Published on October 16, 2013, Manila Bulletin Online:

The Subdivision and Housing Developers Association, Inc. (SHDA) has released a Report on Estimated Housing Starts for 2012 based on raw data from the National Statistics Office (NSO). The report, based on NSO’s tabulation of building permits, revealed a 17.3 percent or 30,870 increase in volume of housing units compared to the year before.

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 percent growth.

Despite the increase, SHDA said the sector was still a long way from eliminating the national housing backlog. 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.

“While our economy is growing at an average of six to seven percent annually, the growth of housing is almost three times that, indicative of the significant multiplier effect our sector has on the economy,” said SHDA President Paul Tanchi.

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

The association has 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.

“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 said.

The SHDA report on housing starts, or the estimated number construction projects

based on building permits, also included types of housing. SHDA’s analysis shows that single detached units still have the most number of units built, but has decreased from 40 percent to 34 percent in 2012.

The construction of condominium units rose significantly to 36.75 percent or 18,568 more units than in 2011.

Condominium developments were also concentrated in the National Capital

Region, which made up 75 percent of units registered. Construction of apartments or rowhouses went up 24.34 percent.