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Manila Rental Insights: Navigating Housing Options, Prices, and Locations for Expats

Moving to a new city can be an exciting adventure, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges, especially when it comes to finding the right place to live. For expats and newcomers to Metro Manila, the Philippines, this task can be particularly daunting. In this comprehensive guide, we'll take you through the ins and outs of renting in Manila, including types of rental properties, prices, neighborhoods, and essential tips to make your transition smoother.

Source: The World Property Journal

Types of Rental Properties

When it comes to renting in Metro Manila, you'll find a variety of rental property types, including condos (or apartments), townhouses, and house and lots. Each type caters to different needs and budgets.

- Condos/Apartments: These are units rented from a landlord who owns the entire building. They are generally more budget-friendly and convenient for city living.

- Townhouses: Townhouses are attached housing units, often with luxurious amenities like swimming pools and gyms. They offer a higher level of security.

- House and Lots: Detached houses with their own yards are ideal for those who want more space for families or pets.


The cost of renting in Manila varies widely based on location and amenities. Furnished units typically cost more than unfurnished ones, with a monthly difference of around ₱10,000 to ₱15,000 (approximately $195 to $292). Location plays a significant role in rental prices, as illustrated by examples from Kapitolyo and Ortigas East.

To determine reasonable rent amounts for your desired area, use online tools and platforms like Facebook Marketplace to research current listings and compare prices.

Source: Asia Property Awards

Neighborhoods in the NCR

Metro Manila is vast, comprising numerous neighborhoods to choose from. Popular areas for expats include:

- Makati and Bonifacio Global City (BGC): These areas boast vibrant expat communities, international schools, and top hospitals, making them desirable but pricier.

- Ortigas Center: Located within Pasig City, this business hub is another expat-friendly area with various amenities.

- Kapitolyo: Known for its food scene, Kapitolyo offers a unique living experience with numerous restaurants and coffee shops.

- Antipolo: A mountainous community outside the NCR offers lower rent and cooler temperatures, making it an option for those seeking a quieter life.

Finding a Rental Unit

While word-of-mouth is a common way to find rentals in the Philippines, newcomers can use various resources:

- Internet Sites: Reputable websites offer listings in the NCR, but be cautious of outdated listings.

- Facebook Marketplace: An active platform for online shopping and rental listings, where you can connect directly with landlords.

- Realtors: Real estate agents manage rental properties and can assist with documentation and negotiations.

Renting vs. Buying

Foreigners in the Philippines face legal complexities when it comes to land ownership. Renting is a simpler and more accessible option for expats, while owning land or houses requires workarounds that can be legally risky.

Source: Vista Residences

However, owning a condo is a viable option due to the Condominium Act, which allows expats to purchase condos under certain conditions.

Things to Keep in Mind

Several factors require consideration when renting in Manila:

- Traffic: Manila's traffic can be challenging, so choose a location that aligns with your daily needs.

- Language: English is widely spoken, making communication and understanding rental contracts more accessible.

- Security: Look for properties with legitimate security measures, such as gated neighborhoods and attentive guards.

- Pets: Negotiate pet allowances in the rental contract and ensure it aligns with the property's rules.

- Rental Payment: Negotiate payment terms that suit you, and be cautious when considering paying a year in advance.

- Utilities: Establishing utility accounts may require assistance from your landlord.

- Flooding: Inquire about flood history and be prepared for the rainy season.

As you embark on your journey to rent a place in Manila, use this guide to navigate the complexities and make informed decisions to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable living experience in this vibrant city.




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