Published on September 26, 2013, GMA News Online:

Written by Danessa O. Rivera

Despite a nearly 20-percent jump in new housing units in 2012, the property sector is still a long way from eliminating the national housing backlog, the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association, Inc. (SHDA) said Thursday.

In an e-mailed statement, the SHDA’s Report on Estimated Housing Starts for 2012 showed a 17.3 percent jump in volume of housing units to 211,009 from 180,140 in 2011.

The nationwide value from housing rose by 20 percent to P120.37 billion from P100.22 billion in 2011.

The real estate and housing developers group said the report was based on raw data and building permits from the National Statistics Office (NSO).

“While our economy is growing at an average of 6 to 7 percent annually, the growth of housing is almost three times that, indicative of the significant multiplier effect our sector has on the economy,” president Paul Tanchi said in a statement.

SHDA, which has created a masterplan to address the housing problem, said the NSO data on building permits provided invaluable help for housing developers in strategic planning, decision-making and industry status reviews.

SHDA estimates the national housing backlog at over 3.9 million units, which could increase to almost 7 million units by 2030.

It said a number of challenges make increasing housing production an uphill battle which include:

  • the uncertainty of tax holidays for mass housing approved by government only on a year-to-year basis
  • the inaccessibility and inadequacy of government housing finance for lower and mid income segments
  • varying and even conflicting land use policies
  • other issues in processing land titles, building permits and licenses for housing projects.

“All these roadblocks add to cost and drag in housing production which ultimately translates to higher selling prices. The housing starts, although passable, would certainly be better if these roadblocks were finally addressed. Only then will we see significant reductions in the housing backlog,” Tanchi said.

The SHDA report also showed single detached units still have the most number of units built, but has dropped to 34 percent from 40 percent in 2011 while construction of condominium units rose significantly to 36.75 percent and of apartments or rowhouses went up 24.34 percent.

Condominium developments were also concentrated in the National Capital Region, which made up 75 percent of units registered, the report said.