DUBAI: With rent rates at flats and villas going down in the United Arab Emirates, a number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) interviewed by The Filipino Times said they’d rather invest in property back home or send additional money to their loved ones in need than spend more for their convenience.
“I’d prefer a partitioned room over studio-type flats. Indeed, the rental rates are now declining, but I would probably spend my money wisely and use it on important things,” said Kate Marajas, an Abu Dhabi OFW employed as content writer.
“Depende rin kasi sa sweldo. Pero kahit malaki naman sweldo ko, hindi pa rin siguro ako lilipat sa mga studio-type apartments,” she added. “I would rather invest my money sa mga mahahalagang bagay like condo sa Pilipinas.”
Arlene Mariposque, a bedspacer who pays Dh600 a month in a room of six people, for her part, said: “Tipid-tipid sa panahon ngayon.”
“Ipapadala ko na lang sa pamilya kesa mag-renta ng malaki sa bahay,” she explained.
Others have different reasons like Karl Medina, an OFW who has been in Dubai for more than 10 years: “Mahirap maglipat kapag marami nang gamit,” he said.
Financial literacy advocates said a decline in rents is an opportunity for OFWs staying in shared accommodations to haggle with their landlords for lower rates.
“Lower rental rates plus good peso-dirham exchange rates create opportunities for Pinoys to save more,” said Armand Vengco Felipe, financial planner at an insurance company who also is with the OFW financial literacy group, Truly Rich Club.
“People who are financially mature find this as very good news and a chance to allocate more towards investments,” Felipe said.
For her part, Agnes Tibor, an OFW advocate said it would be wise to invest than spend on flats.
“Sa Pilipinas na lang sila mag-invest it would be better,” she said.
Besides, she said, “We usually only need a place to sleep for the night as most of the time we are at work. We love to be with one another, sometimes enjoy free food and karaoke on weekends,” Tibor said.
Tibor, who has been in Dubai for quite some time and now runs her own cross-trading company, has managed to rent a one-bedroom unit. She said her rent has gone down from Dh58,000 last year to Dh43,000 this year — a difference of Dh15,000.
“By 2020, it will be Dh38,000 according to my landlord,” said Tibor, who lives near Dubai Sports City.
Yba Ogniko, a media and public relations practitioner, for her part meanwhile said she will take advantage of the price drop by saving the discounts for her condominium investment back home.
“We won’t be working abroad forever. So we should save so that we’ll have something for our selves when this is all over,” she said.
Ben Lebig, Jr., a registered financial planner working as an analyst at a multinational company in the UAE, said: “Kung hindi naman talaga need na magkaroon ng isang one-bedroom or studio, ay better not.”
“They can instead invest their extra money in real estate properties back home na pwedeng maging source ng extra income,” he added.
He also advised OFWs to first study the mechanics of investing.
“But then again before investing in high value properties such as condos, mag-aral muna and understand the mechanics of the investment, the cashflow requirements and how to maximize the earning potentials of the property with factors such as location, among others,” Lebig said.