So, you’ve decided to reside long-term or retire in the Philippines, and you’re wondering how much it would cost per square meter to build a house in this country?
You’re in the right place!
When my husband and I decided to move and retire in the Philippines, the cost of building a house is one of the first things we looked at. After all, we wanted to own a house here instead of renting.
In this post, I am going to share with you how much would it cost, on average, to build a house here.
Several factors come into play when computing the construction cost for a complete house in the Philippines.
Additionally, depending on the type of construction, materials, and labor, as well as location, contribute to the overall house contraction cost. But to give you a better idea of how much you need should you want to build a house in the Philippines.
To quickly answer this question, according to PSA’s latest data, the average cost of building a house in the Philippines is 10,900 pesos per sqm.
But this is not the final figure as many things can affect the total construction costs, such as quality of construction materials, type of residential house, cost of construction work and services, and more.
Ultimately though, we decided to buy a newly built house instead of building.
If you are interested in building your house though, then read on.
The first step in building a house in the Philippines
Before we even get to the cost of building or constructing a house in the Philippines, the first step you should take is, obviously, to secure a lot where you want to build a house. Knowing the size of your lot as well as the location help you arrive at a closer estimate of the construction cost per square meter.
Note that if you are a foreigner or a former Filipino, you may not be able to acquire a land in the Philippines. There are restrictions even for former Filipinos to own a land here, so if you’ve acquired foreign citizenship, I do recommend getting your dual citizenship first.
Thankfully, becoming a dual citizen is an easy and a straight forward process. You can become a dual citizen in one appointment at your nearest consular office abroad.
If you’re a foreigner married to a Filipino, then the most logical way to acquire a lot or piece of land here is to buy it on the name of your Filipino spouse.
Now, once you have your lot and your budget for the construction cost, you can talk to a trusted contractor and get things moving.
How to compute house construction costs
According to All Properties, there are two main ways to compute the construction cost of real estate: detailed cost estimate and the area method.
This computation method requires a floor plan or blueprint of the house construction. It considers all aspects of the construction, from the type of materials and their quality to the expected labor cost, construction services, and the specifics of electrical, mechanical plumbing, fixtures, and types of finish.
The detailed estimate method allows you and your contractors to nail an almost accurate construction cost per square meter.
The area method is an easier and quicker computation method because it only takes into account the total floor area of the house construction and multiplies it by the average cost per square meter. It gives you a rough estimate of how much the house construction costs you.
But because the area method is not very precise because it does not consider the specifics, such as the number of rooms, doors, and windows; type of structure, quantity, and quality of materials. Also, most contractors would mark their costs up to ensure the budget does not run on deficit.
If you need a ballpark figure for your house construction budget, the area method is good. But if you want to be more specific with everything that goes into building a house, then it’s best to go for the detailed estimate.
Talk to your contractors
Another way to build a house within your budget is just to communicate with your contractors about how much you’re willing to spend on the construction. They could help you develop a design that fits the budget while considering things like the costs of materials and labor.
This is the best way to set realistic expectations on how your house will turn out in the end. Of course, always communicate with your contractors and raise concerns as early as possible to prevent making costly decisions.
Factors that affect house construction costs in the Philippines
Don’t be surprised if your contractor can’t give you a precise estimate of the house construction cost at your first meeting. Your dream house entails a lot of things — from the floor area, number of rooms, materials, and services, labor cost, type of finish, etc.
You have to figure out many things and work around your budget. You will coordinate with suppliers and contractors, comply with regulatory requirements like building permits, and take care of other things in between. Therefore, you must be physically, emotionally, and financially ready if you’re planning to build a house.
Now, here are the things that could affect the house construction costs to help you arrive at a cost estimate per square meter.
Location can greatly affect the construction cost in the Philippines. If you are building a house in a far-flung area, the cost of construction services can be more expensive because of issues of accessibility to materials and equipment.
The cost of construction in major cities, like Metro Manila, tends to be expensive as well because of expected delays due to traffic and higher labor costs. According to most sources, it is often cheaper to build a house in the provinces because of lower material labor costs.
Size and height of the house
Another consideration in the construction cost per square meter is the size and height of the house. Naturally, the bigger, higher, and more elaborate a building is, the more expensive the construction cost. In the same way, a bigger house often requires more rooms, plumbing, and electrical work — requiring even more materials and labor costs.
If you have a strict “deadline” for completing the house construction, then expect to pay more. According to CM Builders, the average construction duration in the Philippines is around six months.
You need to spend the first couple of weeks prior taking care of documentary requirements like securing a building permit. You can speed up the process of the construction project by hiring more people, but that would also mean spending more on labor costs.
The quantity and quality of materials could also impact the construction cost of building a house. Quality and branded fixtures are more expensive than regular ones. The type of flooring material, panel, glass, and even plumbing and electrical materials could contribute to construction costs.
This is often a case of getting what you paid for. High-quality materials tend to be more expensive than regular ones. But these materials are often better-looking and more durable, so you don’t spend as much for constant replacement or repairs.
Type of finish
The type of finish is what your eyes can see once construction is done. Additionally, the type of finish also carries a significant impact on the house construction cost per square meter.
According to All Properties, there are four main types of finishes in building a house in the Philippines:
This is the bare house finish that comes with basic facilities like cement flooring, windows, doors, and concrete walls. The house construction cost of rough finish houses costs around P15,000 to P20,000 per square meter.
The standard finish is a little better than the rough finish because you get tiled floors, aluminum-framed windows, painted walls, and good-quality roofing. The house construction cost of standard finish houses ranges from around P20,000 to P25,000 per square meter.
Semi elegant finish
The semi-elegant finish is the type of construction you find in most subdivisions. It’s more upscale as it features textured paints, accent wall panels, granite tiles, customized doors, windows, and kitchen cabinetry. The cost to build a semi-elegant finish house is around P25,000 to P35,000.
If you have an even bigger budget for house construction, then you could opt for the highest-level finish: the elegant finish. This type of house construction finish is obviously a lot more expensive than the first three mentioned, and this is the kind you would see in executive homes and mansions of the rich and famous. The house construction cost for elegant finish houses in the Philippines is around P40,000 to P60,000 per square meter.
The average cost of house construction per square meter (by region)
House construction costs in the Philippines can vary depending on where you intend to build your new house. According to PSA’s Construction Statistics From Approved Building Permits from Q4 of 2020, here are the construction costs of building a new house by region per sqm.
- National Capital Region – 15,252
- Western Visayas – 13,032
- Bicol Region – 11,471
- Cordillera Administrative Region – 11,279
- MIMAROPA Region – 11,209
- Ilocos Region – 10,711
- Central Visayas – 10,273
- Cagayan Valley – 9,875
- Zamboanga Peninsula – 9,760
- Central Luzon – 9,737
- Eastern Visayas – 9,689
- Davao Region – 9,524
- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – 8,430
- Caraga – 7,963
- SOCCSKSARGEN – 7,835
- Northern Mindanao – 5,428
Note: these are only rough estimates for construction costs and do not reflect the total construction cost per sqm.
According to PSA, the average standard construction cost of real estate in the Philippines as of Q4 of 2021 is PHP 10,900 for residential property and PHP 10 679 for non-residential property.
Average standard construction cost per square meter (by type of construction)
The type of construction also has a profound impact on the overall construction cost in the Philippines. According to PSA, the cost of building a property can vary depending on the type of structure. As of the last quarter of 2021, the estimates are as follows:
- Residential Condominium – ₱19,020
- Single House – ₱10,557
- Apartment / Accessoria – ₱8,646
- Duplex / Quadruplex – ₱11,393
- Other Residential – ₱12,504
Preparations for building a house in the Philippines
Now that you have an idea of how much it costs to build a house in the country per sqm, then what’s next? If you are committed to investing and putting up in a residential property, then you should expect to do the following:
- Secure the documents. You must hold the land title or lot plan. You must also obtain a tax declaration, community tax certificate, building permit, and occupancy permit, among others.
- Decide on the type of house. The more specific you are with the type of house that you want, the easier it is to come up with a blueprint and budget. Do you want a low-cost bare-bones house or want something that’s high-end? You also need to be more specific about the construction materials you wish to use, the number of rooms, and the fixtures.
- Hire professionals. Building houses is a project for architects, engineers, and other construction professionals. Reach out to them and present your plan. These people are knowledgeable about what goes into the entire process of construction, and they can give you a quote after thoroughly taking all things into account.
- Site inspection. Your hired professionals will have to see for themselves the exact location of where you wish to build your dream house. They need to know if the property will have adequate access to services like water and electricity, as well as create a logistical plan to access construction materials and services.
- Check out the plan. Your hired professionals now have to present a detailed plan of the construction and the budget for your home construction. At this point, you should already point out things that you want to add or change. This stage is most important if you have a limited budget. You can always come to a compromise to push through with the construction of your property.
Constructing your dream house in the Philippines is undoubtedly a serious undertaking. You have to prepare for it, especially financially. Depending on where you want to build, the type of house, the quality of materials, and the labor cost, you may need to prepare at least PHP 10,900 per sqm for basic house construction, and it goes up if you want something more decent, high-end, and better quality.
The estimated cost given to you by your engineer or architect is often not set in stone. You’ll only know the total construction cost once the house is completely done. With that in mind, try to have some wiggle room in your budget to accommodate unexpected needs during the construction.