Property report: Rentals on the rise again

October 4, 2021

Clients looking for rentals and their needs have diversified as the market has adapted to the new-normal settings in living and working.

According to a report by property expert Lamudi (, the first quarter of 2021 saw the distribution of leads for properties to buy and properties to rent as nearly equal. This reflects the change in priorities among home seekers because of the uncertainty and the changes in work, schooling and business arrangements brought by the pandemic.

Lamudi gives its insights on three major trends in the real estate rental market in the time of Covid-19.

REVENGE travelers are looking into Siargao for their work-from-the-beach setup. / photograph courtesy of unsplash/JAKE IRISH

1.On-site housing as a health and safety strategy
The share of leads for luxury properties to rent worth P200,000 to P500,000 increased in Luzon and Visayas throughout the pandemic. In Luzon (outside Metro Manila), where many industrial plants and export processing zones are located, the share of leads for properties to rent within the P100,000 to P200,000 range increased in 2Q 2021 from the same period a year before. The same trend was observed in Metro Manila and in Visayas, with the lead share for properties within the same range posting slight gains from 2Q 2020 to 2Q 2021.

In Metro Manila, the demand for affordable rentals bounces back in 2021, as many return to the office or prefer proximity to the office as they transition to more flexible schedules in the new normal. Lamudi data shows a gradual recovery in leads for rental properties within the P5,000-P15,000 range, which showed quarter-on-quarter gains since 3Q 2020 and has sustained a lead share above 30 percent since the first quarter of 2021.

For those not quite ready to purchase their own property yet as well as for many not based in the Metro, renting remains to be the more immediately accessible option. With renters worried about co-living in high-density spaces during a pandemic, property sellers can leverage amenities such as study and work stations, open air leisure facilities and updated safety measures to ease any concerns.

2.Growing openness to remote work culture
The growing agility among companies and their team members to do work-from-home set-ups, increasing number of freelancers, and current global economic situation have driven many to opt to work in permanently remote positions. Defined by the World Economic Forum as an economy that “involves people who balance a range of income streams and work independently, job by job,” many in the country have chosen to become gig economy workers.

Joining the gig economy is not only a lifestyle choice that the digital nomads of the 2010s preach but a more practical reality for many fresh graduates, employees with little security and reduced wages, migrants, and creatives who wish to earn extra income during the pandemic. During a time when hiring rates are low, many fresh graduates and those freshly out of a job have turned to putting up small businesses and upskilling to enter freelance online-based jobs in order to start earning.

This has somewhat inspired Filipinos raring to travel to work remotely from leisure destinations such as Ilocos Norte, Siargao, Palawan and even Boracay. Provinces have recognized the demand from many young professionals to work from scenic places with plenty of outdoor amenities long term, and in the case of Ilocos Norte, have even incentivized for entrepreneurs and remote workers to put up shop on their shores.

According to Lamudi data, some of the most sought-after cities overall in the second quarter of 2021 were renowned leisure destinations or cities with easy access to nature. Baguio, Tagaytay and Antipolo joined Quezon City and Cebu City in the ranks as the cities which attracted the most searches overall from property seekers.

3. As offices reopen, mobility becomes a priority
For the many that will be returning to the office, a home that enables mobility such as those close to mass transport hubs is the most practical choice. Renting a home near a bus stop or rail station allows for easier access to key commercial areas across Metro Manila. Lamudi data on proposed Metro Manila Subway destinations -— areas with major foot traffic — shows that more property seekers were looking into rental properties in the second quarter of 2021. “Rent to own” was the top searched non-location specific term on the site in 1H2021. In spite of the pandemic, Lamudi data shows that areas such as Ortigas Avenue, West Rembo and Western Bicutan were primarily rental markets from 1Q 2020 to 2Q 2021 – likely due to their proximity to CBDs in Pasig, Makati and Taguig, as well as mass transit.

With more vaccines arriving, a sizable share of workers who had moved back to their home provinces during the pandemic may be returning to the metro in search of accommodations close to the workplace. As such, brokers and property managers must be prepared to cater to seekers online – that is where seekers will be searching potential homes and making the necessary transactions. With on-site tours and ocular inspections not accessible to them, property seekers will put a premium on transparent and high-quality online listings as well as attentive customer service.