In 1981, government officials placed the need for new housing at over 1.1 million units. Tens of thousands of barrios are scattered throughout the Philippines, each consisting of a double row of small cottages strung out along a single road. Each cottage is generally built on stilts and has a thatched roof, veranda, and small yard. Construction is largely undertaken by the private sector, with the support of government agencies. The Ministry of Human Settlements (MHS), created in 1978, sets housing programs in motion. Its first major program was the Bagong Lipunon Improvement of Sites and Services (BLISS), which undertook 445 projects involving 6,712 units housing 40,272 people. As with many programs begun during the Marcos administration, the projects became ridden with scandal. More creditable was the Pag-IBIG fund, which was set up to promote savings for housing and provide easy-term housing loans, with contributions from individuals, banks, industries, and the government. By the end of 1985, P 98 million in loans had been provided to 171,585 members. In 1985, membership contributions totaled P 1.34 billion, and 1,451 housing loans were approved.
The Aquino administration offered tax exemptions to domestic corporations and partnerships with at least 300 employees that invest funds in housing. From 1984–87, an annual average of about 103,150 units were built by the private sector with minimal assistance from the government.
According to recent estimates, at least 90% of all housing units were detached houses. Owners occupied about 80% of all dwellings. In 2000, there were 15,278,808 households with an average of five people per household.