In the Philippines, home ownership is and will be beyond the reach of a lot of twenty somethings. Workers are taxed heavily, resulting in meager take home pay that must be allocated to ever-increasing prices of goods and services. Career-oriented millenials working in the city feel the crunch and must succumb to sky-high rents of tiny apartments located within walking distance from work.
Living in Makati, I was never picky about apartments and condo units. What mattered were (1) safety; (2) proximity to the office (I like working weekends at the office because it’s quiet and I get access to LexLibris) and (3) rent. During my stay, I got to live in a condo unit (with office mates/roommates somewhere in Pasong Tamo and an apartment (solo) that is well within walking distance of Makati central business district.
The condo that I first lived in was huge but felt small because of the presence of roommates. I had limited privacy. The apartment that I lived in was tiny but felt huge because I had it to myself. While limited in space/privacy, both of these abodes were worth living in because of one thing: LOCATION. Imagine being able to walk to work if need be. I didn’t because, heels. 🙂 Imagine getting up late in morning and still getting to work on time because location is so close to work. Imagine easy access to public transportation be it the bus, jeepney, MRT or cab. Hungry? These abodes are located close to restaurants at varied price points (i.e. carenderia, fast food, fine dining) and to various laundromats.
Thus, despite the perceived limited space of my abodes, (the apartment was a mere 18 square meters of space) the convenience of the location made up for it. I avoided the stress and expense of hours-long commutes.
When the time comes to buy their first home, millenials usually go for the large home in preparation for having kids. This purchase results to a heavy monthly amortization for the next 15-20 years (gasp!) of their lives.
My position is this: Squeezing into centrally located micro apartments and micro condominiums makes sense for the short-term. Put another way, it won’t be so bad if millenials purchased a starter home first before buying a large one.
Micro apartments/ condominiums have areas of only 300 sq.ft or 27 sq.m. and below. They are called micro because of their limited space. However, these apartments are in vogue in Japan, Hong-Kong, US and in Canada due to sky-high apartment prices.
Micro has come to the Philippines as well. Developers appear* to be careful to market their units as such though, choosing to describe their units as “studios” when the area thereof clearly shows the units warrant the name “micro”. With these micro units being reasonably priced, pinoys can now own a home–micro-sized, but it’s a roof above one’s head, located centrally, with access to a pool, clubhouse or basketball court.
Starter homes carry lighter monthly payments. With some cash freed up, millenials can invest and watch their money work for them, instead of the other way around. The large house with spacious lawn may be perfect, but is it worth locking yourself to high monthly payments for the next 15-20 years of your life? You decide.
20 something lawyer
* Try checking out Avida, Urban Deca condo unit sizes.