DEMAND for residential property was sustained among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during the pandemic, and interest is shifting to provincial locations and cities on the outskirts of Metro Manila.

Online property marketplace Lamudi said in a report that page views and leads on its platform from interested parties based overseas have been “fairly consistent” in the first half compared with year-earlier totals.

Specifically, it said interest was sustained in areas with high concentrations of OFWs, such as the US, the Middle East, Canada, England, Australia and Japan.

Since many workplaces have resorted to working from home during the quarantine, interest in areas outside central business districts also grew during the period.

Lamudi said in the first half, leads involving provincial locations have risen from the second half of 2019, in places like Lipa (26.87% growth), Antipolo (20.24%), Calamba (37.34%), Cagayan de Oro (24.73%), Silang (18.71%), Cainta (18.34%), General Trias (30.45%), Santa Rosa (27.22%) and Imus (13.92%).

Growth in areas within the CALABARZON region, such as Calamba, General Trias, Santa Rosa and Lipa, indicates that home buyers are still keen on locations close to Metro Manila but at lower prices, Lamudi said.

In Metro Manila, the top-performing cities are also those on the fringes: Caloocan (16.58% growth in leads), Pateros (17.67%), Marikina (19.16%) and Valenzuela (35.63%).

Interest in vacant lots has also increased in the past months, especially those located in Antipolo (up 32%), Dasmariñas (31%), Taguig (30%), Santa Rosa (24%) and San Fernando (21%).

“This suggests that property seekers are not only looking for turnkey housing solutions (in the form of house and lot), but they are also willing to invest in property requiring development in the future,” Lamudi said.

The stay-at-home protocols also pushed more property buyers to be particular about home amenities such as garages and built-in wardrobes.

Other specific amenities in demand are air conditioning, internet connectivity, balconies, gardens, maid’s rooms and 24-hour security.

“The preference changes observed in 2019 have guided real estate players in making their decisions for 2020, but with the pandemic halting construction and development plans earlier in the year, there is room to realign with the new trends and priorities observed in the first half of 2020,” Lamudi said. — Denise A. Valdez