Colliers Insights

(First of two parts)

AS THE PHILIPPINE economy expands, the need for more economic growth corridors outside of Metro Manila emerges. As I highlighted previously, the National Government’s massive infrastructure implementation and decentralization thrust has been resulting in the creation of new economic centers in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Outside of Metro Manila, Metro Cebu offers the largest office and residential stock. Some of the tallest and most expensive structures can also be found in these two metropolitan areas. This column looks at the thriving and most exciting property markets outside of Metro Manila and Metro Cebu. I will also discuss the economic growth potential of these localities and why property firms are aggressively pursuing development opportunities. From central to southern Luzon, Colliers is also seeing vast opportunities in major urban areas in Visayas and Mindanao.

Colliers Philippines believes that the entry of national players in Davao has paved the way for substantial development of integrated communities. The National Government has lined up vital infrastructure projects in the city which, once completed, should further solidify the city’s attractiveness as a residential investment hub in Mindanao. These include the Davao Coastal Road, Davao City Bypass and the expansion and modernization of Davao Airport. Hence, developers should continue with their landbanking initiatives and capitalize on the city’s improving infrastructure backbone.

Residential developers should further test the market and even diversify and look at the viability of offering more report and/or leisure-themed projects. In our view, Davao’s competitiveness and stature as an outsourcing hub in Mindanao, backed by robust regional economic growth, should retain the city’s attractiveness for more residential projects.

What’s interesting is that Davao is also being positioned as one of the major meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) hubs in the country. This should enable the city to attract more local and foreign hotel operators beyond 2024.

Iloilo’s thriving business landscape is partly buoyed by a constantly expanding outsourcing sector which continues to attract national developers to launch more office and residential projects in the city. While residential condominium developments are concentrated in Mandurriao, Iloilo’s main business district, some developers are beginning to explore other districts in the city ripe for upscale and luxury residential developments. We encourage national players to take advantage of the city’s growing investor and end-user market that is also enjoying growing disposable incomes.

Developers should also maximize their projects’ proximity to infrastructure lined up for completion. Major public projects include the Ungka II Flyover which will traverse Pavia, Hibao-an and Buhang. The flyover is expected to reduce travel time from Iloilo City to Iloilo International Airport from 45 minutes to 20 minutes. The flyover is set to be completed in 2025.

Iloilo is one of the most competitive cities in the Philippines backed by skilled workforce and quality infrastructure backbone. I’ve also seen first-hand the city government’s proactive efforts in attracting much-needed foreign and local investments. These are among the factors why we continue to see major outsourcing firms locating and expanding in the city.

Colliers Philippines believes that Cagayan de Oro’s competitiveness as an investment hub makes the city one of the most ideal business locations in Mindanao. The city’s location makes it a key property investment destination in northern Mindanao. The city is also on the radar of outsourcing firms, making it an ideal location for residential end-use especially for outsourcing employees as well as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The Laguindingan Airport will also be expanded and modernized as it is being positioned as another international gateway. Colliers believes that this should further entice national and homegrown property firms to launch more residential projects in the city. The expansion of Laguindingan Airport should also enable the city to attract more leisure investors. In terms of hotel investments, Cagayan de Oro is definitely a city to keep an eye on.

Colliers believes that Bulacan will remain a viable residential investment option given its proximity to Metro Manila. In our view, the completion of the Metro Rail Transit-7 (MRT-7) and New Manila International Airport should strengthen Bulacan’s stature as a major residential hub outside the capital region and in Central Luzon. The MRT-7 is now nearly 70% complete and is expected to be operational by 2028. The railway project seeks to reduce travel time from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan to North Avenue, Quezon City from three hours to 35 minutes and can accommodate up to 800,000 commuters daily. Meanwhile, the New Manila International Airport, which is also due for completion in 2028, should help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Moving forward, Colliers sees more aggressive landbanking initiatives in Bulacan as developers take advantage of the locale’s major public projects due to be completed over the next two to four years. This should set the stage for greater acquisition of parcels of developable land in the province and the eventual launch and development of more masterplanned communities.

More exciting property investment destinations next week.


Joey Roi Bondoc is the director and head of Research of Colliers Philippines.