House or condo? What to consider before buying

By Kathleen A. Martin,

Posted at May 25 2013 09:22 AM | Updated as of May 27 2013 10:04 PM

MANILA -- Young professionals, newly-weds, and families alike are finding it easy nowadays to pour in money for their first, second or third property amid the booming real estate market and relatively low interest rates.

But with all the condominium buildings sprawling in the metro and the communities being built by developers, which property is the better investment?

Noel Cariño, executive vice president at the Chamber of Real Estate & Builders Association Inc. (CREBA), said one should first consider the demand-and-supply situation when investing in a property.

"If it's an investment, you would want to sell it eventually or lease it so you need to look at the return," Cariño told ANC's On The Money.

"It's not just the demand [you need to look at], but also the demographics who can afford the demand," he continued.

He explained a buyer has to think about the location of the property and determine if it will be easy to lease it out or re-sell in the future.

"If I'm looking at [the property] purely as an income producing investment, then I'd go for a condo. There's a bigger demand for it in the city and there's a wider use for it," Cariño shared.

However, he said that if a buyer is looking for a place to live in or use for a long time, a house is a better fit for him.

"If it's an investment down the road and if I would be using it somehow, then I'd go for a house and lot," Cariño said.

This, as condominiums are built to last for only 50 years, he pointed out. After such time, unit owners will be asked to decide whether to demolish the building and put up a new one, or to just sell the land.

Moreover, Cariño said monthly dues for a condo unit are usually higher than fees you pay for when living in a subdivision. But he stressed there's a trade-off since those living in condos basically do away with transportation expenses because they are "centrally-located," while house owners travel longer distance when going to work and leisure places.

"My first house was a condo ... then I moved to a house, then went back to a condo," Cariño recounted.

"But from a personal standpoint, [the choice between a condo and a house] is really up to your own personal preference and the circumstances that by which you would relate to work and other activities probably," he said.