Meanwhile, apartment transactions are falling sharply despite real estate investors’ belief that this segment has huge potential. The resilience becomes evident as more and more businesses plan to sell their “products” through the upcoming holiday season.
Big incentives to attract customers
Contrary to the bustling selling-buying atmosphere of the same period last year, many real estate transactions see the phenomenon of "afternoon market". This fact is clearly shown by the data provided by CBRE Vietnam in which the number sold in Q1/2017 was only about 6,000 apartments, decreased by 47% compared to Q4/2016’s and 29% compared to that of the same period last year. Similarly in Hanoi, the supply increased, but the purchasing power declined, especially in the high-end and luxury segments.
Mr. Nguyen Van Dinh - Vice President of Vietnam Real Estate Association said that the apartment market in the first three months of the year has shown signs of slowing down, but it doesn’t mean the whole market is bleak. The fact that some tradings have unsatisfactory results is only limited to some areas.
Customers query housing project information in Real Estate Fair in Hanoi. Photo: Pham Hung
Journalist from the Economic & Urban Newspaper said that the bottleneck of the market currently is the psychology of buyers which needs to be removed. A series of apartment disputes in the first three months of the year is one of the main reasons for slow market liquidity. Mindful about this, real estate businesses have planned “strong” promotions. In the second quarter of 2017, the holiday season of 30/4 - 1/5 is an opportunity for customers to find out about the products and services. Manh Tuan, STDA real estate broker said that he would not come back to visit his family during the upcoming holidays but remain in the city to work instead. At a large project in Thanh Xuan ward, Hanoi, there are many land brokers who are trying to offer and attract customers. To increase sales before the last holiday, those people had diligently distributed project leaflets. If customers are in need of information, these brokers are ready to go to their home to give advice. If they want to visit the project, those brokers will take them to the project to explain it in details.
Likewise, Lam, a broker at MaxLand Real Estate Exchange who is working with a client on a project in Cau Giay, said that the holiday season of 30/4 - 1/5 is the time clients outside of Hanoi come to the city. "This is a unique opportunity to find out prospective homebuyers. It is not rare for brokers to deal with customers from Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang looking for property in Hanoi," - Lam said.
According to Mr. Nguyen Van Duc - Vice President of Vietnam Real Estate Association, customers are now "God." Real estate companies who decide to work on holiday express their agility of capturing the psychology of casual customers on these occasions. Customers have free time to study the housing project on sight more thoroughly and feel easier to spend money. Therefore, the possibility of successful transactions in the holidays are often quite high.
Mai Anh from Thanh Xuan district said that in late 2016, she and her husband were interested in a project in Nguyen Xien road. However, in the first 3 months of 2017, affected by news of many apartment disputes, she decided not to buy. Now as a developer offered a 20% apartment discount for April 30th transactions, she and her husband are motivated to spend money.
Careful for overnight price fluctuation
In the second quarter of 2017, real estate analysts also paid particular attention to the race to "hunt" large terrain - products with high profit margin. The price surge has rapidly spread from north to south. Why does the land price become abnormal? Economic analist Dinh The Hien said: “the price of prime real estate in prospective locations is rising as that of real estate in labor quarter. Wherever there is demographic concentration, land price is increasing”.
In fact, at Thanh Ha Cienco 5 urban area, land brokers are trying to inflate land price. In the area of Ha Dong, there are many real estate specialized in giving consultancy. A broker having dozens of land plots here said that the current land price in any street surges and there are special areas with significant increase. Land lots near big roads or lakes rises rapidly to the point that sometimes a transaction takes only 1 day and the profit is big. "Yesterday, we sold 11 land lots for customers who deposited 50 - 100 million dongs downpayment. Today with only getting customers making downpayment, a broker can win a premium of 50 million, and many landowners are unwilling to sell. The price changes to the rise day after day. It’s hard to know at what point the price will reach as more and more people show interest in buying in this holiday season," said Son Hong, a project broker.
Similarly in Thanh Ha Cienco 5 Hanoi project, in the areas near Ho Chi Minh City, land prices are rumored to rise so fast that buyers do not have enough time to handle. If about a year ago, by paying from 500 to 600 million dongs, buyers could own a plot of 40 - 60m2 in Phu Huu, Long Phuoc, Long Thanh My wards of District 9. Now such money could not afford such real estate. For the areas adjacent to Binh Duong province as Thu Duc district, if a year ago the price of a land lot worth about 300-500 million dongs, now it has increased by over 60%.
According to a senior land broker, "Investors are coming here to take advantage of the potential metro line 1 which is near completion and Long Binh port which is likely to be moved to other location. The price offered here just two months ago was VND13 million/sqm, but now it is VND19-20 million/sqm." The same is happening in other areas like Cu Chi or Can Gio. Through surveys, the land market here goes up overnight due to rumors about some super projects of the "big bosses". Accordingly, roads around North West urban area suddenly are filled with leaflets and banners to make land offers.
From the analitical perspective, many experts estimate the current land price is speculative. Even in a country with larger GDP than Vietnam, such urban areas with infrastructure and utilities as Melbourne, Australia, land or villas 10-15km away from downtown with convenient public transportation has lower price than land in District 9, Nha Be, Can Gio, Cu Chi.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, Vice President of Vietnam Real Estate Association, said that the skyrocketing trend of land price can be profitable if the project is invested by a reputable investor. The condominium market has seen a significant improvement over the past few decades but there are still some drawbacks. Unclear ownership of common areas, disagreements over how to manage and deliver services in buildings, more costs incurred, etc. cause uncertainty among homebuyers who feel dissatisfied and prefer land property instead of apartment. However, if no measures are taken to prevent land speculation, it will lead to many risks for homebuyers, banks and the market while investors and brokers benefit the most. "I think this holiday is the time when customers have time to find out about the project they are most interested in, before deciding to pay money in the future," Thanh said.
President of HCMC Real Estate Association, Le Hoang Chau: Peripheral districts are experimenting speculative land price.
On the whole, the real estate market still has potential risk factors such as the supply-demand difference (mainly difference in high-end, resort tourism segments), credit capital of banks and social capital (mainly of homebuyers) tending to be different from some large firms. the number of Secondary business investors is rising (only the high-end real estate segment, the proportion of secondary business investors up to more than 60%). There is also the phenomenon of speculative price in the coastal districts and District 9, Thu Duc, Binh Tan, Nha Be, Binh Chanh, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi districts, etc. At the same time, the segment of social housing, affordable commercial housing (accounting for two thirds of successful transactions on the market in the first quarter of 2017) has high liquiditybut the supply fails to meet demand, because real estate business still have not been interested in developing..
General Director of EximRS Real Estate Services JSC Tran Thi Cam Tu: Investors should be cautious
The slowdown of the apartment market has led to strong investment in the land segment, and drives this segment up strongly in the second half of 2016. In the first three months of 2017, land prices in Ho Chi Minh City, especially in the coastal districts, have been increasing steadily by 20 - 30%, even 50% in some areas over the previous year. However, buyers should be careful and select the projects planned in detail with legal transparency, reputable investors to avoid price changes, legal risks even empty commitment in the future.
Deputy General Director of Him Lam Land Ngo Quang Phuc: Businesses who want to sell their goods must invest in sustainable development
The competition in the real estate market is extremely fierce. Enterprises want to develop successfully the projects have to release products matching with the taste of the market. Customers in the present stage are very smart when deciding to buy, so they are the ones who clearly understand whether the project is really worth for investment or not. The market is now developing in a more transparent and sustainable way. The supply will sharply increase. This is the factor that is beneficial to homebuyers but at the same time makes enterprises face with fierce competition. Enterprises want to sell their products must invest in sustainable development and prove to customers the value of the project. If not, they will have trouble right away.
Vice Chairman cum CEO of MB Land Vu Thanh Hue: It is necessary to make a difference for each project
Undeniably, large supplies are creating intense competition pressure. However, not all projects are all successful. Customers still need to carefully select projects and investors with good potentials. For investors, to be successful, I think it makes sense to make a difference at every project, even every sale, because the time that everyone deals in real estate market is over. The ones who remain and develop in the field of real estate are prestigious investors, who have abilities and create their own way through forecasting the movement of the market.