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The worldest largest Chinatown Arch, Manila, Phillipines

Real Estate in Philippines

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: People living in Philippines offer advice about real estate. How do you find a home in Philippines? Should you buy or rent? What is the cost of housing?

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How do I find a place to live in Philippines?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"We found a corner 2br condo (pool) on facebook under Davao House Rent. The neighborhood is central to most things; malls, easy taxi service, resto’s, Security is a must. Remember expats cannot own land. That is important if you are going to build," said another person in Davao .

"Accommodation is in abundance, but safety was key when I was looking for a house. After much research, I found a lovely house in a well guarded sub-division called Timog Park Homes," added another expat who made the move to Angeles City.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Philippines?

"Fairly typical for city life; 2br condo, weight room, pool, kiddie pool, wifi, AC, hot water, furnished, elevators. Most expats have either a decent condo with amenities, build/buy a house or rent in subdivisions. Some choose the subdivisions with clubhouse and pool. Those are more room, usually also furnished with wifi. We had a house for a year. It was nice but more money and it usually takes a car. That means driver's license at the DMV (LTO here), insurance, repairs, gas and all the other goodies. You can taxi anywhere in Davao for $5. It's a consideration," remarked another member in Davao .

"It's a beautiful two bedroom house with a large kitchen, garden and two bathrooms. Ideal for a small family and a lot of expats live there too," explained one expat living in Angeles City, Philippines.

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What is the average cost of housing in Philippines?

If you are thinking about moving to Philippines, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Housing costs run about 40% of US prices and are usually furnished with linens and silverware (flatware). Most have a few cups and plates to get you going, a rice cooker, micro, fridge and a pot and pan are almost always included! We buy a few things as we need them," remarked another member in Davao .

"I found a lovely home which had all we needed, and more, at a fraction of the rental costs in Germany. We paid a mere U.S.$ 180 per month for this two bedroom house," explained one expat living in Angeles City, Philippines.

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Should I buy or rent a home in Philippines?

If you have not spent a lot of time in Philippines, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"I bought a home and 2 townhouses. My Filipina friend signed foe the property since foreigners cannot own land. Foreigners can, however, own condominiums in there own name," said another person in Angeles City.

"I am renting with an eye on building something on leased land. It is made difficult, mostly by cheap available rents," remarked another foreigner who made the move to Cebu City.

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What do I need to know when buying property in Philippines?

When we asked expats what advice they would give a foreigner before buying a property in Philippines, they said:

"Research on the ground. Listen for dogs next door (oh there will be!). Roosters (not if but how many and how far away!?). Obviously crime (Iloilo is very cool in that department). Use a lawyer, check title, make sure you are buying in the name of a Filipino (foreigner cannot own land here which is why they can own condos). DO NOT expect the process to be fast or "like home". You aint in Kansas Toto," explained one foreigner living in Iloilo, Philippines.

"Live in the Philippines a minimum of ONE YEAR and be certain this is for you before making any decisions. Personally, I have been here 3 years plus and have not yet made that leap of faith of making a purchase. My sense is that contrary to the propaganda of a booming world economy, reality and basic economic math, relative to national debt levels says this is the crest of the wave, beware the forthcoming financial tsunami," said another in Palawan.

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Are foreigners allowed to own property in Philippines?

When we asked expats what advice they would give a foreigner before buying a property in Philippines, they said...

"Yes, there are restrictions. As a foreigner you can not own property in your name directly. However, you can own a condominium with the added advantage of obtaining Special Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV) as a result of a qualified investment. Do research this option. Note: YOU NEED NOT MARRY TO STAY IN THIS COUNTRY!!!," explained one foreigner living in Palawan, Philippines.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

The worldest largest Chinatown Arch, Manila, Phillipines

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