Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hanoi Real Estate

Hanoi realty market not ripe for investors

April 22, 2012
This is not
the right time for secondary investors to join the present dreary realty
market as the central bank’s latest loosened credit policy will bring
about a psychological impact only, insist market observers.

Prices continue shrinking
Since realty fever in 2007, the condo segment for the first time has
experienced a free-fall in price in the primary market, said an
executive of CB Richard Ellis Vietnam (CBRE) at a recent press briefing
relating to real estate in the capital city. Around 53% of
newly-launched apartments in the first quarter were priced at below
VND21 million per square meter at favorable locations like My Dinh, Dinh
Cong and Cau Giay urban area.
Meanwhile, prices of housing products in the secondary market have
still continued on a  downtrend, at around 11% year-on-year. The
presence of a meager 1,100 flats as new products on the market this
quarter proved that not only homebuyers but also enterprises and
developers are sticking to a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude, noted CBRE
executive director Richard Leech.
Notably, several project owners are tending to prolong or even halt
construction progress in spite of good business with other projects.
Statistics by Savills Vietnam also recorded the deepest price plunge
of the medium-cost apartment segment this quarter, at 9%, compared to
the last quarter in 2011. The fact showed that prices of all segments in
the secondary market were falling in most districts on average. The
leading property services provider attributed the price fall to low
liquidity of the market since the middle of last year.
Poor liquidity
A lot of experts predicted 2012 would be the year of the
middle-priced apartment sector. However, data collected by Savills
Vietnam in the first quarter indicated the consumption ratio of grade-B
flats, or middle-priced products, stayed at 3%, down nine percentage
points from the previous quarter. Similarly, grade-A condos, or
high-class apartments, saw transactions reach 2% during the first three
months, thus no change from the preceding three quarters.
The combined consumption ratio of the whole market stood at 7%,
sliding by five percentage points against the fourth quarter in 2011.
According to Savills Vietnam, the local market will see a new supply
of roughly 45,000 flats from 52 projects in the next three years. This
will put much greater pressure on the sluggish realty market, especially
as the number of unsold housing products by Hanoi’s investors is fairly
large, at about 16,500, as reported by CBRE.
Most specialists shared the view that the current stagnant market had
resulted from increasingly-rising misconducts of developers and
investors in terms of construction progress and legal procedures,
seriously dampening confidence among consumers. Due to financial
constraints, the absence of speculators accounting for up to 60-70% of
the total demand was also cited as the reason behind the weak liquidity
of the market.
A series of disputes between developers and homebuyers in recent
times have also discouraged local buyers from looking for apartments
developed by project owners.
The market has showed some signs of improvement with a slight
recovery after being frozen for a long time, reckoned Pham Trung Ha,
director of property company Hoa Phat.
The ceiling deposit rate was revised down to 12% a year but high
lending rates plus concerns over dull outlooks and the maximum credit
growth rate of 17% annually at banks as required by the central bank
have led to a poor appetite for property loans among lenders. Therefore,
project owners and those wanting to buy homes to live in have found it
hard to access bank loans.
Not right time for secondary investors
Regarding the ample housing supply in Hanoi, Leech of CBRE said this
was a good time for those in dire need of housing, not for either
secondary investors or speculators, but to buy homes to live in.
Borrowers taking out bank loans are still charged with unaffordable
lending rates, so the lowered deposit rate cap is aimed at reviving the
psychology of house buyers only.
To increase liquidity for the real estate market, experts advised
local firms to pay attention to the total area of every condo, prices as
well as quality and flexible payment methods in line with clients’
Local industry insiders have difficulty identifying consumers’
demands, so they are unable to match supply and demand at home as
expected, Tran Nhu Trung of Savills Vietnam added.
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