Developers still have a long way to go to get bulk of OFW market – study

DUBAI: The chunk – or some 47.2 percent – of the $7.2 billion in remittances that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) around the world sent home in the first three months of the year was spent on housing rents and utilities, indicating that real estate developers in the Philippines still have a long way to effectively market their products, said a ranking UAE Exchange official.

Citing results of the latest confidential research on the matter by the international business paper Financial Times, Gemmy Lontoc, the UAE-based remittance company’s head for its Southeast Asia corridor, said that this considered, “it would seem real estate investments are still developmental in terms of prioritization in remittances.”

“Therefore,” he added, “real estate stakeholders and financial literacy advocates must be more aggressive in educating global Filipinos about the possible gains, which include capital appreciation and rental income.”

Lontoc echoed recent remarks by Gov. Amando Tetangco, Jr., head of the Central Bank of the Philippines (CBP), who said the “challenge and the opportunity is to encourage more investments by overseas Filipino households.”

A recent CBP study showed that OFW remittances “are mostly used for consumption expenditures like food and household needs.”

Meantime, the second biggest chunk of the remittances for the same period, which is 46.2 percent, was spent on food and non-alcoholic beverages, the Financial Times study showed, while education, health and clothing comprised 26.1 percent, 21.6 percent and 10.1 percent respectively, it further stated.

The $7.2 billion first quarter remittance was higher by 4.3 percent compared to the level posted in the same period last year, according to CBP.

There are approximately 2.8 million OFWs across the world, according to various official estimates.