Condo or house and lot? 8 factors to help you decide

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Do you find yourself in a predicament whether to buy a house and lot or a condominium unit? Choosing a location, and determining the budget, will help you make a swift purchasing decision, but these don’t comprise all factors.

Inquirer Property asked property analysts the advantages of condominiums over house and lots, and vice versa.

Here are 8 factors your buying decision would most likely depend on:

1)Cost.
If both a condominium and a house and lot are located in the same prime area, the former is almost always cheaper, according to property analyst Enrique M. Soriano III. He added that reputable developers may even price condo units below P1 million in prime locations.

Compare this to the price range of an entry-level single-attached house and lot within Metro Manila but outside the central business districts: P1.5 million to P3 million, while mid- and high-priced houses range from P6 million to P25 million.

CB Richard Ellis Philippines’ data, on the other hand, showed that the price of a house and lot in the primary market in Metro Manila could go as high as from P22 million to P28 million.

Soriano, who is the Ateneo program director for real estate and senior adviser for Wong+Bernstein Business, said: “Developers’ relentless research and development and value re-engineering have significantly lowered construction costs that condominium price points are now comparable to the price of a low-cost house and lot.”

CBRE said that, although condominiums are recognized for their luxurious living themes, these are known to be more affordable than houses sold in most cities, such as in Manila. And unlike townhouses, condos are much more affordable.

2) Location.
In Metro Manila, the trend for prime locations has favored condominium sales, as these are the most reasonably priced residential units in the market.

CBRE Philippines said condominium projects are the most viable developments, given the limited amount of developable space in Metro Manila and in congested cities, and in cities, at least, condominium living is more practical for individuals or families.

3) Convenience and amenities.
For high-level executives in need to be located inside the business districts, living in a condominium puts them closer to the workplace, giving them the advantage of less travel time and transportation expenses.

Soriano observed that most condominiums offer amenities like pools, playgrounds, function rooms, and gyms that may be too expensive to put up in one’s own house.

He added that condo units also have 24-hour security and on-call maintenance, on top of building maintenance handled by the associations.

“Condos can also be used to earn passive income if you plan to sell or have it rented out once it’s ready.” he said.

4) Freedom of space.
On the other hand, a house and lot purchase, Soriano noted, offers more freedom in terms of area; you don’t share ownership of the property; there is no common ownership of the land (The life of a condo is only good for 50 years); once fully paid for, it is considered yours, and that no one can evict you from your place.

“A house and lot is a long-term investment that you can pass on to your children and grandchildren. Unlike condominiums, house and lots are generally more spacious,” shared Soriano.

5) Improving highways, transport systems.
Here’s another advantage going for house and lot buyers. “There’s rapid urbanization outside Metro Manila, and with the development of improved roads and highways, the provinces are now more accessible,” said Soriano.

6) High rise vs low rise.
Unlike in horizontal developments (such as subdivisions) where the risk of flooding can be higher, condos, due to their vertical nature, are rarely affected by floods.

7) Overseas Filipinos’ exposure to high-rise living.
Long-term overseas workers in areas like Singapore, Hong Kong and Middle East have grown more accustomed to condo living.

“The past 10 years saw a dramatic change in what marketers term as the UAI metrics (Usage, Attitude and Image). Fortifying UAI is the growing individual affluence and behavior of a new market that has embraced condominium living. The major drivers of this shift certainly point to the global Pinoy and the internationalization of the property sector,” said Soriano.

8) Status in life.
Empty nesters (Couples whose kids have grown up, and have moved out) will most likely purchase a condominium and sell their houses. Young professionals would also most likely lean toward a condo purchase.

By: Tessa Salazar, Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 29, 2014

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