RESIDENTIAL prices rose at a faster clip in the first quarter from a year ago and from October-December 2018, fueled by increases for condominiums and townhouses that offset reductions for single detached/attached houses and for duplex units, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported late on Friday, citing movements of its Residential Real Estate Price Index (RREPI) that tracks the average change in prices of various types of housing units based on bank housing loan data.

On an annual basis, overall housing prices rose by 3.1% in the first quarter, compared to 2.1% a year ago and October-December’s nearly flat 0.5%, according to RREPI data attached to a BSP press release.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, overall prices increased by 1.6%, turning around from a year-ago 0.9% dip and faster than the 1.3% increase clocked in last year’s concluding quarter.

In terms of housing type, prices of condominiums led the increase with a 10.9% annual increment, compared to two percent a year ago and 0.6% in October-December 2018.

Townhouses followed a 9.6% overall hike in prices that was nevertheless slower than the 13.8% clocked a year ago and October-December 2018’s 11.4%.

Increases for these two categories offset an eight percent drop in prices of duplex units that was a reversal of the year-ago 44.2% surge and bigger than the 3.7% drop in last year’s concluding quarter, as well as a 1.7% fall in prices of single detached /attached houses that was bigger than the year-ago 0.6% dip but smaller than October-December’s 1.9% reduction.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, duplex units led the increase with a 22.5% surge that was slower than the year-ago 28.2% but was still a turnaround from a 14.5% fall in October-December last year.

Townhouses followed with a 3.5% increment that was slower than the year-ago 5.2% but slower than fourth-quarter 2018’s 1.7%.

Single detached/attached houses came next with a 2.9% increase that was largely steady from the year-ago 2.7% and a turnaround from October-December’s one-percent fall, while condominium prices edged up by just 0.7% that was nevertheless a turnaround from a year-ago 8.7% fall but was much slower than the four percent increase recorded in 2018’s final quarter.

Metro Manila residential property prices increased by 8.7% annually overall in the first quarter, faster than 2.7% a year ago and the 1.6% recorded in last year’s concluding quarter, fueled by 11.6%, 1.8% and one percent increases for condominiums, townhouses and single detached/attached houses, respectively that offset a 65.9% plunge for duplex units.

The picture was different in areas outside the National Capital Region (NCR), where prices edged up by a nearly flat 0.4% overall in the first quarter that was slower than the year-ago 0.9% increment but was a turnaround from October-December’s 0.8% reduction.

In the provinces, townhouses led the increase with a 13.9% hike, followed by duplex units’ 7.8% and condominiums’ 6.8% that offset a 1.8% drop for single detached/attached houses.

The BSP added that, in the first quarter, about 74% of residential real estate loans (RRELs) were for acquisition of new housing units, particularly single detached units (46.2%), condominiums (44.5%) and townhouses (8.6%).

By area, most of such loans in Metro Manila were for the purchase of condominiums, while those outside NCR were for single detached houses.

By region, Metro Manila accounted for 42.5% of the total RRELs in the first quarter, followed by the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon or CALABARZON region just south of Metro Manila that is the country’s main industrial hub (28.5%), Central Luzon (9.1%), Central Visayas (6.5%), Western Visayas (4.4%), Davao Region (2.6%) and Northern Mindanao (two percent).

Metro Manila and these six other regions accounted for 95.6% of total housing loans granted by banks in the first quarter.

BSP Circular No. 892, dated Nov. 16, 2015, requires all 46 universal and commercial banks as well as 53 thrift banks in the Philippines to submit a quarterly report on all RRELs granted for the generation of the RREPI. — with RJNI