We bought a condo in Cebu three years ago or so off-plan and got a decent discount. We also bought a car park space as I thought that eventually car parking would become a big problem here and spaces would command a premium. In Hong Kong there is a good market in parking spaces and some property investors just specialise in them and have done very nicely.
Our experience wasn't agony but then my expectations were not that high but I wanted to make sure my wife had additional assets here. The build quality was not great but nothing that a bit of additional spending couldn't put right. The problem was as much to do with the materials as with the workmanship.
One thing where condos here tend to score is on space measurements. Ours is 42 sq. m. which seems right to me as the one we have in Hong Kong is almost the same in terms of net usable floor space. Hong Kong developers are the masters of games when it comes to floor measurements (i.e., gross versus net) and it's only recently that they have had to state the net floor space that can be actually be used.
I expect prices here to flat-line at worst over the next 5 years or so but much depends on the local economy of course. Maybe they will take off a bit if the economy really booms and Chinese move into the market to park money they can still get out of China. The outlay for our condo wasn't that large and unlike Hong Kong, where I have bought and sold several small apartments over the past 15 years, I don't expect to make much money on it anyway. It will generate some additional income which is fine.
My biggest gripe about the property sector here is the lack of transparency and the way that so little information is easily available. I am used to being able to go to property company websites and getting financial details of all the latest transactions, both sales and rentals. Alternatively, many banks offer property valuations through online banking for the most popular apartment blocks in different districts. But this is in a real market.
Another gripe concerns real estate agents and their charges which I find unbelievable given the prevailing standards of service. To hit sellers for 5% and landlords one month's rent for their service seems to be way over-the-top. Hong Kong charges are 1% each from buyer and seller on a sale/purchase and half a month's rent from landlord and tenant for a rental. Since the buyer/renter is also getting a "service" why shouldn't they pay too?