Over the years, the UN-Habitat has inspired its policies around affordable housing and resilient infrastructure. And that cuts across the board to include both rental and property for sale. Further, it highlights urbanization as the indispensable engine that can drive developments in every nation.
It is a prerequisite for individual prosperity and national growth. Critical highlights of the then Housing Policy were addressing the affordability of housing for all within the confines of urban policies. With that, even the Philippines has had its fair share of improvements as the housing market here pursues closing in on the global crisis of inadequate housing.
But is that the case here?
It would be inaccurate and biased not to mention that while the issue of inadequate housing is imminent, the number of residences that are going vacant is increasing year after year. Could the problem be that the public’s purchasing power is lacking? Is it that the Philippines’ population is dwindling?
Could it be that national policies for housing, in general, are discouraging the public from buying and renting out properties? Is the nation’s housing market intimidating to developers and mortgage providers?
A resounding no
None of the above underlines the root problem of affordable housing. There are low-cost housing in Tanza, Cavite, and even in other parts of the Philippines. But, do they address the issue of urbanization using affordable housing as the means toward social development and equality?
Is the family unit their primary target market, ensuring that they cater to the needs of every member of the family, be it in infrastructure, access to social amenities, and health and safety? Do they commit to the inclusivity of housing policies?
Do they ensure that their property acquisition process is transparent enough that even the general public can understand? Do their development agendas address issues on resiliency and connectivity, green building, mobility, and optimizing energy consumption?
There should be a collective commitment to plugging national housing policies into the heart of the critical drivers of Sustainable Development Goals. And that calls for the input of the national government and property developers, as well as the general public.
They all should be part of every housing policy to ensure it champions the cause for cities that are affordable to live in without discriminating on social statuses.
But how affordable is affordable?
Price is a critical factor when evaluating your options for a property that you can call home. Developers have played their role well to ensure every building delivers the highest standard of quality. Thanks to building technologies and revised regulations, property development is also increasingly easy on developers, mortgage providers and buyers.
But, whether in Tanza, Cavite, or any other urbanizing part of the Philippines, affordable housing will fall into three categories. These three are low-cost, economic and socialized housing, with the latter as the most affordable.
Location and availability follow closely and competitively as the next two factors that prospective buyers consider in their search for better housing. And, on availability, what’s better than a development that caters to that with multiple units and schools, hospitals, markets, malls and other social establishments within the same development?