Back in Manila (Looking for Real Estate Deals)

Well, I’m back in Manila now! As much fun as Bali was (seriously, it really does live up to the hype), home is where the heart is. And really, I’m glad to be back in Manila again, and like last time around, it’s now time to go hunting for more real estate deals.

As readers may recall, I’ve been bullish on the future prospects of Bonifacio Global City (BGC) for quite awhile now, and have been looking to lock down a primary residence for myself in this bustling (shiny and modern) neighborhood.

It’s kind of tough to explain, but although the overall global marketplace for real estate is more or less “tapped out”, there are still some corners of the globe where sweet deals are a dime-a-dozen.

Like BGC, for instance…

In my own humble opinion, real estate opportunities remain abundant in BGC. Yes, property values have skyrocketed in BGC, as well, on a percentage basis, but when compared to other cities around the globe (e.g. Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Sydney, Vancouver, etc.), on a nominal basis, the average condo unit in BGC is still relatively speaking (very) affordable.

For instance, if let’s say a few years ago, a 1 bedroom unit in BGC was selling for $80k USD and today it’s now valued at $120k USD, yeah, one could argue that’s 50% in price appreciation, which is pretty sweet (in its own right)!

But like, nominally speaking, a $40k USD increase in value is “peanuts” for a place like the Bay Area, where property values have commonly spiked up in the order of $500k USD (and a lot more, in select regions) over the last few years.

So, if you’re fortunate to have made big gains elsewhere, looking at a place like BGC could have appeal, for some folks (like me)…

And the “arbitrage” opportunity that is currently present is one that has me most intrigued…

For instance, new projects such as The Seasons Residences (a joint venture project between Federal Land and Japanese partners), is currently under construction, and presales have started for Tower 1 (Haru; spring season) which are currently selling in the order of ~350,000 PHP/square meter.

Yes, these brand spanking new units are shiny and nice, of course… with a Japanese touch/inspiration.

To my knowledge, they’re designing these units using “higher quality” materials, with a lot of stuff “Made in Japan”.

They’ve even got sunken slab piping as a common feature for each unit…

Here’s the sales pitch at the moment…

For a cheap bastard like myself, I’m not so much inclined to pay top dollar for brand new construction (e.g. The Seasons Residences)…

But c’mon, if I can own a unit next door and within a 2 minute walk to where all dem rich kids live, not to mention at a substantial discount to current market prices, sure why not entertain the idea, at least?

For a variety of different reasons, an investor/speculator can hit the secondary market and pretty easily find cheaper deals for condo units selling more in the order of say ~140-180k PHP/square meter…


Which could be as much as 50% (or even more so) cheaper than the new stuff…


Further, we are talking about a typical condo/1 bedroom unit in BGC selling for ~$100-130k USD (which again, is “peanuts” relative to many other global cities)… that can rent for as much as $40 USD/night via services such as Airbnb.



Translation — BGC condos can actually offer investors/speculators with something called “free cash flow” which is a foreign concept to those dabbling around in places like the Bay Area (at today’s prices)…


With real estate, I’ve learned to not care at all about what the inside of a property looks like… If it’s not to your liking, just throw some $$$ at it, and you can transform it into your “dream home”.

Starting bare bones, yeah, I do like the sound of that (if it saves me a boat load of money, in the process)…


When it comes to real estate, never forget, it’s all about:


Location, Location, Location


You can easily fix the inside trappings of a house…

Tada, presto (see below)!

Besides, cost of labor/materials is way, way, way cheaper in Manila than compared to most places, so you can really maximize your $$$ here…

It’s the location that matters most of all because you can never change that aspect of a property!

Lambo, Ferrari, yeah you’ll regularly spot these here in BGC…


Anyway, so yeah, of course I wouldn’t mind living next door to super duper affluent: entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, high ranking corporate executives, expats, etc.


As it pertains to Metro Manila, just ask around (I certainly have), and almost by consensus, everyone agrees that BGC is the absolute best place to be (shiny, modern, clean, safe, best schools, best jobs, etc.).

Oh yeah, and BGC is totally a magnet that attracts lots of visiting tourists, as well; lots to do, see, and enjoy.


World Class Tier 1 ftw, baby!


For early FI, as much as I enjoy and appreciate a nice beach, I personally would prefer to setup a permanent residence in a thriving metropolitan city, like right here in BGC.

So yeah, wish me luck, it’s been a busy few weeks of running around (a lot of the time), but I’m narrowing in on some deals and looking to close sooner rather than later.


Fight On!

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1 year ago

Great update. Happy house hunting!

Nuno Conceição
1 year ago

Love to read your stories. Best to you!

Life Outside The Maze

Wow sunken slab piping!! (What is that?). Sounds like you are on quite an adventure, looking forward to seeing what you buy

1 year ago

how’s the city water shortage going? Read in the press that they are now closing of city water supplies to Manilla homes for 10 to 20 hours per day or more, to alleviate a super tight home water supply situation caused by chronic under investments in proper sanitation and new water distribution networks and newer water supply sources, and that people now have to stand in line with buckets and jerrycans to get their daily rations to drink and wash themselves, if they manage to get it, when being last in the very long lines. Many can’t go to work… Read more »

Nehal Naveen
Nehal Naveen
1 year ago

Are you a filipino? Most countries in SEA have laws which limit foreign nationals from buying homes. Did you encounter these laws?