Tips and Guides

What's The Most Affordable Area In Metro Manila To Live In?

Makati, Ortigas, BGC—these commercial and business districts are popular for the convenience and cosmopolitan perks, but how much does it cost to live there? We reveal the actual costs here.

Photography: Jilson Tiu (Main Photo)

A home at the heart of any central business district (CBD), anywhere in the world, comes at a premium cost. But at what price, exactly?

Real Living dares to answer the question, at least, for the CBDs nestled in Metro Manila. By definition, a CBD is named such for its strategic location, namely for its close proximity to some of the country’s biggest offices, main thoroughfares and basic necessities: hospitals, schools, and of course, shopping centers.

Real estate consultancy firm Colliers International Philippines shared some insights on the property values of condominium units in some of the country’s biggest CBDs: Makati, Fort Bonifacio, Rockwell Center and Ortigas Center. For the first three areas, Colliers named the prices of condominium units in premium towers, or those with only around eight units per floor but can go for as high as 50 floors. As for Ortigas, the firm named the prices of Grade A condominium units or those in towers with as much as 18 units per floor with an average of 36 levels.

Since 2012, condominium towers in these CBDs have enjoyed less than 14 percent of vacancy rate, despite the lucrative price tag of each unit. All areas are also enjoying a positive trend in its property prices, meaning, there’s no better time to buy a unit than now as each piece of real estate in these financial districts appreciates in value as years go by. So if you’re thinking of investing in a property or buying a home in any of these areas, this guide can help you decide which will give the best value for your money, with the approximate cost per square meter of an average three-bedroom condo unit in each area.

Makati City: Approximately P180,000

The traffic situation can be challenging in Makati’s CBD, but you cannot deny that owning a property in this city is a bragging right in itself. After all, it remains to be the country’s main financial hub as it houses the Philippine Stock Exchange and some of the country’s biggest companies’ headquarters. The South Luzon Expressway is also nearby if one chooses to have a quick getaway.

But even when you’re no corporate executive, a piece of home in this part of the Metro Manila is a luxurious treat for someone who enjoys retail therapy and good food. Ayala Malls’ Greenbelt and Century Property’s Century Mall both have extensive store selections that any serial shopper can enjoy. It’s also one of the few walkable districts in Metro Manila, a definite rarity these days.

All of these treats come with a hefty price tag though. The average price of a three-bedroom unit in a premium condominium tower in this CBD is P180,200 per sqm. That’s 34.57 percent higher than its cost in 2012.

Bonifacio Global City: Below P170,000

Two decades ago, this area was nothing but barren land and open green areas. Today, it’s a real estate gold mine. If there’s one place in the country that got its urban planning correctly, it may be Bonifacio Global City. Many have said it before: BGC is unlike any other CBD in the country, almost like Singapore with its orderly demeanor but just like Hong Kong with its youthful vibe and charm. It runs its own bus line, jeepneys have limited access, but like Makati, traffic can get heavy. Still, it boasts state of the art skyscrapers and pockets of urban gardens. If you’re a fitness junkie, this may be an ideal CBD as it’s the most biker and runner friendly.

Food choices are also endless, as each street is dotted by remarkable restaurants and bars, manned by some of the best chefs and food groups in the country. Love shopping? Almost each of the country’s biggest shopping malls has a retail location in The Fort.

But even with all of its positives, The Fort has had the slowest value appreciation pace out of all the CBDs on this list. The average price of a three-bedroom unit in a premium condominium tower in this CBD has only surged by 29.57 percent since 2012. For 2016, it has reached P168,400 per sqm.

Rockwell Center: Approximately P200,000

This may be the smallest CBD on this list, but its area betrays the average price tag of a three-bedroom unit in any of its premium condominium towers as it can fetch for as much as Php198,000 per sqm. The price may sound ridiculous to some, especially when there’s only one shopping mall available in the area with both dining and other leisure options limited in count.

But ask any Rockwell resident, and they’re not really complaining. The privacy each condominium tower offers is enough reason for them to flock to this side of Makati, as they are strictly exclusive to either homeowners or long-time renters. It’s like Makati and The Fort, minus the heavy traffic but with style and comfort multiplied.

Ortigas Center: Below P110,000

This part of Metro Manila has been enjoying some sort of resurgence, not only in terms of property prices but in its lifestyle offerings as a whole. In the past three years, two new retail shopping malls opened in the area: Estancia and Ayala the 30th. Office towers and condominium properties have also been mushrooming around the district, and they show no sign of slowing down.

Who wouldn’t invest in Ortigas anyway? It’s at the heart of some of the biggest cities in Metro Manila: Mandaluyong, Pasig and Quezon City. This is also the only CBD on the list, which has access to two stops of the MRT-3, not to mention, enjoys a close proximity to the Metropolis’ main thoroughfares: EDSA and C-5, which makes it a commuter’s dream.

If that’s not enough to make you fall in love with its strategic location, then let its price point do the talking. Out of all CBDs mentioned here, Ortigas has had the biggest price jump since 2012 at 38.33 percent as of 2016. Still, a three-bedroom unit in one of its Grade A condominium towers is only at P107,500 per sqm, the cheapest among all the CBDs mentioned.

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