Accommodation in Manila

Buy house or flat in Manila

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Housing Market

Ideally, most people in the Philippines have their own home. However, this may not be the case in Manila where most properties are apartments and condominium units, which tend to be more expensive. People usually live in nearby provinces or in the outskirts of Manila since real estate prices are cheaper there.

In 2015, the average price of condos in Metro Manila was PHP 90,633 per square meter while the median house price was PHP 8.8 million.

How to Search for Real Estate

Properties in the Philippines range from detached houses to modern town houses to condominium units.

The first step to a successful search is determining what you want. Buyers should research the areas and types of property they are interested in. Consider local amenities, transport, schools, open space and proximity to work. Make a comprehensive list of what you want and don't want in a home to make your search as efficient as possible. If what you want is not on the market, it is also possible to buy land and build the home of your dreams. This takes considerable funds, energy and planning.

Online Listing

Online listings can give you a great feel for the market and allow you to determine if a place fits your specifications.

Another great online resource is the Philippines classifieds on EasyExpat. You can also chat with other expats on the Philippines forum or network and receive advice.


Local newspapers are a good source of information about property prices and the type of property for sale. Most have a property section.

Real Estate Broker

A real estate broker is someone a home buyer will transact with when buying property. A real estate broker is registered with and licensed by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to facilitate the sale, exchange or lease of a piece of real estate - be it a house, a condominium unit, an industrial lot or a commercial space. A broker's main task is to act as an agent of either the buyer or seller in a real estate transaction.

You may also come across people introducing themselves as a real estate salesperson. These professionals are not licensed by the PRC but they are accredited to work under a licensed real estate broker. A real estate salesperson commonly performs everyday tasks of a real estate transaction (such as property viewings) but he/she is not allowed to sign any legal documents pertaining to the transaction.

A real estate broker's fee is usually around 3% to 5% of the property value.

You can find accredited brokers on this website: Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines.

Making an Offer

Once you've found a property, you make a formal offer by submitting an offer to purchase (also known as letter of intent) through the broker who then passes it on to the seller.

If the offer is accepted, both you and the seller will sign a reservation agreement which ensures that the property you are planning to buy will be reserved and taken out of the market so the seller can't sell it to other persons. You may be required to pay a reservation fee.


Before signing any documents, have it looked over by a lawyer or advisor. It is extremely important that every element of a contract be understood before signing.

The Contract to Sell is a written agreement between you and the seller about your home purchase. This is drafted by the broker or seller and contains details on the sales provisions to be complied by both the buyer and seller before full payment of the home. Make sure you've read through contract cancellation and default clauses carefully.


You are generally required to provide a down payment of 20% of the property's selling price upon signing the Contract to Sell. You will then have the option of paying the remaining 80% by taking out a loan from a bank. When your loan is approved, the bank issues a Letter of Guarantee to the seller. This is a written guarantee from the bank to the seller that you have been approved to take out a loan to cover payment for the remaining balance of the property you purchased.


You can expect to pay the following fees when buying property in the Philippines:

  • Capital Gains Tax: This is a transaction tax on selling or transferring real estate properties classified as capital assets. The capital gains tax is levied at 6% of the gross selling price or fair market value of the property, whichever is higher.
  • Documentary Stamp Tax: This is around 1.5% and is levied on the selling price or fair market value of the property, whichever is higher.
  • Notary Fees: This is generally around 1% to 2% of the property value.
  • Transfer Tax: This is 0.50% for properties located in provinces and 0.75% for properties located within Manila.
  • Title Registration Fee: This is usually around 0.25% of the selling price.


When you have fully paid for your home, you will need to do the following:

  • File a Deed of Absolute Sale with the Registry of Deeds for the transfer of ownership. This will be the basis for issuing a certificate title.
  • Secure the certificate title from the Registry of Deeds. This is the document that proves ownership of the home has been successfully transferred to your name. You need to secure a Transfer Certificate Title if you purchased a house or a Condominium Certificate Title if you purchased a condominium unit.

Update 9/06/2016


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