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With over 7100 islands, the Philippines is not likely to run out of beachfront real state to offer to discerning property buyers. But unlike normal, landlocked properties, beachfront properties come with a few challenges. Buyers should take these considerations into account before in investing in a beachfront house, villa, or condo.
In real estate, beachfront location is king. The view that these properties offer, not to mention their proximity to water, affords them a premium coveted by similar but landlocked houses. So if you want a house that is really close to the powdery sand , expect to pay more.
To give you an idea, an analysis performed by UK-based real estate consulting firm Knight Frank found that luxury homes built on the water—such as those found in Lake Como, Phuket, or Barbados—cost at least 63 percent more than comparable properties.
But price aside, there are other considerations that must be taken when buying a beachfront home. The economy, both national and local, plays a huge role whether the property will perform well in the vacation rental market. Since homes built on water also are exposed to the elements, the owner needs to shell out more for the upkeep, insurance, and repair.
1. Natural Calamities
If your mortgage loan is for 20 years, shouldn’t your property last as long? This is perhaps the most pressing concern that a would-be property buyer has in mind. Unfortunately, beachfront homes are expected not to last as long as landlocked ones, since the former are exposed to typhoons, shifting shorelines, and other elements.
Research information on local and national building codes to make sure that your beachfront home can withstand winds from even the strongest of typhoons. For example, according to noted architect and urban planner Felino Palafox Jr., Philippine building codes stipulate that built structures must be designed to withstand 250-kph winds, but Typhoon Haiyan’s were over 300 kph; hence, it would wise to ensure that the beachfront property you are about to purchase must be able to withstand Haiyan-level wind gusts.
2. Know the Extent of Your Ownership
As diligent buyer should know that all beaches in the Philippines are owned by the state. Hence, if you are buying a beachfront house, you also must obtain a Foreshore Lease from the Philippine government, which will allow you, as a lessee, possession and control over the beach, from the high tide mark to the low tide mark. This Foreshore Lease, however, does not allow you to construct a permanent structure anywhere within 30 meters from the high tide mark.
3. Rental Market
Because you won’t be spending all 365 days a year in your beachfront property, you might as well rent it out to other holiday-makers, at least to offset the cost of mortgage and upkeep. Hence, buying a beachfront property in an area where tourists flock in all year round will be a good idea. Examples of these areas are Boracay, Calatagan, Nasugbu, and Cebu.
4. Is It Accessible?
The areas that you would be buying from should be served by good transport links as well. Are there good highways that will allow uninterrupted drive from the city to your beachfront home? In case you’re buying properties located in smaller islands, are there airports and/or seaports that will make them accessible to you and your renters? The place may have a gorgeous stretch of sand, but if it’s inaccessible, then you might as well forget about recouping your investment.
5. How Much for Maintenance?
Plenty of first-time buyers of beachfront homes do not realize that these properties require higher-than-usual maintenance costs. The salty air, for example, is particularly corrosive, so a beachfront house’s roof may need to be replaced every 15 years instead of the usual 20.
Depending on the area, there are also other costs that may surprise you. If you are buying in a rural area, then expect the place to lack adequate septic system, paved roads, and access to utilities. This means you have to shell out more if you require any of these.
It therefore makes more sense if you buy a beachfront home from an already-developed leisure project. And the Philippines being a tropical country there are plenty such project for you to choose from. You may have to pay more for the property itself, but at least you need not worry about, say, paving the road.