Students, particularly children of overseas Filipino workers and affluent households and those from foreign countries, are proving to be an attractive market for residential property developers, in addition to employees of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators and the business process outsourcing industry and other professionals.
“Colliers believes that a mix of demand from offshore gaming employees and local professionals is helping sustain the Metro Manila residential market, partly driving demand for other segments such as dormitories that cater to professionals and students,” Joey Roi H. Bondoc, senior research manager at Colliers International Philippines, a real estate consultancy, was quoted as saying in a BusinessWorld report published earlier this year.
A growing number of developers are building high-rise condominiums and dormitories near schools with large student populations, like those in the capital city of Manila and Quezon City and other urban areas, where traffic problems are chronic and intractable.
Torre Lorenzo Development Corp. (TLDC) is one of the most notable players in the student-centric real estate sector today. Established in 2000, it is behind such properties as Torre Lorenzo Tower, 2Torre Lorenzo and Torre Central in Manila. The first two are situated near De La Salle University (DLSU), and the latter is a few minutes away from the University of Santo Tomas.
One of the firm’s latest projects is Torre Lorenzo Loyola, which is currently being built in Quezon City, in close proximity to Ateneo de Manila University, Miriam College and University of the Philippines Diliman. “We are expanding our footprint in this vital space as part of our pursuit to sustain the high standards we have long set for our student accommodations. Our upscale university residence strives to upgrade the quality of life of university students in the Philippines,” Tomas P. Lorenzo, president and chief executive officer of TLDC.
But the residences of TLDC are not only targeted to local students but to foreign students as well, whose numbers steadily grew from 2015 to 2017, according to available government data. Mr. Lorenzo said, “TLDC also wants to capitalize on this growing trend by making our properties the top choice for foreign students pursuing their education here in the country.”
Another property developer, Federal Land, Inc., through its unit Horizontal Land Property Development Corp., launched last year its Quantum Residences project on Taft Avenue in Pasay City. It will consist of three towers, each having 35 floors, and is being constructed on a 5,960-square-meter lot. It is located near a number of big tertiary institutions, including DLSU, Philippine Women’s University and Arellano University.
“The dormitory is for sale. It’s used as a dormitory, but it’s actually units for sale that’s designed for students. That will mostly be studio types,” Carmelo Maria Luza Bautista, president of GT Capital Holdings, Inc., said at a media briefing in August of last year. Federal Land is the property arm of GT Capital.
The development will offer 2,693 units, ranging in size from 21.50 square meters to 49 square meters. There will be studio, one- and two-bedroom types. Aside from students, these units are also aimed at start-up families and young professionals.
Back in 2017, SM Development Corp. (SMDC) unveiled its three-tower development Green 2 Residences in Dasmariñas, Cavite, in order to take advantage of the large student population there. This development will occupy roughly 1.6 hectares of land.
“… Green 2 is our first project in Cavite. We are inspired by the success of our school hub projects, starting with Sun Residences in University Belt, Blue Residences in Ateneo, Green in La Salle, and these have had very strong rental income for our buyers,” Jose Mari H. Banzon, executive vice-president at SMDC, said at a media round table last year.
Three tertiary schools in the Dasmariñas — DLSU Dasmariñas, De La Salle Health Sciences Institute and Emilio Aguinaldo College Cavite — have an estimated population of 20,000 students. According to a BusinessWorld report, SMDC expected that population to grow by 2% annually. SMDC calls areas like this in the city “University Towns.”
“There are two ways of investing in the area and leasing out the business. If you have a unit, you can rent it out to students for a long-term lease, you can serve the college population… We also have an alternative market for short-term lease rates… for faculty members that are visiting, doctors and nursing staff, parents of visiting children, conferences and seminars in the campus,” Mr. Banzon said.