Are more people moving to Dumaguete ?
I recently read a post on the Dumaguete Info Site that asked the question “Are more people moving to Dumaguete” and though I have no statistical data, I am certainly of the opinion that the answer is a resounding YES. Being in both the real estate business and the tours business, I believe I am on the front lines to gauge such an increase.
A few months back, both Yahoo and Forbes Magazine posted articles ranking the best cities in the world to retire to , and in both cases Dumaguete City was ranked in the top five. Within a month or two of those articles, we had a noticeable increase of inquiries for both services. After taking into consideration that we had entered the high season as well as the normal growth of our young businesses, I still estimate that the year over year increase of inquiries has close to tripled.
The most common scenario, and no real surprise, seems to be that single middle aged and older men are now visiting the area for several months on “fact finding missions” to determine whether a permanent move is right for them. At this stage they are looking for short term rental accommodations but few have made the decision for long term investment in the property market. Of course,, as we all know, most of these men are looking for Filipina partners and I certainly have anecdotal evidence of several now who have found local women and will be coming back. Though we like to laugh at “not moving too close to the family” , in most cases the Filipina does win this argument and most guys end up settling somewhere close to their woman’s roots, so they will not be isolated from their kin. My feeling is that though we are seeing mostly temporary influx now, this will translate into more permanent Xpat residents over the next few years, who will make investment into more permanent living accomodations.
One other scenario I have witnessed is Philippine nationals who have decided to move their whole families out of areas like Cebu and Mindanaou due to concerns of overcrowding, soaring prices and security threats. In these cases, the families seem to be moving in their entirety right from the grandparents down to the grandkids. Most are buying lots in the 1000 to 2000 sqm range with intentions to build “family compounds”
What are the base reasons these people are moving to Dumaguete, or at least contemplating it?
Well, from the feed back I am getting it appears the main selling point is that prices are still quite low. Though people that have called the Dumaguete area home for a few years might complain that prices have soared, the truth is they are still very attractive in comparison to other areas of Philippines with similar amenities, and of course hugely attractive in comparison to most western countries. Next seems to be the size. Though downtown Dumaguete can be likened to most other Filipino, or Asian cities, in regards to traffic, smog, and noise, the huge difference is that with a 15 minute drive in any direction, you can get away from those issues. That is somewhat unique. A third common comment is in regards to security. Though Dumaguete is not immune to danger, the threats to life or welfare seem for the most part to be restricted to those in the drug community or from domestic disputes. Personally, I have seen little else in regards to crime or violence.
How long will there be an upward trend in people moving to Dumaguete?
My belief is the main factors in determining that will be twofold. As in any location, the more an area becomes popular, the more pressure there will be for prices to rise. Since one of the major determining factors causing people to consider moving to Dumaguete is indeed cheap prices, at some point that competitive edge will probably be lost. The second factor is infrastructure. As Dumaguete experiences this probable growth spurt, if development is not handled in a responsible way, such issues as traffic, waste, smog and noise may get to the point that Dumaguete could not provide a decent “quality of life” to prospective incoming residents. If that happens, this area will probably end up being just another mid size Filipino city which has ruined its chances for long term sustainable growth.