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RESIDENTIAL property prices continued to increase in the first quarter of the year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on June 23.

The central bank said the country’s Residential Real Estate Price Index, or RREPI—updated quarterly by the BSP—jumped 5.6 percent in the first three months of the year from its level a year ago.

“The year-on-year (YoY) increase in the RREPI is consistent with the outcome of the first quarter 2022 Consumer Expectations Survey (CES), which showed a higher percentage of consumers preferring to buy real estate property in the first quarter of 2022,” the BSP said in a statement.

Broken down by area, residential property prices in the National Capital Region (NCR) increased by 9.5 percent. The rise, according to the central bank, is primarily driven by the increase in the prices of condominium units and townhouses, which more than offset the decrease in the prices of duplex housing units and single-detached/attached houses.

Similarly, property prices in the areas outside the NCR climbed by 5 percent as all types of housing units registered an upturn, except for single-detached/attached houses, which posted a decline.

By type of housing units, the prices of townhouses, duplex housing units, and condominium units rose during the period. Townhouses, in particular, registered the highest increase at 25.6 percent, followed by duplex housing units at 20.9 percent and condominium units by 14.7 percent.

Conversely, prices of single-detached and/or attached houses contracted by 2.5 percent.

Amid higher property prices, fewer people took out housing loans during the period.

The number of residential real estate loans (RRELs) granted for all types of new housing units in the Philippines contracted by 9.2 percent, due mainly to the 39.3-percent decrease in the number of NCR RRELs.

During the quarter, almost three-fourths (74.3 percent) of residential property loans were used to purchase new housing units.

Meanwhile, by type of housing unit, most of the residential property loans were used for the acquisition of single-detached and/or attached houses (47 percent), followed by condominium units (38 percent) and townhouses (14.4 percent).