Published on October 14, 2013, Manila Standard Today:

Written by Roger M. Garcia

DESPITE the reported increase in the construction of housing units, the shelter sector remains short from eliminating the over-all national housing logjam and remained far from meeting the ever increasing demands for shelter of the country’s populace.

In a statement sent to MST, The Subdivision and Housing Developers Association, Inc. (SHDA) said that although there is a marked increase— on Estimated Housing Starts for 2012 or the estimated number construction projects based on building permits issued— delivery of housing units remain unfulfilled.

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

SHDA President Paul Tanchi enumerated a number of challenges that could make increasing housing production into an “uphill battle”.

Among them is 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, and other issues in processing land titles, building permits and licenses for housing projects.

“Tanchi explained that 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,” he added.

SHDA quoted a report released recently by the National Statistics Office (NSO) that revealed a 17.3% or 30,870 increases in volume of housing units compared to the year before.

Tanchi said that “while our economy is growing at an average of 6-7% annually, the growth of housing is almost three times that figure—which is indicative of the significant multiplier effect our sector has on the economy.”

SHDA’s analysis shows that single detached units still have the most number of units built, but has decreased from 40% to 34% in 2012. The construction of condominium units rose significantly to 36.75% or 18,568 more units than in 2011.

Condominium developments were also concentrated in the National Capital Region, which made up 75% of units registered. Construction of apartments or row houses went up 24.34%.

Meanwhile, the NSO report showed construction of housing units went up to 211,009 for the past year, compared to 180,140 units in 2011. The report added that the nationwide value from housing rose from P100.22 billion to P120.37 billion in 2012, marking an impressive 20% growth. Roger M. Garcia