitor tourism revival initiatives, travel requirements to vacation spots, and Department of Tourism accredited tour operators to ensure a safe and seamless travel experience for customers.


For the many people who will return to the office, a home that allows mobility like those near transit hubs is the most convenient choice. Renting a home near a bus stop or train station allows easier access to major shopping areas in Metro Manila. Lamudi’s data on proposed destinations for the Metro Manila – areas with high pedestrian traffic – shows that more real estate seekers were looking for rental properties in the second quarter of 2021. construction site in 1H2021. Despite the pandemic, data from Lamudi shows that areas such as Ortigas Avenue, West Rembo and Western Bicutan were primarily rental markets from Q1 2020 to Q2 2021 – likely due to their proximity to the CBDs of Pasig, Makati and Taguig, as well as public transport.

Besides the point-to-point bus stops available nearby, residents of these cities enjoy a certain variety in terms of transportation options. Ortigas Avenue has access to the MRT-3 line and soon MRT-4. West Rembo is close to the BGC-Ortigas Bridge and between Guadalupe and San Joaquin Ferry Stations. Meanwhile, western Bicutan is home to the Philippine National Railway – FTI Station.

Many residents of these areas can access these transportation options by motorbike, foot or bicycle to minimize transfers. The efforts of advocates for alternative mobility in the metro have played a central role in improving the experience and quality of life for commuters.

Real estate brokers and landlords should prepare for a possible return to work

Homeowners would do well to keep their properties in these areas, as land values ​​appreciate once the metro project is completed. In the meantime, if residing there isn’t the best option, landlords can rent the property to young professionals, small businesses, and even BPO businesses in need of staff housing depending on type and size. of the owner’s property.

With the arrival of more vaccines, a significant proportion of workers who had returned to their home province during the pandemic could return to the metro in search of accommodation close to the workplace. As such, real estate brokers and managers should be prepared to respond to applicants online – this is where applicants will research potential homes and complete the necessary transactions. With on-site visits and eye inspections unavailable to them, property seekers will favor transparent, high-quality online listings along with attentive customer service.

Virtual tours, quality photos, responsive online customer service and transparent processes show the professionalism of the owner or real estate broker and help improve the online real estate rental experience.


The rise of online learning and distance working is opening up new rental markets and value creation opportunities in local economies that are still recovering from the affected travel industry. To sum up, here’s a recap of our main ideas:

Mid-rise condos, multi-bedroom homes, and other types of private residential accommodation present attractive options for businesses looking for staff accommodation or on-site accommodation close to their office.

The self-employed and teleworkers are looking for long-term accommodation outside the metro. Those with vacation rentals can pivot to meet this demand by adding work-from-home essentials such as high-speed internet, as well as providing assistance with travel needs.

Finding safe and accessible housing is always a priority for many tenants who return to work in the metro. As many will always be looking for properties in the safety of their home province before considering the move, brokers should be present online to respond to rental inquiries.

The future of work is not purely distant or completely returned to the old normality of daily face-to-face interaction. With offices more open to different styles of work, the city will experience new worker-traveler schedules – some alternating between home and office every two weeks, others crossing regional borders, and many choosing temporary accommodation in locations. areas are expected to benefit from near-completed infrastructure projects. The way workers work is changing, as is the way they live. (RP)


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