If you are to be asked: What is the least expensive type of housing today, a single detached house, a townhouse or a condominium unit? What will your answer be?
Condominium towers, many in the process of construction, are scattered all over Metro Manila. Majority of these condominium projects are targeted towards what one developer calls the premium middle class market. These are priced between 2 million and 6 to 7 million for a three-bedroom unit. The high demand for this type of condominium is indicative, in part, of their “affordability.” But their affordability doesn’t mean they are the least expensive
Affordability means that something is within reach of one’s financial means but it doesn’t mean it is reasonably priced.
When looking for a house, don’t dwell on the total price, focus, instead on the price per square meter or floor area of the house.
A one-bedroom condominium unit in Grass Residences behind SM North Edsa with a floor area of 24.67 square meters sells for P2,467,000 or P100,000 per square meter. A 2-bedroom unit that measures 45.46 square meter sells for P4,656,000 or P102, 419 per sqm. This condominium development has 2,000 units per tower and a car slot costs around P500,000.
The reason why condominium units are priced so high is because a buyer pays not just for his unit. Part of his payment goes to the construction of amenities, open spaces and the common areas.
The big down side to buying a condo is you own the land on which the building stands in common with the other 1999 unit owners.
I was once told by a developer that a condominium is the most profitable housing to build. With a very small land to build on, he said, if a developer builds a 300-unit condominium tower on it, he breaks even if he sells the first 100 units. The remaining 200 units are profit. This may be an exaggeration, but given the propensity of developers in building condos, perhaps he is correct to a certain degree.
On the other hand, middle class townhouse units cost half and you get to own the lot on which your unit stands.
In my most recent post about Villa Zentossa, all the units are single-attached or duplex wherein two units are partitioned by a firewall in the middle. A basic unit with one-car garage, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a floor area of 85.24 is priced at P4,546,720. Thus unit price is P53,340 per sqm.
In another townhouse community (that I will write about soon) in Quezon city, a basic single attached unit has 2 bathrooms, 1 powder room, a family room and 3 bedrooms. It has a floor area of 139 sqm and sells for P7,500,000 or a unit price of P53,956 per sqm or almost the same price as Villa Zentossa’s.
Single Detached House and Lot
Although this one is in Antipolo City and not as accessible as the previous examples, it’s still worth knowing how it measures up.
It has a 3-car garage, 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms, plenty of closet spaces in all bedrooms and a nifty kitchen. It has a floor area of 140 sqm and priced at P5,400,000. Unit price, therefore, is P38,571 per sqm.
The middle housing market in the Philippines can be likened to the supermarket industry. The ordinary Pinoy buys “tingi” or piecemeal in small packs not because they are reasonably priced but because they are affordable; they are within easy reach of his financial means. He gets what he wants, albeit at a small quantity and at a higher unit price but he doesn’t spend all his money by buying in bulk where the real savings are.
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