Ask for low-cost shelter high, brokers said

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has encouraged local and foreign real estate players to help the government find affordable and high-quality socialized housing for disadvantaged Filipinos.

In a keynote speech he gave to members of FIABCI Philippines at the International Forum and the Gala Night on the property and real estate award, Gatchalian recognized the crucial role of project developers in meeting the country's housing needs.

However, with reference to Colliers International, Gatchalian said that developers of private homes are much more interested in meeting the demand for high-end or luxury developments than "responding to the even greater need for cheap housing."

"The potential of the Philippine real estate sector is sky-high … there are opportunities for growth and development everywhere, but together with these opportunities are the very real threats to homelessness and inadequate shelter presented by the country's cheap housing need," Senator.

Gatchalian believes that the socialized housing sector offers a great alternative for private developers to hire, given the shortage of low-income housing in the country as reported by the Housing and Urban Development Coordination Council.

Data from HUDCC show that from 2012 the housing backlog was 1,373,981 units. HUDCC noted that the backlog of houses climbed to 1,749,408 units between 2013 and 2015. The government's highest policy-making body for housing projects could catch up to 12.5 million housing units by 2030 if they were not addressed.

Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, as amended in 2016 by Republic Act 10884 or the Balanced Housing Development Program Amendments, requires developers of proposed subdivision and condominium projects to develop an area for socialized housing equivalent to 15% of the area or total project costs for subdivisions, and 5% for condominium projects.

HUDCC Resolutions No. 1 and 2, series of 2018, requires subdivision developers to offer these units for a maximum of P480.000 to P580.000, depending on the floor area. For condominium developers, the maximum price ceiling is between P700.000 and P750.000 for those within Metro Manila, and between P600.000 and P650.000 for people outside Metro Manila.

Gatchalian stressed that the private real estate sector will be able to build their own business "while at the same time playing a direct role in building nations."

"The backlog in the Philippine housing market is something that needs to be tackled, and underprivileged Filipinos need roofing above their heads," he said.

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