Philippine Real Estate News – September 2016


hello everyone,

here’s some select articles about Philippine Real Estate and our Economy from various newspaper correspondents that matters for your reference.

from Expat Insider :

The Best & Worst Places for Expats in 2016


The newcomer Taiwan is this year’s winner, followed by an aspiring Malta, while Ecuador only just retains its place on the podium. Kuwait, Greece, and Nigeria remain at the bottom of the pack.
  • Taiwan named best expat destination in the world
  • Malta pushes Mexico off the podium
  • Taiwan and Malta perform well in all areas of expat life
  • Ecuador loses ground in terms of Working Abroad and Quality of Life
  • Kuwait, Greece, and Nigeria remain last on the list

Expat Destinations: The Top Ten for 2016

Top Expat Destinations 2016 — infographic?

Embed this image on your website:

Taiwan: Out with the Old, in with the New

The newcomer Taiwan has ousted two-time champion Ecuador to win this year’s survey. In addition to claiming 1st place out of 67 countries in the overall ranking, it is in the top ten for every individual index! Taiwan holds first place in the Quality of Life and Personal Finance Indices, impressing with the quality and affordability of its healthcare and the enviable financial situation of expats living there.

The Asian Tiger scores second place in the Working Abroad Index. Over one-third of expats in Taiwan (34%) are completely satisfied with their jobs, more than double the global average of 16%. Expats are similarly enthusiastic about their work-life balance (30%) and job security (34%).

This small island country also holds second place for overall satisfaction with life abroad, with 93% voicing their general contentment. Only Spain has higher ratings here. It comes as no surprise then, that a majority of expats in Taiwan (64%) plan to stay there longer than three years; with more than half of these (36% in total) even considering staying there forever.

Taiwan performs worst in the Ease of Settling In Index, although it still comes in a respectable tenth. Here, its first place in the Friendliness subcategory is evened out by much lower results in the Language subcategory, where it only comes in 45th. Nine in ten expats give the friendliness of local residents towards foreigners a positive rating, compared to only 65% worldwide. However, the language barrier does pose some problems. Only 23% overall agree that learning the local language is easy (global 37%) and about one-third (32%) are of the opinion that living in Taiwan without learning at least some of the local tongue is problematic. It seems that many expats anticipated this challenge, with 35% naming the language barrier as a possible disadvantage they thought about before the move.

Taiwan is the only country in the top three with enough expats living abroad with their dependent children for it to feature in the Family Life Index, coming in 8th out of 45 countries. In fact, 43% of the respondents there have dependent children living with them, over twice the global average of 21%. It does best in terms of the friendly attitude towards families with children, with 58% rating this as very good (39% worldwide). However, for both childcare and education, only 3% of expat parents completely agree that these are easy to afford.

Malta: Fun in the Sun

Malta, a newcomer in last year’s survey, has moved up one spot to claim second place, thus pushing Mexico, last year’s second-place winner, off the podium completely, but only down to fourth place. Similar to Taiwan, Malta is also in the top ten for every index that factors into the overall ranking.

This Mediterranean country performs best in the Ease of Settling In Index, coming in fourth place. It is first in terms of settling down, getting used to the local culture, and making new friends. Over four in ten expats (41%) say it is very easy to settle down in Malta, well over twice the global average of 16%.

Malta fell from first place to fifth this year in the Working Abroad Index. It seems that expats working there are not as pleased with their work-life balance as they were in 2015, with only 22% completely satisfied (vs. 27% in 2015), which is still slightly above the global average of 17%. This is despite, or perhaps due to, the fact that 28% are part-time workers.

In the Personal Finance Index, Malta has made a quite significant jump, from 42nd to 6th place. One-quarter of respondents even quote complete satisfaction with their financial situation (global 15%). This is despite the fact that one-third of working expats say their income is generally lower than back home.

Malta holds sixth place in the Quality of Life Index, with exceptional ratings for the climate and weather. Three-quarters of expats say they couldn’t be more pleased with it, and not a single respondent has something negative to say! With such glowing results, it’s perhaps no surprise that almost half the expats in Malta are planning to stay forever (49%), significantly higher than the global average of 31%.

Ecuador: Struggling Economy, Sinking Ratings

After two years at first place, Ecuador has lost its crown. Nevertheless, it has still retained a spot on the podium with its third place in 2016. It saw losses in each index, some more striking than others.

Ecuador lost the most ground in the Working Abroad Index. In 2014 it ranked 5th out of 61 and in 2015 it held 7th out of 64, but this year it comes in at a very mediocre 30th out of 67 countries. This is mostly due to its dismal finish in the Job Security subcategory, where it comes in 50th place (it was 22nd in 2015). Overall, only half of expats in Ecuador are satisfied with their level of job security, just under the global average of 56%. Even worse, only 6%, about one-third of the global average of 17%, believe the state of Ecuador’s economy to be very good. As oil is Ecuador’s key export, its low price has had adverse effects on the economy. While occurring after the survey was conducted, the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck in April 2016 has not helped matters since.

In the Personal Finance Index, Ecuador saw a slight drop from first place in 2014 and 2015 to third place in 2016. Despite the dreary state of the economy, 27% of expats there are very happy with their financial situation, almost double the global average of 15%. This may be because 41% of survey respondents in Ecuador are retirees and may not be relying on Ecuador’s economy for their income. This assumption is bolstered by the fact that only 13% of retirees were living in Ecuador prior to their retirement.

The Quality of Life Index is another area where Ecuador lost ground this year, with a drop to 18th place from 2nd. Only 22% of this year’s respondents feel very safe in Ecuador (38% worldwide) and an average percentage (69% vs. 63% globally) are satisfied with the transport infrastructure. The country continues to rank well for the quality (30%) and affordability of healthcare (31%), however, with around three in ten considering both factors excellent against global rates of 23% and 21%.

Ecuador’s eighth place in the Ease of Settling In Index helps its overall ranking, as does its third place for how satisfied expats are with life abroad in general there. One-quarter couldn’t be happier, compared to only 15% globally who feel the same about life in their host country.

The Bottom Three: No Surprises Here

The three countries at the end of the list in 2016 have remained stable: Kuwait, Greece, and Nigeria. Kuwait has remained steadily at the bottom for three years running. It even managed to go down in each index this year, most notably in the Working Abroad and Personal Finance Indices.

Greece also came in second to last in 2015 while in 2014 it held the third to last spot. It did better in the Ease of Settling In Index this year (up to 27th from 41st) but worse in all the other indices that factor into the overall ranking. It’s now last place for the Working Abroad and Personal Finance Indices and ranks a dismal 43rd out of 45 countries in the Family Life Index.

Nigeria also came in third to last in 2015, and in 2014 it was fifth to last. This year it holds last place for the Quality of Life and the Cost of Living Indices. Compared to 2015, it does slightly better in the Ease of Settling In Index this year (from 42nd to 39th place), but much worse in the Personal Finance Index (from 10th to 32nd).

from :

Land titling process cut down to 5 days from 6 months

The Land Administration and Management System is ‘designed for quick and easy processing, tracking and retrieval of land information’

File photo from John Novis/Greenpeace

 File photo from John Novis/Greenpeace

MANILA, Philippines – The environment department’s Land Management Bureau (LMB) recently launched a new system that will cut down the approval of land surveys to 5 working days, instead of the previous processing time of 6 months to 1 year.

The LMB formally launched the Land Administration and Management System (LAMS), a computerized information system that consolidates land data and records in the country.

“The system is designed for quck and easy processing,  tracking and retrieval of land information,” the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said in a statement on Wednesday, September 14.

According to LMB Director Emelyne Talabis, the new system also guarantees land tenure security for every Filipino.

LMB said the new system has 4 components:

  • public land application – evaluates, processes, and approves land application; provides efficient storage, analysis, and monitoring to prevent issuance of duplicate titles
  • inspection, verification and approval of survey – designed to track verification and approval process of the survey at regional level; involves digital submission of survey returns to digital land survey data
  • e-survey plan – allows client, through an accredited geodetic engineer, to submit the survey application online for faster verification of boundaries
  • client-transaction monitoring – clients can keep track of status of land survey and application electronically through LAMS kiosks located in DENR regional offices, by text, or via the Internet; eliminates personal contact between client and LMB personnel, thus preventing incidents of corruption

Approved survey data are saved on the digital cadastral database. The database has the textual information of the lot and its scanned image.

The LMB under the environment department is the government agency responsible for the administration, survey, management and disposition of alienable and disposable lands and other public lands not placed under the jurisdiction of other government agencies. –

from ABS-CBN News:

Gov’t urged to stop ‘Colorum’ Real Estate Agents


MANILA – Government should stop unlicensed real estate brokers who do not pay the correct taxes, the country’s largest real estate service organization said Monday.

The industry loses an estimated P12 billion per year because of the “colorums” or illegal sellers, Rey Cartojano, national chair of the Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards said.

“There should be strong move from regulatory agencies to put a stop to this practice,” Cartojano told ANC’s “Market Edge with Cathy Yang.”

Regulators are urged to monitor websites and social media, where most of the illegal sales are posted, Cartojano said.

“These people should be warned that they cannot just sell property if they are not owner and if they do not have the necessary license issued by the Professional Regulation Commission,” he said.

Under the Real Estate Service Act, real estate brokers are required to obtain a license and pass the board exam before any transaction.

from Bloomberg TV Philippines correspondent, Bimbo Santos

IMF to upgrade PHL Growth Forecast file photo of the Makati central business district and the bustling “Tiger City” Mandaluyong.

MANILA – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is set to raise its 6% percent full-year GDP forecast for 2016.

IMF Resident Representative to the Philippines Shanaka Jayanath Peiris told Bloomberg TV Philippines the upgrade is primarily on account of better-than-expected growth of 7 percent in the second quarter.

According to Peiris, “the way things are developing right now, we see that growth could be stronger, but we are now doing our annual assessment discussions on the Philippines in Washington DC tomorrow, so we will be releasing a new forecast and a new assessment on the economy very soon.”

Given that the second-quarter GDP was stronger than expected, and all the signs indicate the economy is doing very well – “the leading indicators are pretty strong as well” –  it is reasonable to expect that the forecast GDP will be revised “this year and maybe next year,” Peiris said.

The engines of growth such as consumer spending and investments will continue to fuel the economy, he added.

“If you look at the consumption side, consumer confidence for the third quarter also came in at an all-time high,” he said, noting surging car sales – “which is also an indicator, even though it is not the best, not the full measure of retail sales but gives one an idea that consumer is still very strong.”

On the investment side, said Peiris, public investment is doing quite strongly, while capital goods imports had been “quite strong” until last month. There are also indications even from the construction sector that “the investment cycle remains quite robust.”

Peiris added that domestic demand is “very, very strong and it’s only external demand that is contractionary.” But then, “that is a regional phenomenon and we see the global economy to pick up as well.”

While the IMF’s previous forecast was at the lower-end of the government’s 6 to 7 percent target for the year, BPI economist Nicholas Mapa agreed with Peiris that growth this year should be within the bank’s 6.4 percent estimate.

“We continue to have very strong fundamentals, our consumption-driven economy remains very stable. Remittance flows, even if they are slowing, [could post] 3% growth for the year, but it’s still a constant $2.2 billion a month, so that continues to provide peso purchasing power which feeds into consumption and investments,” Mapa said.

Still, Mapa cautioned there might be a slight slowdown in the second half of this year, as the economic benefits from election spending dissipate.

from correspondent, Angela Celis :


Total foreign investments (FI) approved in the first half of the year rose 14.8 percent to P66.6 billion from P58 billion, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

In the second quarter, FI increased 11.5 percent to P40.4 billion from P36.2 billion.

The PSA said the top three prospective investing countries for the second quarter of 2016 are Singapore, Japan and South Korea.


Pledges from Singapore amounted to P10.2 billion or 25.1 percent of the total approved FI. Japan and South Korea committed P7.1 billion and P5.1 billion, or 17.5 percent share and 12.7 percent share, respectively.

Manufacturing continued to be the industry that would receive the largest committed foreign investments, amounting to P14.2 billion or 35.3 percent share.

Construction was the second top recipient of investments, with pledges valued at P8.2 billion or 20.4 percent share. This is followed by administrative and support service activities with P6.2 billion which shared 15.4 percent to the total FI.

In terms of location, bulk of the approved FI are intended to finance projects in Region IVA or CALABARZON, reaching P15.9 billion or 39.3 percent share.

The next highest investments would go to projects in Region VII-Central Visayas at P7.2 billion or 17.8 percent share. The National Capital Region or Metro Manila followed with P7.1 billion or 17.7 percent share.

Meanwhile, the approved investments of foreign and Filipino nationals amounted to P177.7 billion during the second quarter an increase of 97.5 percent compared to last year’s P90 billion.

from :



Improved Titling to put Idle lands to better use

The government has expressed concern over the lack of secure property titles in the country, which has prevented numerous land parcels from being used for more economically viable purposes.

Ernesto Pernia, National Economic and Development Authority director general, said at the Chamber of Thrift Banks General Membership Meeting yesterday one of the points included in the government’s 10-point agenda is improvement in land administration.

“That means we need to improve our titling of lands. A lot of lands in agriculture are not really titled, so they cannot be used as collateral or cannot be sold or leased, so that some big businessmen can buy small pieces of land… and make it more economically viable,” Pernia said.

“So that is a constraint and that has to be addressed by better land administration,” he added.

Pernia said farmers should also be allowed to sell whatever land they are awarded, and it has to be property-titled so it becomes transactionable.

“Also, the other problem is that COA (Commission on Audit) has been warning potential investors or builders not to build on or buy untitled property. So at the Cabinet meeting, we discussed this issue, and the President said we will call the COA chairman, and tell him, you better do something about this roadblock, for investment in agriculture (to flourish),” Pernia said.

“In fact, Vice President Leni Robredo was also there, and she was complaining that she could not build houses in many areas that they would like to build on for housing because they are untitled, they just have the tax declaration, but that is not enough for COA,” he added.

An Asian Development Bank (ADB) report released last year said as of 2007, the latest data available, about 46 percent of the country’s 24.2 million land parcels remained untitled. In comparison, in Vietnam about 90 percent of land parcels are registered.

Of the untitled land parcels, 70 percent or 7.8 million are residential.

The report, Building Modern Land Administration Systems, said the big volume of untitled land weakens security of tenure, opens the system to abuse and hampers the efficient flow of commerce, as land cannot be bought and sold without titles.

The limited supply of land and increase in population will also lead to conflicts in land use and ownership because of blurred titling.

“There are no quick fixes to land tenure problems. Building a modern land administration system is a colossal endeavor because legislation, organizational structures, financial mechanisms and technical guidance are closely interconnected and subject to the vagaries of political processes,” the report stated.

“In the Philippines, excepting unlikely, favorable circumstances in both the House of Representatives and Senate, improvements can only be achieved in the long term (15 to 20 years),” it added.

To build a modern land administration system, ADB said policy issues should be tackled first, but policy goals cannot be achieved unless there is a functioning land administration infrastructure with up-to-date and accessible information technology.

Last April, Benjamin Diokno, now Budget secretary of the Duterte administration, said this issue is critical and deserves the full and immediate attention of the President.

“Untitled land is roughly equivalent to ‘dead’ capital. Individual or firm owner of untitled land cannot be mortgaged by its owner to raise capital for investment purposes. Yet credit availability is cited by entrepreneurs and businessmen as one of difficulties in doing business in the Philippines,” Diokno had said.

“Relatedly, in agrarian reform, most of the titles of land units are in collective, not individual form. But collective titles have no value as far as banks and other financial institutions are concerned. Ergo, widespread untitling of land has serious negative impact on production and income redistribution,” he added.


Visit for blogs, news, case studies and property listings which you may find informative.

Subscribe to my daily postings by filling in your email address at the SUBSCRIBE section located at the mid right hand portion of the webpage of

View properties you are looking for by using the SEARCH engine ( highlighted in Green on the right hand corner of the webpage ).

Finally, should you have a property for SALE or LEASE, let me know if our office could be of assistance.

Thank you.

Robert G. Sarmiento Properties
Professional Affiliation :
Philippine Association of Real Estate Brokers
Member, City of Taguig Real Estate Board 2016
Real Estate Broker’s Association of the Philippines
President, Greenhills Chapter 2008, 2009
Philippine Association of Real Estate Brokers
San Juan Mandaluyong Chapter 1998, 1999
PRC # 6569
AIPO # 000897
02 5148481 ( direct line )
+ 632 5536051 ( trunkline )
+ 632 4781316 ( telefax )
+ 632 8561365 ( line 3 )
+ 632 8041701 ( line 4 )
+ 63 917 5364829 ( globe )
Email : [email protected]
Website :

Leave a Reply

Compare listings