Residents walk along a pedestrian lane overlooking Serendra Condominium buildings in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Manila, Philippines. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Filipinos in UAE are increasingly becoming optimistic, with the majority of them not only feeling positive about their career, they’re busy shopping for a new property.

In a new survey of more than 2,000 expatriates from the Philippines, nine out of ten (91 per cent) said they are positive that their career in the UAE will grow.

And with their career confidence high, eight in ten (80 per cent) are already planning to acquire a property apart from their residential home.

Many expatriates intend to buy a house or villa, not because they want something to live in when they return home — they want to start building their retirement nest egg or earn extra income.

Property investment

House prices in the Asian country are rising, and the Philippine peso is still weakening against the US dollar, making buying a home to rent out even more attractive.

A dawn shot of the skyline of Makati, Manila's central financial district. Business and construction are booming in other major cities driven by a $180-billion "build-build-build" mantra of the Duterte government.

The Philippines has just been named the top country for investors in 2018. In a survey of more than 21,000 people from 80 countries, US News, cited the Philippines as the best country to invest in.

The review, conducted with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Y&R’s BAV group, ranked the Philippines at the top of the list based on a number of attributes, including favourable tax environment, skilled labour, economic stability, dynamism, entrepreneurship and technological expertise, among others.

In the latest poll in the UAE, 95 per cent of Filipinos believe that Philippine property values will continue to increase, while 83 per cent said that a weak Philippine currency is now making it cheaper to buy property in the Philippines.

Weaker peso

Property prices in the Philippines, particularly in central business districts, rose by 1 per cent to 4.5 per cent in the last three months of 2017 compared to the previous quarter.

“We expect this to continue in 2018 onwards with infrastructure developments and high pre-sales levels,” said Colliers International in its report in February.

Rents , on the other hand, have been on a decline but the trend is expected to change as more units are handed over and demand from foreign and local employees grow.

“We expect a 1 per cent to 3 per cent increase in rents in the short to medium term horizon.

According to Karen Remo, partner and managing director of New Perspective Media (NPM), which conducted the UAE survey, most Filipinos in the emirate are confident about their jobs and this high level of optimism is “boosting their purchasing power.”

“Today, a bigger chunk of Filipino expats is more financially literate and their top investment preference is property,” she said.

Fastest-growing Asean economy

“This comes as no surprise because the World Bank forecasts that the Philippines will continue to be the fastest- growing economy in Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations) this year up to 2020, driven specifically by a dynamic real estate sector in 2018.

A scene at the Bonifacio Global City, once a military base now transformed into a business district that rivals the old Makati financial centre. Under President Rodrigo Duterte, the Southeast Asian country is experiencing an infrastructure boom driven by a mix of government spending and private investments. Over the next few years, the government is set to embark on an ambitious $180-billion infrastructure spending bonanza, set to transform the country.

NPM is organising an event, the Philippine Property and Investment Exhibition (PPIE), which will be held from May 4 to 5 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Deira, Dubai. It will gather together representatives of developers from the Philippines and showcase properties to Filipino expats.