Philippines property market gap opens up

US economic woes are affecting a key sector of the Philippines property market but it is hoped the shortfall will soon be picked up by increasingly affluent Filipinos seeking investment opportunities as well as new overseas investors.

The number of Philippines properties being bought by Filipinos based in the US and other countries has began to fall because of the global credit crunch. 'It is a blow but there are new investment clients out there,' said Beth Collingz, International Marketing Director for PLC Global, a company specializing in condos and investments in the Philippines.

'New investors are looking to replace failed pension plans and other future saving schemes with a solid investment in real estate. Many are looking for investments that will give them an income for retirement. Savvy investors are now looking for a more solid investment with potential for monthly income,' she added.

There are also indications that the Russians may take up some of the slack. First-time Russian overseas buyers are now looking at South-East Asia and particularly the Philippines. According to statistics from the Philippines Department of Tourism, the country was able to attract some 12,000 Russian visitors last year.

Overall visitor numbers are growing. Airlines are reporting record numbers. For example, the country's flagship Philippine Airlines registered the highest number of international passengers ever last year – 3.38 million, up from 3.05 million in 2006.

Most interest is in the Makati financial district in Manila but high rise condominiums and apartment hotel complexes are also proving popular.

Overseas property specialists David Stanley Redfern Ltd has predicted sustained growth of at least 24% per year in the Philippines, for at least the next 5 years.

However the Philippines is undiscovered as far as British and many European investors are concerned, according to Knight Knox International. Yet because of its close links to the US English is widely spoken and it is well regarded for its beaches and diving.

'Buying property here is easier than many people think and investment from overseas is growing, especially in the resort areas and Manila itself where rental potential is good,' a spokesman said.