Yes, Foreigners can own ‘Landed Properties’
You read it right, foreigners can own ‘landed properties’ in the Philippines. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can own land, well at least as of now until the lawmakers finally decide to amend some of the provisions of the constitution. With the developments in the ongoing discussion on the issue, I think we may be looking at some possibilities of this thing happening soon but not yet for residential purposes.
For now, they can resort to alternative ways of owning land but this is not going to be the focus of our topic in this issue. The simplest way for foreigners to own properties in the Philippines without having to marry a local or forming a corporation is to purchase condominium units which are covered by what is called a Condominium Certificate of Title or more commonly referred to as CCT. The problem is that there are still a lot of foreigners who would prefer House & Lots or at least Townhouses where they don’t have to deal with the usual inconveniences of living in a building like walking from your parking slot to the lobby then wait for the elevators and do this every single day. This is what you already do going and coming from and to the office so coming home would feel like you’re just moving to another office. Another is having to worry about the neighbors on both sides and below your unit while you test your patience dealing with the noise from the unit above you.
Well, not very well known to many, there have already been quite a number of Exclusive Townhouse enclaves that use a CCT instead of the usual TCT. Actually, for projects like these, it is really more practical and advantageous for the unit owners, they just do not realize this because of lack of proper information. With a CCT, an individual owns not only his particular unit but also owns a part of all the common areas of the project proportionate to the size of his unit in a form of shares in the condominium corporation. Comparing this with a high-rise condominium standing on a 2000 sqm. lot with hundreds of unit owners, and a Townhouse project constructed on a same sized lot, with let’s say 15 unit covered with a CCT, it is very clear that the unit owners of the townhouse project will enjoy bigger shares.
In terms of actual possession and use of units within a townhouse enclave, the TCT and CCT have absolutely no difference since all unit owners will be subject to all the provisions in the Master Deed and the House rules. Thus, if the rule says that you cannot build an extra floor on top or build an extra structure on your front parking space then you are bound to comply with it no matter what kind of title you are holding. The good news is that most of the townhouse projects with CCTs that I know of are on the high-end side which means these people are very particular about the upkeep of their common premises.
The real advantage of having a CCT for projects like these is the higher chance of appreciation and a bigger market for resale. Moreover, if the project is properly and carefully planned, priced well to ‘pre-select’ future unit owners and ensure a good class neighborhood, and located in a prime area, then it will definitely command better resale prices once completed. The clincher would be if it offers the same amenities that most condominiums provide like Swimming pools, gyms, multi-purpose areas, etc. and they don’t have to pay very high association dues. Very soon, when the market becomes better informed with the advantage of CCT covered townhouse projects and more developers realize the high marketability of this concept, prices of will definitely move at the rate independent from the standard rates of house and lots within the vicinity where the projects are located.
Another thing that you can be sure of is that once the foreign buyers learn about the availability of more projects like these in the Philippines, you can be sure that this would be a definite preference over high-rise condominiums since it eliminates their fear of the possibility of earthquake related incidents since they know that we are an earthquake prone country. They also don’t have to worry about having to walk up several floors in case of brownouts and Generator set malfunction. All these make a project like these very attractive to property investors if only given the proper advice.
It is sad to know that most people still base their decisions on hearsays and unfounded opinions of peers or friends of peers and relatives who do not even own properties. This arouses fear and doubts, and without doing further due diligence, delays the decisions and miss great opportunities. So, always remember, when in doubt, ASK! But ask a qualified professional!
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