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Buying a property in Cebu: a complete guide

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property investment Cebu

Yes, the analysis of Cebu's property market is included in our pack

Interested in buying a nice property in Cebu? You're not alone!

Many people are captivated by Cebu's island charm and dream of owning a beachfront villa or a modern condo with breathtaking ocean views.

Would it be a profitable investment, though? Are property prices increasing in Cebu? What is the current trend? Should I buy property in Cebu City or Mactan? What are the property taxes? Where can you get a rental yield above 7%?

We know the answers.

The BambooRoutes team has done their homework and know this market well. Actually, we've put all our findings together in a pack. Get it now.

In this article, we're happy to share useful information with you.

How's the property market in Cebu?

Is the property market in a good shape or a challenging one? Data will tell us the story.

Types of properties

In Cebu, you can find various types of properties for sale, including houses, condominiums, apartments, townhouses, and vacant land.

These properties come in different sizes and styles, catering to different preferences and budgets.

Whether you're looking for a cozy home, a convenient apartment, a stylish condominium, a charming townhouse, or a piece of land to build your dream property, Cebu offers a diverse range of options for potential buyers.

Buying vs Renting

(If you're buying for yourself and not to rent out)

If you're considering settling in Cebu, the vibrant city in the Philippines, you may be thinking about the advantages of buying versus renting a property.

Without a doubt, it's better to buy if you want to have a stable and long-term investment in Cebu.

Want to make a good decision? Check out the property price-to-rent ratio. Use this metric to see how rental income can help you pay off the property over time.

According to Numbeo, the property price-to-rent ratio in Cebu is around 28.68, which is above the world average.

This value means that, on average, it would take you 29 years of paying rents to afford buying a property in Cebu. However, you don't want to rent for such a long time (you're not building equity). Better to buy then.

Property prices in Cebu

On average, according to the last data from Philippine Statistics Authority, purchasing a property in Cebu should cost you around $2,880 per square meter.

Naturally, prices are quite spread out. The value of a square meter for a condo in Cebu City might differ from a beachfront property in Mactan Island. You'll get a more detailed in our pack for buying property in Cebu and in the Philippines.

To help you understand better, it means that, instead of buying an apartment in Paris or London, you can afford 5 properties in Cebu.

Also, housing prices in Cebu are 36% cheaper than in Manila.

The most expensive neighbourhoods in Cebu are probably Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City, while the cheapest areas are likely the rural towns and villages.

Cebu Property Price per Square Meter


First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that the Philippines is, as of now, a vulnerable and fragile country. The last Fragile State Index that has been reported for this place is 80.5.

It is something to have in mind when wondering whether it's a good investment to buy a property in Cebu.

If we look at more data, we can see that, according to the IMF’s forecasts, the Philippines's economy is expected to soar by 27.5% in the coming 5 years, resulting in an average GDP growth rate of 5.5%.

If you intend to invest in real estate in Cebu it's a good thing because a positive growth rate (usually) leads to higher incomes for citizens, enabling them to invest in real estate, which boosts demand and prices for properties.

Also, in the Philippines, the average GDP per capita has changed by 2.6% over the last 5 years. It's not much, but the growth is here.

These are positive signals showing that property prices in Cebu might increase in 2024 and during the coming years.

Looking for more updated data? We've done a big-picture study to find out if it's a good idea to purchase property in the Philippines right now.

Buying property in Cebu

Buying real estate in Cebu can be challenging due to the difficulty of obtaining reliable and up-to-date information. That's why we have created the pack to buy property in Cebu and in the Philippines.

Buying process

Within our pack, we've covered the entire buying process extensively. This includes a detailed breakdown of prices and yields based on the area, advice on negotiating prices, and information about obtaining a mortgage.

Now, we're providing you with a simplified version.

This is the step-by-step process to purchase a property in Cebu:

  1. Research properties and locations in Cebu, considering local regulations and zoning.
  2. Engage a licensed real estate agent familiar with Cebu's property market.
  3. Inspect shortlisted properties, considering factors like typhoon risk and flood-prone areas.
  4. Negotiate the price and terms, taking into account documentary stamp tax (DST) and transfer taxes.
  5. Sign a Letter of Intent (LOI) and Reservation Agreement, accompanied by an earnest money deposit.
  6. Secure necessary financing or funds from local banks, if applicable.
  7. Hire a lawyer to conduct due diligence and verify the property's title through the Registry of Deeds.
  8. Sign the Deed of Absolute Sale (DOAS) in the presence of a notary public.
  9. Pay the required taxes and fees, including capital gains tax and value-added tax (VAT).
  10. Register the property with the Registry of Deeds and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
  11. Transfer utilities and ownership to your name, including water and electricity accounts.
  12. Receive the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) from the Registry of Deeds as proof of ownership in Cebu.

Also, if you're not from the country, you might want to check our article on how to buy property as a foreigner in the Philippines.

Make a profitable investment in Cebu

Better information leads to better decisions. Save time and money. Download our guide.

buying property in Cebu

Where to find a property

Here is a list of websites where you can find properties in Cebu.

  • - Lamudi Philippines is a real estate platform offering a wide range of properties for sale and rent in various locations.
  • Hoppler - Hoppler is a trusted real estate brokerage in Metro Manila, offering a wide range of homes for sale and rent.
  • PropertyAccess - PropertyAccess is an online real estate platform in the Philippines, offering a wide range of properties for sale and rent.
  • Property online - They offer real-time listings, exceptional convenience for sellers and lessors, and professional customer service.
  • Berenta - Berenta is an online real estate platform in the Philippines that helps users find their dream properties for long-term rent.

Also, know that we have included contacts of real estate agencies, property lawyers, moving companies, expats communities and more in our pack for buying property in the Philippines.

What you can get

As mentioned before, the average price per sqm in Cebu is $2,880. If you're interested in a one-bedroom property spanning 60 square meters, it would be around $173,000, while a two-bedroom with 85 square meters would be approximately $245,000.

However, as you can guess, property prices will differ based on the attributes of the property and its specific location.

Expect property prices to be on the higher side in the premium areas of Cebu. Think about a house in Ayala Center Cebu, which might require a budget of around $540,000, whereas a house in Banilad could be priced at about $500,000.

Of course, certain regions are more affordable. You can find an apartment in Mandaue City for $100,000 or an apartment in Talisay City that's only $80,000.

We give a more detailed breakdown in our full pack for buying property in the Philippines.

Common pitfalls

Here are the main pitfalls specific to buying property in Cebu, Philippines:

  • Informal land titles (e.g., Tax Declarations) may lack legal security and verification.
  • "Colorum" land titles could lead to disputes as they lack government approval.
  • Failure to consider "Cebuano" inheritance laws may affect property succession rights.
  • Encroachment issues, common in densely populated areas, can lead to boundary disputes.
  • Strict foreign ownership restrictions might limit property options for non-Filipino buyers.
  • Unregulated land reclamation projects may impact coastal properties due to environmental risks.
  • Non-disclosure of ancestral land claims might result in legal challenges to ownership.
  • Overlooking restrictions on building heights and densities may hinder development plans.

We don't want this to happen to you, so we have included a full checklist for your property investment in our pack of documents. Avoid these mistakes and save a lot of money.

real estate The Philippines

Everything you need to know is included in our Philippines Property Pack

Living in Cebu

Living in Cebu is a great way to experience the vibrant culture, stunning beaches, and friendly locals, making it an ideal place to buy property.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Cebu is generally lower than in many other cities in the Philippines. It is especially attractive to expats due to its low cost of living, with rents and food prices being particularly affordable.

Here are some examples to better understand the cost of living in Cebu:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in IT Park: $400-$700 per month.
  • Monthly utilities (electricity, water, gas): $50-$80.
  • Meal with lechon (roast pig) at a local restaurant: $5-$10.
  • Monthly jeepney rides for commuting: $20-$30.
  • Gasoline (per liter) from Petron or Caltex: $0.75-$0.90.
  • Monthly membership at a local muay thai gym: $30-$50.
  • Internet from Globe or PLDT (50 Mbps, unlimited data): $40-$60 per month.
  • Movie ticket at Ayala Center Cebu: $4-$6.


We created a summary table so that we can show information in a way that is easy to understand and pleasant to read. This table tells us about the different neighborhoods in Cebu. For yields, prices and rents, check our property pack.

Neighborhood Description Strengths Weaknesses


Lahug is a bustling urban area with a mix of residential and commercial spaces, known for its lively nightlife and proximity to major establishments.

Great nightlife, convenient location, proximity to schools and universities.

Can get noisy and crowded, limited green spaces.


Talamban is a suburban neighborhood offering a peaceful living environment, with many schools and shopping centers in the vicinity.

Quiet and serene surroundings, access to educational institutions and shopping centers.

Limited public transportation options, fewer entertainment venues.


Guadalupe is a mix of residential and commercial areas, known for its religious sites and accessible public transportation.

Convenient public transportation, religious landmarks, diverse commercial establishments.

Traffic congestion, limited parking space.

Capitol Site

Capitol Site is a historical district with old-world charm, home to the provincial capitol building and many heritage structures.

Rich in history and heritage, close to government offices, cultural sites.

Old infrastructure, limited modern amenities.

Downtown Cebu

Downtown Cebu is the heart of the city, known for its bustling markets, shopping centers, and cultural landmarks.

Central location, vibrant markets, cultural attractions.

Heavy traffic, limited open spaces.


Mabolo is a mixed-use neighborhood with residential areas and commercial establishments, known for its accessibility and dining options.

Easy access to transportation, diverse dining choices, proximity to major establishments.

Some areas can be congested, noise from traffic.


Banilad is a suburban area with a combination of residential and business centers, popular for its upscale dining and lifestyle choices.

Upscale dining and shopping options, peaceful surroundings.

Higher cost of living, limited public transportation.


Colon is one of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods in Cebu, known for its colonial-era buildings and markets.

Rich in history and heritage, vibrant street markets.

Some areas may lack modern amenities, traffic congestion.


Pardo is a predominantly residential neighborhood with a strong sense of community and local traditions.

Tight-knit community, peaceful atmosphere.

Limited entertainment options, farther from the city center.

Life in Cebu

Cebu is a bustling economic hub in the Philippines, with a thriving IT sector and strong manufacturing presence. It is also an important port city, with a number of shipping and logistics companies based in the area.

What expats usually like the most in Cebu is the vibrant nightlife and the abundance of great restaurants and bars. They also enjoy the easy access to beaches, mountains, and other attractions in the area.

Unfortunately, there is a bit of crime in Cebu (the crime rate index is around 51, which is not so low. Examples of crimes in Cebu include pickpocketing, theft, and robbery, which primarily affect the local population and are rarely experienced by expats.

A good point for a property investor - Cebu has a mass rapid transit system known as the Cebu Light Rail Transit (LRT) which is currently under construction.

Access to healthcare in Cebu is generally good, with a range of both public and private medical facilities available.

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invest real estate in Cebu

Renting out in Cebu

If you're considering purchasing property solely for renting and earning income, you'll find valuable information in this section.


Tenant Profiles in Cebu

If you decide to buy and rent out to long-term tenants, you should target students, young professionals, expats, and retirees who are looking for a convenient and affordable place to stay in Cebu. Short-term rental tenants can also be targeted, such as those on business trips or vacationers.

Here is a little summary table we've made for you.

Property type and area Profiles of potential tenants What they are looking for Expected monthly rent in $

Condo in Cebu City

Professionals, expats

City living, convenience

$300 - $800

Apartment in Mandaue

Families, urban dwellers

Residential area, accessibility

$200 - $600

Studio in Lahug

Students, young professionals

Proximity to universities, lifestyle

$150 - $400

House in Talisay

Families, expats

Suburban living, spacious homes

$300 - $800

2-Bedroom Apartment in Lapu-Lapu

Young professionals, couples

Convenient location, affordability

$150 - $400

High-rise Apartment in Consolacion

Urban dwellers, commuters

City access, modern amenities

$150 - $400

1-Bedroom Apartment in Minglanilla

Singles, students

Local vibe, affordability

$100 - $300

Rental yields

As of today, rental yields in Cebu are within the 3-4% range. It's low. A good rental yield is typically considered to be around 7% or higher (you might know it already).

The best rental yields in Cebu are typically found in centrally located properties with good access to amenities such as shops, schools, transport links and parks. This is because they are in demand from tenants looking for convenience and attractive living conditions.

For further explanation and a more detailed breakdown, you can check the reports and analyses we have made.

Finally, be aware that rental incomes in Cebu are taxed at 25%, which is average.


You could also decide to rent short-term to tourists and business travelers visiting Cebu for a few days or weeks. Additionally, you could rent to students and professionals who are relocating to Cebu for a period of time.

If you decide to go with that option, look for properties in Mactan Island, specifically in Lapu-Lapu City or Cebu City, such as in the areas of Cebu IT Park, Ayala Center, and SM City Cebu.

Currently, there are approximately 4,000 active Airbnb listings in Cebu, reflecting a highly dynamic and bustling short-term rental market. The average daily rate is at $33.

You have the opportunity to generate some additional income stream then. According to online testimonials and analytics platform like AirDNA, Guesty and Inside Airbnb, people who offer short-term rentals in Cebu can make around $300 per month. Also, the average occupancy rate is estimated at 50%.

Is it worth buying real estate in Cebu then?

Buying a property in Cebu can make sense if you're planning for the long haul. If you intend to settle down in Cebu for an extended period, owning a property can offer stability and potentially save you money in the long run, given the high property price-to-rent ratio in the city. It's like putting down roots in a place known for its island charm and beautiful beaches.

Additionally, if you're seeking an affordable real estate market compared to global metropolises, Cebu offers reasonably priced properties, making it an attractive destination for property buyers looking for a cost-effective yet enjoyable lifestyle.

On the flip side, if you're looking for quick profits or high rental yields, Cebu may not be your best bet at the moment. Rental yields are currently below the 7% benchmark typically considered attractive for investors.

Moreover, if you're a foreign investor, be cautious of the strict ownership restrictions in the Philippines, which can limit your options and require careful navigation of regulations. Environmental risks, such as typhoons and land reclamation projects, also pose potential threats to coastal properties.

Lastly, the Philippines' vulnerability as a fragile country means you should be prepared for market volatility and economic uncertainties that can impact property values. In a nutshell, while Cebu has its charms, it's essential to align your property purchase with your long-term goals and risk tolerance, as it might not be the ideal choice for everyone.

Make sure you understand the real estate market in Cebu

Don't rush into buying the wrong property in the Philippines. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.

real estate market Cebu

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement or advice. While we strive for accuracy, we do not guarantee the completeness or reliability of the information, including text, images, links, or other elements in this material. Following the content and analyses presented here does not assure specific outcomes. For guidance tailored to your individual circumstances, it is recommended to consult with a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor.