Real Estate Is Booming in Philippines but Millennials Are Not Buying. A Young Broker Explains Why

It boils down to social and cultural reasons.

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ICCPI) just held the Real Estate and Investment Conference 2018, a one-day event where experts from the private and public sectors talked about the various investment opportunities in the local real estate industry, on September 25. Some speakers listed which areas are attractive for foreign investors, while others discussed the large number of overseas Filipino workers investing in their home country.

But in the midst of all the discussion on investment opportunities, one speaker pointed out a notable market that the real estate industry has not penetrated.

“Millennials do not buy properties,” claimed Ice Oliva, a real estate broker and the CEO of digital marketing firm Zeeguru, in the ICCPI conference. “If I’m a broker, and I see you as a millennial, the first [thing] I would think about is, ‘I’m not gonna sell to this person’.” 

She cited a 2017 study from online real estate platform Property24, which revealed that the average age of prospective property buyers is 40, several years older than the millennial age group. A millennial herself, Oliva listed several social and cultural reasons why her age group is not actively buying property.

“If they don’t have an immediate need for it, millennials don’t buy it,” Oliva explained to Entrepreneur Philippines in the sidelines of the event. “They would rather have travel and other things instead of focusing on real estate investment.”

That lack of urgency is brought about by a number of factors unique to what Oliva calls the millennial mindset. She explained that this mindset doesn’t see the urgency in purchasing real estate, unlike older generations who value property ownership even at an early age.


“If you will compare the millennials to the older generations—the baby boomers, the Gen X-ers—they are the ones who have spent early on housing,” said Oliva. “The lifestyle and spending habits of millennials differ from the ones before them.”

One key difference Oliva highlighted is how many millennials choose to marry much later in life compared to their older peers. With the age group starting families late, it influences their perception of when they would need to purchase their own home.

Oliva believes that these millennial perceptions on real estate can be improved through proper investor education. She said that if millennials are given enough resources and sufficient data, and if developers find ways to specifically target millennials in their campaigns, it can go a long way in tapping a large and new market for the real estate industry.

“If you ask me, there is a demand [from millennials],” said Oliva. “It’s just that… people are still unaware that they can actually buy a house, that there are several financing institutions that can support their investments. [We should] educate millennials about the importance of having a property—not investing when you’re in your 40s or 50s but investing right now, because right now you already need it.”

Entrepreneur Philippines was a media partner at ICCPI’s Real Estate and Investment Conference 2018.


Lorenzo Kyle Subido is a staff writer of Entrepreneur PH

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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