One was relating to the other woman how happy her parents have been in their new retirement home inside a plush community with a golf course and country club amenities. She said it was so cheap and their money went a long, long way rather than if they just continued to live here in California. The other woman was excited to hear this and said she will surely call her friend’s sales agent. My interest quickly perked up when I heard where the parents retired. The Korean said hundreds of Koreans are doing what she did — investing and retiring in the Philippines!
Yes, many foreign nationals are buying and investing in the Philippines. With the baby boomer generation just about to retire in a few years, many are planning where and how to spend their retirement. People are realizing that in America or Europe, the high costs of living and the low interest their pensions are earning will not give them a good lifestyle in their senior years. Moving to retire in the Philippines has become a very attractive option. If foreigners are buying real estate in the country, all the more should Pinoys invest into their homeland.
Over the past decade, the Philippines has become a retirement haven for thousands of foreigners. Our country has developed communications, infrastructure, and service delivery systems that meet the needs of foreign retirees. Better yet, unlike most other countries, nearly everyone speaks English in the Philippines.
There are so many good things happening in our country, despite what you may read and hear from mass media. The Philippine Stock exchange hit a nine-year record in 2006, opened in 2007 some 30 percent higher, and continues to be strong. Among the 25 priority infrastructure projects expected for completion by 2010 are the LRT line 1 to NAIA, the P21-billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, the P6.9-billion Subic Port development the P1.3-billion North Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connection via C-5 Project, and the Edsa Rehabilitation Project. Six of the major projects have been completed.
The Philippines has also emerged a strong second to India in the global outsourcing market. In 2006, it recorded $3.6 billion in earnings, a 50-percent jump from 2005. By 2010 it is expected to earn as much as $12.2 billion.Big outsourcing players in the U.S. such as Sykes Enterprises, Convergys, PeopleSupport Inc, Accenture, and eTelecare Global solutions have already set up headquarters in the Philippines, and Dell computers recently opened a contact center. The Philippines is becoming a much-preferred option as it has stronger cultural ties to the United States than India, and it is expected to catch up and even overtake India as market leader.
But more than all these good news, the best news is that the Philippines offers a significantly lower cost of living. The Philippine Peso exchange rate is approximately 45 to $1, which means your dollar will go a long, long way there than in the US. Housing, food, and labor costs are very reasonable. Cable Television, Hi-Speed Internet and Satellite Communications are cheap. One can hire an air-conditioned taxicab for eight hours for less than $30. In a country where a provincial Governor’s salary is only about Php35,000 per month, and a Presidential Cabinet Under-Secretary earns something like Php45,000, your pension can go a long way. So, if you have a retirement income in the region of $1,500 to $2,000 per month (Php70,000 to Php90,000) you can live like a rich man in the Philippines.
Where can you find a 3-bedroom home with a garden for only $30,000? You can in the Philippines, and you can even get up to 14% per annum ROI from rental returns. These figures probably seem unbelievably crazy to foreign buyers —and all of this comes complete with average 85 degree temperatures and sunshine nearly all year round.
Recent studies indicated that more than 85% of all condo sales in Metro Manila were to international clients. While Metro Manila is still a popular choice with international buyers, quite a number of people are also investing in year-round vacation destinations, like in Tagaytay or Boracay. Unlike other offshore rental properties, where the rental market is largely seasonal, in the Philippines there is a strong market for rental properties year round. This gives buyers greater flexibility in choosing when to use and when to rent their property. The strong rental/second home market also has resulted in a proliferation of professional property managers and rental agents, making property ownership and rental easy.
Philippine real estate, medical, social services, and employment agencies are now working together under the government’s Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) to set up standards and make the retirement industry truly world class. The objective is to turn the country into the retirement haven in Asia.
The best time to invest in the Philippines is now, when we are on the verge of a phenomenal future. The Philippine currency has reached a 5-year high in 2007 and continues to be strong and resilient, fortified by the economic management of the current administration. They say the country could be on the verge of the biggest real estate boom in history, set to totally eclipse the 1997 Asian crisis, and fueled by money from Filipino Expatriates, foreign investment, and a bullish economy.
One of my friends in the Philippines wrote to me recently, saying Koreans have bought a large part of Session Road in Baguio. She was so concerned that thousands of Pinoys are leaving our country everyday while many foreigners have been investing and buying real estate. She said that the day might come when there might not be enough attractive land for Filipinos in the Philippines. So, if we have money to invest, let’s start investing where our hearts are. In our homeland — the Philippines. (www.asianjournal.com)