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What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?

The traffic situation is a major part of everyday life in Manila, so keep the transit time between your home and office (and school) in mind when choosing a place to live. There are many different areas that have attractive accommodation that suits expats so you will usually have a choice. Ask your Crown consultant to provide you with an overview before arriving so that you are ready as soon as your feet touch the ground.

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What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?

  • Makati - This is an area where many expats live. It is in the center of the modern business area and near restaurants, entertainment, international schools and shopping centers. There is a variety of houses, apartments, hotels and serviced apartments. Houses are usually in a gated village. Some of the villages with high expat occupancy are Forbes, Dasmarinas, Urdaneta, San Lorenzo, and Bel Air. There are many good condos, particularly One Roxas Triangle and the wide range of condos in the Rockwell complex. There are also older condos in the Salcedo and Ayala Ridge areas that offer better value for the money. The market for large, family, landed housing is very competitive; prices have steadily risen by at least 5% per year over the last ten years and are forecast to continue this steep ascent for years to come.
  • Alabang – This area offers more open spaces and generally cleaner air, but is a 30- to 40-minute drive from the center of Makati when traffic is good. The accommodation is mainly unfurnished houses and these tend to be 30 to 40% cheaper for the same value than in Makati. This is a very attractive area for families to live and many choose the nearby Brent International School, European International School or Southville International School instead of the range of schools in Makati, Manila and Bonifacio Global City.
  • Ortigas - This area is East of Makati but also has good shopping centers, Megamall and Shangri La being two of the best. There is a good choice of houses, apartments and serviced apartments and prices here are less expensive than Makati or Bonifacio Global City, perhaps comparable with Alabang. However, there are only two routes across the river and into Makati and these can be very congested at peak times.
  • Bonifacio Global City - This area is a vibrant and growing community that hosts many of the top international schools (International School Manila, The British School Manila, The Japanese School, The Chinese International School and the Korean School) and many embassies and businesses. There is also a new hands-on science museum, many good restaurants, one of the best and newest hospitals in town and still some green land and a feeling of space. However, this area is undergoing a period of tremendous construction. Accommodation in BGC is predominantly apartments with an abundance of small two-bedroom apartments, but also some high-quality and large three-bedroom apartments, notably Pacific Plaza Towers, Essensa and the Serendra complex of medium-rise accommodations. All these have attractive gym and swimming pool facilities, good security, play areas for children and other amenities one would expect from the top of the market.

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Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?

Most expats rent accommodation but expats are allowed to buy apartments as long as a minimum of 50% of the building's units are owned by Philippine nationals. As the housing market seems to be on an ever-upward spiral of prices, some are choosing to purchase these days.

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Typically, will I be required to pay additional money up front (such as a deposit) before moving into leased housing? If so, how much is common?

Rent is usually paid one year in advance. A refundable security deposit (equal to two months' rent) is also charged up front. There is an additional fee for the management and upkeep of common areas and for security and garbage collection, etc. In condos, this is typically included in the rent. For houses, you are expected to pay this at the village association on an annual basis. The first year of many leases is guaranteed and pre-termination clauses are only usually allowed on the second and subsequent years’ leases.

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Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?

Utilities are nearly always separate from the rent, unless it is a fully serviced accommodation, and are paid by the tenant directly to the utility companies or through the condo administration. Electricity is very expensive in the Philippines and lessors do not want to risk guessing the rate at which an incoming expat may use electricity. 
For gas, contact the supplier and they will deliver a full tank:
Masagana Gas – Tel. 89555758
Shellane – Tel. 8875555
Gazul – Tel. 8890169

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Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?

Most expatriates live within “villages” (gates and walled compounds with 24-hour security) or in apartment buildings with good security coverage and set back from the road behind a manned security gate. The maintenance issues and additional staffing requirements with landed houses means apartments are often a more stress-free option. The main issue for accommodation is to reduce the travel time to work and school as traveling, particularly during the rainy season, can be slow and stressful.

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I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?

The electric current is 220V (some houses/apartments also have 110V). The frequency is 60Hz, which is unusual other than for US, but many modern appliances can cope with the range of 50 to 60Hz.  Please check the information on your appliance to see if it is worth importing because if your equipment is fixed at 50Hz, particularly for dishwashers, washing machines, etc. with a heating element, they will likely not survive the 60Hz supply.

The two-flat-blades attachment plug, two-flat-blades with round-grounding-pin plug and the three-round-pin attachment plug are all used in the Philippines. Of these, the two-flat-blades attachment plug is the most common. Most outlets in landed houses are not grounded. Adapters are easy to find in local hardware shops, such as Ace Hardware or True Value.

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Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?

Ask around and make sure that your area is not prone to flooding. This can be a problem during the rainy season. Contact Crown Manila for more information or to arrange an accompanied home search. We will assist you throughout the whole process, providing objective advice, checking documents, helping with the negotiations and making sure you are settled in.

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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.

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