The rise of township developments started in the early 2000s when major developers began to build premier office buildings, mid-range to high-end condominium towers, luxury hotels, and other establishments alongside each other to create a “live-work-play” lifestyle fit for the modern urban dweller. Since then, the number of integrated townships within and outside Metro Manila has continued to increase, making townships a real game changer in the real estate landscape.
Through the years, the Philippines has recorded a total of 81 existing townships with Luzon taking up almost 36% of the overall count, followed by Metro Manila with 30%, Visayas with 20%, and Mindanao with 14%. Even with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, integrated townships showed little sign of slowing as major developers such as AboitizLand, Filinvest, and Damosa Land showed their interest of developing and improving their townships in Batangas, Cebu, and Cagayan, respectively, in the beginning of the year.
With the idea of having both comfort and convenience in one place, integrated townships have become a preferred property investment option. This quality has been highlighted even more with the COVID-19 pandemic, and may continue even after it ends. Due to its resilience amid the pandemic and appeal to the public, it is expected to have a stronger demand for integrated townships post-COVID-19, especially for properties outside Metro Manila. People may also start to look at township developments as a “reserve migration” or an alternative plan wherein they scout for places to migrate to in the future, or in times of crisis such as COVID-19.
Despite being the most pandemic-ready among the developments, changes in integrated townships are expected after the pandemic ends. One important lesson developers learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is the need for resiliency not just in pandemics, but in all other shocks that may happen in the future. It is expected, then, that the upcoming townships will become more diverse as possible as, based on everyone’s COVID-19 experience, homogenous developments tend to be less resilient than heterogeneous developments. In other words, integrating different components in one community is one way of addressing resiliency.
After the pandemic ends, township developments, just like any other developments, will no longer be the same. From being usually cited as having a “live-work-play” lifestyle, the idea of townships may evolve to a “live-work-play” lifestyle with addition of different components that may include health, learning, food production, small scale manufacturing, recreation, and open space.