On the Best Places to Live and Work in Metro Manila

9 minutes read

Construction Mania in Manila

Nowadays, you can’t take a trip around Manila without seeing cranes and construction sites everywhere; sometimes, it seems that Manila’s skyline is less skyscrapers and more gigantic cranes (I up to now still don’t know how those things just pop up).

Metro Manila is currently experiencing a sizeable boom in property. Construction in Metro Manila reached an all-time peak in the last quarter of 2012, recovering from the low levels in 2007, probably due to the global financial crisis.

It might mean that now would be the ideal time to purchase real estate for your home, your business, or simply as an investment; and of course, you’d want to know which are the best places to live and work.

However, with the property market here still largely confusing, with its multiple developers and lack of information, it’s hard to make a decision. In other cities, the highest value places are usually the downtown areas, but given that our city doesn’t really have a certain place to call “downtown”, assuming that the city center is the highest-value area isn’t really wise. Well, when getting the fair market values is infeasible just for a general overview of property, it might be a good first step to take a look at…

Zonal Values

The information presented below was constructed using data on zonal values from the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Zonal values are basically just minimum selling prices that the government prescribes for certain property for taxation purposes; that is, that if someone sells property to another, they pay taxes on less than the prescribed amount.

Zonal values can be unreliable; they’re (a) updated infrequently, (b) are basically just minimum prices, and (c) the government doesn’t really spend a lot of time making sure that everything is accurate. However, they do present a couple of advantages (a) because they are updated infrequently, they aren’t subject to the wild swings of property values in an emerging economy, (b) although they may not be exact estimates, they’re pretty good as relative values for comparing one area to another, and (c) because they’re “minimum” prices, they can be pretty stable estimates that extend even toward the future when the market value can be drastically different from present values.

Nevertheless, I do try to compensate for some of the shortcomings of this data by processing it in a certain way, which I discuss after the results. For now, let’s go into the data!

Top Residential Home Areas

Let’s first take a look at the top areas for residential homes, that is, individual housing units on the ground floor. We take the top 10 areas and plot them on the map as follows: (click on the icon of the plot to view more information about the area)

Dasmariñas and Forbes Park (Photo: [Raisson Bassig](http://www.flickr.com/photos/59065500@N00/3449474917/in/photolist-6fPsHt-8Bs8E8), [CC-BY ND 2.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/deed.en))

As can be seen, the top areas are in the nearly suburban villages around Makati and Taguig, and some of the other contenders can be found in Greenhills and Wack-Wack across San Juan and Mandaluyong. Quezon City presents Santa Mesa Heights as one of its high value residential home area. Most of these places are already owned though, so only look to these areas if you are searching for a place to call a permanent home.

Top Residential Condominium Areas

How about if you’re a young professional or an investor looking for an easily maintainable and rentable unit? Well, the top areas for residential condominiums are plotted on the map that follows: (click on the icon of the plot to view more information about the area)

The Beaufort is currently the most valuable residential condo in Manila.

This one’s not that surprising, the highest value residential high-rise areas are in Fort Bonifacio and the Makati Central Business District. There are so many new properties around Fort Bonifacio up for the grabbing, so buying a residence here (if you are from the province and don’t have a permanent settlement) would be a great idea. Ortigas Center does have one high-value residential condo.

Top Commercial Areas

Business owners or investors may be interested in the high-value commercial areas in the city. These are plotted on the map as follows:

The classic Ayala Avenue stretch is still the most valuable real estate in all of Manila. (Photo: Norman,
CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Again, much of the action is concentrated on Makati and Taguig (which, according to a recent Court of Appeals Decision will now become Makati. The highest land value in all of the city is the commercial stretch along Ayala Ave., which is what is usually presented as the face and the financial center of Metro Manila. The other areas around the Ayala triangle (Gil Puyat, Paseo de Roxas, Gil Puyat/Buendia, A.Arnaiz/Pasay Road) follow. Emerging stars include Bonifacio Global City and Century City along Kalayaan Avenue.

Complete List of Residential and Commercial Values

If, like me, you don’t live in the areas highlighted above, I’ve made this complete listing of the top zonal values in each area or city in Metro Manila so that you can still see how your place fares against the rest of Manila. Take note that these are maximum values not average values because a meaningful average is difficult to generate given the data.

Makati and Taguig are definitely leading in zonal values, and this tells the story of how the face of Manila isn’t Manila anymore but these surrounding cities. San Juan and Mandaluyong, known for its Greenhills and Wack-wack areas, follow the lead. Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, and Parañaque, commonly referred to as the South, presents middling values for both residential and commercial areas. Quezon City and Pasig City are close competitors to the South. Lastly, Malabon, Navotas, and Marikina, Valenzuela, and Caloocan have the lowest land values, perhaps because of their peripheral location and flooding issues.

Data Processing

The data was from the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s website, and specifically from the Revenue Districts covering the cities in Metro Manila. I then processed it as follows:

  • The tables were cleaned for cascading values and separated into residential (regular), residential (condominium), and commercial (regular) based on the class assigned by the BIR.
  • The zonal values were inflated from their date of effectivity to 2012, using the CPI component for housing and repairs taken from the National Statistics Office.
  • The values were ranked according to the adjusted zonal value.
  • Similar streets and areas were grouped together.
  • For residential areas, areas such as main avenues and thoroughfares where there were no observable residential dwellings were omitted. It is possible that the BIR assigned high zonal values for these areas due their proximity to avenues, despite no buildings actually existing on the site.

Data and Computation Requests

If you have any requests for the data or any of the exact computations that underlie this blog post, feel free to shoot me a message using the contact form at the bottom of the page.

If you liked this post or found it interesting, I’d really appreciate it if you liked, shared, tweeted, +1’ed or blogged about it using your favorite social media platform. Thanks for reading!

Share your Thoughts