In real estate, the adage “drive and drive until you qualify” holds true, especially in the case of Metro Manila. As homes in the capital become more expensive, many first-time homebuyers whose work base is either Makati, Bonifacio Global City, or Ortigas Center are looking further afield in search of their dream home.
The good thing is that areas that surround the capital abound with affordable options for these homebuyers. Lamudi Philippines (www.lamudi.com.ph) picked the top cities and towns around Metro Manila for first-time buyers, using five factors to judge the best: market popularity, prices, inventory, and ease of commute to the capital.
- San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan
Average home price: Php495,999
Although San Jose Del Monte, situated just north of Quezon City, has been previously known as the government’s go-to site for mass relocation projects, the city is now shedding that image and is fast becoming an economically important city. Big-ticket real estate projects, such as Ayala Land’s Altaraza Town Center, are putting San Jose Del Monte on the map. Homes in the city are still quite affordable, which average Php495,999, and plenty of inventory is available.
- San Mateo, Rizal
Average home price: Php549,259
Although transport options for commuters between Metro Manila and San Mateo are limited, this Rizal town is a popular area for homebuyers looking for good deals. Average price of homes in San Mateo stands at Php549,259, according to Lamudi data, perhaps one of the reasons the town is rapidly growing: its population is increasing 3.88 percent every year. Business in San Mateo is quite upbeat; in fact, SM Prime Holdings opened its 52nd mall in San Mateo in May 2015, which is a four-story box retailer that has office spaces for business process outsourcing firms.
- Dasmariñas, Cavite
Average home price: Php1.189 million
Dasmariñas City has for years been known as a popular residential area for employees working in Metro Manila, but Cavite’s largest city is now quickly becoming an economic behemoth in its own right. Despite this, homes in Dasmariñas remain affordable, averaging Php1,189,078. Several highways traverse the city, the most well known are Aguinaldo Highway, which connect the city with Las Piñas, and Governor’s Drive, which connects it with Biñan, Laguna. A planned expressway—the Cavite–Laguna Expressway—will pass through the southern and western borders of the city.
- Imus, Cavite
Average home price: Php1.858 million
Officially designated as Cavite’s provincial capital, Imus is one of the Philippines’ fastest growing cities. The Philippine Statistical Authority projected that its population has been growing 6.58 percent since 2010. Located 21 km south of Metro Manila, Imus has benefited from the construction of the Manila–Cavite Expressway, which made commute from the city to Paranaque easier. Despite this, homes in Imus remains affordable, averaging Php1.85 million.
- Bacoor, Cavite
Average home price: Php2.777 million
Sharing border with Las Pinas and Muntinlupa, Bacoor is considered Cavite’s gateway to Metro Manila. Although the city has for years been considered a bedroom community—a large proportion of its population commutes to Metro Manila during daytime for employment—the city is now an established high-income city and big-ticket infrastructure projects, such as the Manila–Cavite Expressway, made commuting to Bacoor easier. Metro Manila’s LRT-1, which ends in Baclaran, Paranaque, will also be extended by 11.7 km to end at Bacoor, which will make commuting to the city easier and cheaper.
- Antipolo, Rizal
Average home price: Php3.668 million
Officially CALABARZON’s largest city in terms of population, Antipolo is one of Rizal Province’s most popular bedroom communities, making residential real estate development one of its major industries. In fact, the city has approximately 500 subdivisions or gated communities. Although commuting to and from Metro Manila remains a challenge, this is expected to ease soon, when the 4.14-km LRT-2 extension to Masinag is completed in 2017.
- Santa Rosa, Laguna
Average home price: Php4.16 million
Although situated quite farther from Metro Manila than the other cities in this list, Santa Rosa more than makes up for in accessibility and economic size. The city has the largest economy anywhere in the CALABARZON region and is easily accessible via the South Luzon Expressway. It is also quickly becoming a BPO hub. However, houses in Santa Rosa are relatively pricier, due mainly to numerous high-end communities that sprouted here in recent years. One example is Ayala Land’s Nuvali project, and Cathay Land’s South Forbes.