Manila, Philippines -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/04/2006 --Considering retirement in a Tropical Climate? For many British, Australians and Americans, retirement time is just around the corner. At home, with low interest rates and high cost of living, the prospect of trying to live on a pension, in old age, is a daunting one unless you are preapred to substantially downscale your lifestyle. For some, moving to retire in another country is an option which has been successful in the past with Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Puerto Rico being among some of the more popular destinations. But why not consider retiring in the Philippines?
Over the past decade, the Philippines has become a retirement haven for thousands of foreigners, particularly the Japanese, Korean, and Northern Europeans. Along with Thailand and Malaysia, the Philippines developed communications, infrastructure, and service delivery systems specifically geared to meet the needs of foreign retirees. Better yet, unlike most European Countries and South America, nearly everyone speaks ENGLISH in the Philippines.
The Philippines offers a significantly lower cost of living. The Philippine Peso (PhP) exchange rate is approximately PhP 50 to $ 1.00 or PhP 94 to 1 Pound [Sterling (GBP)]. Housing, food, and labor costs are quite reasonable. A One bedroom condominium can be purchased for around $ 60,000 or GBP 32,500 or a Studio for only $ 34,000 or GBP 18,000 and one can dine out on average at a three star restaurant for less than PhP 500. If you hire domestic help, a private driver’s salary is approximately PhP 10,000/month, while trained housekeepers earn approximately -PhP 5,000/month. These salaries are lower if you live in the provinces.
Cable Television, Hi-Speed Internet and Satellite Communications are cheap. One can hire an air-conditioned taxicab for eight hours for less than $25.00. In a country where a provincial Governor’s salary is only PhP 28,000 per month, and a Presidential Cabinet Under-Secretary earns PhP 35,000, your pension can go a long way. So, if you have a retirement income of approximately $1,500 to $2,000 per month ( PhP 80,000 to 100,000) you can live quite well in the Philippines.
As for health care, most U.S. Health Management Organizations pay for medical expenses incurred in the Philippines. Check with your HMO. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs presently has a task force headed by former Secretary Roberto Romulo working to have the U.S. government accredit a number of first class Philippine hospitals for Medicare reimbursement. The Makati Medical Center, one of the nation’s best already has such accreditation. Unbeknown to many is that for years, citizens of nearby countries such as Thailand, Nauru, Tonga, Indonesia, and Malaysia have flocked to the Philippines for medical care, particularly sensitive surgical procedures. The quality of medical care at the better Manila hospitals such as the Asian, St. Luke’s, Medical city, Cardinal Santos, Philippine Heart Center for Asia, National Kidney Institute, and Makati Medical Center meets international standards.
A Japanese company is building a medical facility in Tagaytay city exclusively for Japanese nationals within the year. There are now close to 10,000 Japanese retirees in the country, and the number is growing annually. The British government recently acquired a large tract of land in Fort Bonifacio to build a new Embassy. The British ambassador explained the larger facility is meant to help serve the growing number of British nationals retiring there as well. Japanese and Korean investment groups are buying homes and condominiums in Manila, and tracts of provincial land for retirees. This has caused a mini- Real Estate boom in the country. A retirement village exclusively for Japanese nationals already exists in Tagaytay, and more are planned. These are strong indicators of what is on the horizon
English is the Philippines’ official business language. Most of the people you will meet, from hotel workers, taxi drivers, sales or service people, government employeesa all speak English, or have a working understanding of it. The middle class speak English, without exception. All major newspapers, and major broadcast companies use English. An English speaking visitor will never get lost in the Philippines. It is the universal use of that language that has been a strong incentive to foreigners. As well, communications links within the country and to other countries via the various commercial gateways is up to international standards. For example, the use of cell phones and text messaging is so common that housemaids, street vendors and food hawkers can be seen using their celphones incessantly.
One will never want for adventure and sights to experience in the Philippines. There is always a colorful Fiesta, pageants, street festivals, and open public events going on. Lush with bountiful natural resources, one can enjoy the numerous beaches, resorts, golf courses, and play just about any sport, except skiing. There is an ice skating rink in Manila, though. Scuba diving and fishing are among the sports which draw the most number of foreigners to the rich aquatic offerings.
Shopping is the Filipinos’ second most popular activity, the first is eating. Manila is Asia’s undiscovered shopping Mecca. You will love the golden purple sunsets, the fragrance of the flowers at dusk, and the wonderful array of fruit and food. I used to enjoy watching the Sun set from the bar at the Philippine Cultural Center. There, you can listen to the Symphony, check out a play, or enjoy Grand Opera. There is just so much to explore and discover, specially in terms of nature, culture, and history. If you’re a betting man, there’s horse racing, the Jai Alai, numerous first class casinos, and of course, cok-fighting. Manila is well known for its exciting night life.
The Philippines offers affordable real estate and good investment opportunities for those seeking a retirement haven
“Where can you find a 350 sqft Freehold Flat in the heart of Central London for only 25,000 Pounds and then get up to 18% per annum ROI from rental returns UK Tax Free” enthuses Collingz. “These figures probably seem Crazy to London Property Buyers unless they remember the prices of Flats and Apartments back in the late 70’s” and all of this comes complete with average 85 degree temperatures and sunshine nearly all year round” said Beth Collingz whom used to live in South Kensington and still owns several Chelsea Embankment Townhouses and St. Catherine’s Dock Flats before coming over to the Philippines
If you have $50,000 or GBP 30,000 to invest, here are some buys you could make right now with that budget:
1. A Freehold Studio Condotel Suite at the Lancaster Atrium Manila for Initial Property Appreciation Investment and Rental Income from 2010 in Metro Manila, Philippines. Floor Area 28.17 square meter [304sqft] at $1,518.00/sqm. Total Contract Price: USD 42,762.06. Pay Cash and take a full 20% discount [Save USD 8,552.41] on the unit price. Pay 90% Now [USD 30,788.68] and the remaining 10% [USD 3,420.96] on unit turnover from December 2009
2. A Freehold Studio Condotel Suite at the Lancaster Suites Manila for Rental Income from 2007 in Metro Manila, Philippines. Floor Area of 27.23 square meters [293sqft] at $1,618.00/sqm. Total Contract Price: USD 44,058.14 [Tax Exempt]. Pay Cash and take a 10% discount on the Contract Price. Save USD 4,405.81 Pay 90% of the contract price now [USD 35,687.09] and the remaining 10% balance [USD 3,965.23] on unit turnover from March 2007
3. A Freehold Studio Condotel Suite at the Lancaster Cebu Resort Residences for rental income from 2007 in Cebu, Philippines. Fully Furnished Studio 36.5625sqm [395sqft] $1,507.00/sqm USD 55,099.69. Pay Cash and take a full 10% discount [Save USD 5,509.96] Pay Reservation [USD 1,820.00] and Cash Balance within 30 days [USD 47,769.72] for an Effective Total Cash Price of USD 49,589.72. Immediate Occupancy.
Pacific Concord Properties, Inc., Flagship Lancaster Atrium Suites Condotel [Manila] development located along Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, is one of the hottest Condotel Investments in the Philippines where property investors, apart from real estate appreciation initially reckoned to be 100% for early investors, will get projected Rental Incomes on their units of up to 16% per annum once fully operational from 2010
To be called Lancaster Atrium [which is the second Tower adjacent to the existing “Sold Out” Tower I] Condotel Studios, One, Two & Three Bedroom Suites are currently available to Property Investors adopting International Standard Escrow Trust Account “Buyer Safe” Easy Secure Payment Plans… with 6 year interest free payment terms or up to 12 year no prequalification “In-House” financing [available to all overseas buyers], full condo ownership, no management costs for Condotel Suites, no enrollment charges for joining the Condotel Rental Pool, and minimum monthly maintenance fees, as buyers or sellers of Real Estate you really should take a moment to look at this Philippine Condotel Investment Opportunity
According to Beth Collingz, of PLC International Marketing Networks, a Lead Marketing Partner with Pacific Concord Properties Inc., whom have Condotel developments in Metro Manila and Cebu, and specializes in working with international clients: “My phone has been very busy with buyers from the UK, Scotland and Australia interested in purchasing investment properties and holiday homes here. A lot of this interest is being driven by the relatively cheap market prices in the Philippines compared to Europe, specially UK Housing prices, and the easy payment options available for our Condotel Developments, but there are other factors, too. Offshore Property Investors, Foreign baby boomers as well as overseas Filipinos, are looking for ways to maximize their return on investments as they approach retirement, and so are purchasing second homes, particularly Condotel Investments where they can use the Condo for vacations and rent it out through our In-House Condotel Management when they are not using the unit thereby gaining rental incomes that on today’s purchase prices, give a projected ROI on their investments of some 12-16% depending upon the mode of payment for the unit”
Beth Collingz, who runs PLC Global Pinoy, an internet based marketing network specializing in Condotel Investments in the Philippines, indicated that more than 85% of all Condotel sales in Metro Manila were to international clients. While such a level of foreign-purchasing activity is not as high in the Philippines provinces, Cebu in particular, has seen a sharp increase in real estate purchases by international buyers in the past several years.
“These international buyers know it’s a buyer’s market in the Philippines right now-there are a lot of properties available and fewer local buyers,” Collingz said. “I’m working with clients who are purchasing their second property with me. We also have referrals from many of our prior customers and new clients who have found us through our Web sites, lancastersuites.com and plcglobalpinoy.com which include a special section for international buyers”
While Metro Manila is still a popular choice with international buyers, Collingz says clients tell her that it makes more sense to buy in a year-round vacation destination. The Lancaster Cebu Resort Residences Condotel development by Pacific Concord Properties located in Mactan, Cebu - the area around Cebu International Airport - fits the bill with all it offers to International buyers.
Accessibility from Europe & The United States is also a factor.
“London to Qatar, London to Amsterdam to Singapore or Hong Kong, Los Angeles to Tokyo, San Francisco and New York to Hong Kong direct flights to Cebu and Manila, for example, average just 16 hours, add to that the many airline specials from Qatar Airlines whom probably offer the cheapest air fares, that fly directly into Cebu and Manila, and it’s easy to see why the Philippines is becoming an international community.”
Unlike other offshore rental properties, where the rental market is largely seasonal, in the Philippines there is a strong market for rental properties year round. This gives buyers greater flexibility in choosing when to use and when to rent their property. The strong rental/second home market also has resulted in a proliferation of professional property managers and rental agents, making property ownership and rental easy. Pacific Concord Properties Inc with it’s flagship Lancaster Condotel Developments fit’s the bill.
Financing Options and Security open up Philippine real estate market to International buyers.
Previously a stumbling block for some international buyers was the perception that it is difficult -if not impossible - to obtain financing in the Philippines. As a result, many purchases in the past were cash sales.
Pacific Concord Properties recently introduced the new affordable easy payment plans for the Lancaster Atrium Manila Condotel Suites where a Studio Unit can be purchased without any down payment, and 67% of the contract price payable over 60 months interest free and the 33% balance payable on turnover of the unit or to be extended for another 60 months through PCPI’s no prequalification no hassle finance plan, sales of the companies inventory of units will surely sell out quickly to investors seeking to take advantage of the Condotel Investment “Boom” in the Philippines.
A major stumbling block for some Investors from the UK was the perception that purchasing property in the Philippines was risky with nightmare stories of fraud and deception abounding due to the lack of Professional Realtors and Internationally accepted principles’ of Real Estate Transactions.
With Pacific Concord Properties Inc adopting International Property Standards and the only Philippine Real Estate Developer to operate the Internationally accepted practice of Escrow Trust Account Banking for all payments made by buyers of it’s Condotel Suites, international offshore property investors need no longer worry about the security of their investments
Another drawback to purchasing property in the Philippines was that most overseas buyers of the real estate have become accustomed to normal home buyers standards like putting their money in escrow (which protects them if the developer does not deliver on its commitments) whenever they buy real property.
Pacific Concord Properties Inc., now sets that “International Standard’ in the Philippines with the “Buy Safe Payment Policy” of Escrow Trust Account Banking with Equitable PCI Bank, one the Philippines largest Banks, for the purchase of a Condotel unit in either the Lancaster Suites Manila, Lancaster Atrium Manila or Lancaster Cebu developments.
Buyers of Condotel units at the Lancaster Suites Manila, Lancaster Atrium Manila and Lancaster Cebu Resort Residences in Cebu, pay their Reservations, down payments and all monthly payments directly to the Companies Trust Account with the Bank thereby ensuring that funds are maintained and ultimately used only for the purpose of direct construction related costs. This not only guarantees that the buyers money is safe, but more importantly the development will be completed on schedule and within projected time frames for the project.
Collingz highlights the importance of working with those experienced in this type of transaction. “Buying property in the Philippines is significantly different from buying in the UK and other European countries, for example,” said Collingz. “The purchase process is more direct, with less stress and more accountability; and we work directly with the buyer or collaboratively with the client’s agent or representatives. Our goal-and that of Pacific Concord Properties Inc - is to make the whole process as easy as possible. Prospective buyers can view properties online on our Web site and save listings they’re interested in an online portfolio”
Communication is the key to the process, according to Collingz. “We spend a lot of time communicating with buyers before they visit, so that we all have a clear picture of the type of property that’s right for them. We also make travel arrangements and hotel accommodations and provide them with information in advance of their visit so they understand the process and their options. That way they can make the best use of their time here-and we can ensure they have time to get to know and enjoy the area.” In many cases, buyers arrive for a three to five-day visit and sign a sales agreement before heading home. Pacific Concord Properties’
Philippine real estate, medical, social services, and employment agencies are now working together under the government’s Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) to set up standards and make the retirement industry truly world class. Under the direction of Gen. Edgar B.Aglipay, chairman of the Philippine Retirement Authority, plans have been operationalized to ensure that the growing demand for housing and ancillary services for the retirees are met. The objective is to turn the country into the retirement haven in Asia.