Under Official Letter No. 2502 sent to the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, the ministry encourages Ho Chi Minh City to allow real estate developers to build apartments from 25-45 square meters.
According to the ministry, the current law has not yet regulated an area limit for apartments and the ministry is compiling to be able to issue the National Technical Regulations on Apartments early, which will stipulate the minimum area for commercial apartments.
Construction of small apartments is allowed to help low-income earners have home.
Vietnam’s 2015 construction law abolished a previous requirement that set the minimum area for an apartment at 45 square meters, but did not stipulate a new limit. In December 2015, a government decree on housing development for low-income earners came into force and set the minimum area at 25 square meters. Decrees often require guidance from related ministries before they are implemented.
The ministry said that many countries in the world allow the construction of small apartments. For example, the minimum area for an apartment in South Korea is 14 square meters, in France 15 square meters and in Thailand 15-20 square meters. However, these countries still perform well in population management, architectural planning management and technical infrastructure and social infrastructure in urban areas.
The move was made after real estate developers and authorities at some big cities and provinces have been seeking permission to build commercial houses of 30-40 square meters to meet high demands of single persons, small families and low-income buyers. Vietnam currently has 2.2 million people working in industrial parks, but only 20 percent of them have their own homes, according to the ministry.
Previously, Ho Chi Minh City decided not to allow investors to build commercial apartments under 25 square meters out of fear that fast urbanization and population growth may spiral out of control. In a letter sent to the Ministry of Construction, the city said small apartments are not part of its development plans. Small apartments would allow more people to buy property in the already overcrowded city, which would lead to population growth and more pressure on infrastructure, it said.
To strengthen its argument, the city stated that it does not want to create “elevated slums”. In a letter issued in April to a domestic developer, the ministry said the firm would be allowed to build 25-square-meter apartments to attract low-income earners before new national standards for apartment sizes are set.