Highlights in Real Estate Investment in Vietnam

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Vietnam is attracting interest of investors in both domestic and foreign market. Overall, investor confidence was returning to the Vietnam real estate market. Both buyers and sellers have enhanced activity in recent months.

The real estate market of Vietnam has overcome the recession period within 4 or 5 years ago but in the last 12 months, the market has recovered and noted positive signs as well as confidence in the market in general.

Law on housing and real estate business Law takes effect in July 2015 and has acted quickly and positively on the real estate market in Vietnam. The changes in the Law on housing have significantly eased the regulations on home ownership for foreigners, although there are still some limitations.

“Hot spots” of FDI inflows

According to a recent report of Jones Lang LaSalle Vietnam (JLL), a series of free trade agreements such as TPP, EU and ASEAN will further promote the medium and long term development. Interest rates and inflation rate have declined significantly and became more stable in the past two years, helping the investment activity to occur more positive in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. With some domestic and foreign investors such as CapitaLand and Keppel Land, they have spurred the construction activities thanks to the growing revenue in the last 12 months.

Accordingly, the amount of disbursed FDI in the period from January to September of 2015 rose by 8.4% compared to the same period last year, reaching 9.7 billion USD. This is the strongest growth since the late 1980s, contrary to the slowdown of the Chinese economy. The amount of registered capital of new investors also rose even more sharply with 11 billion USD, focused primarily on the manufacturing industry, in which the energy and electronics industries are the sectors with the highest registered capital investment in the year, followed by the real estate sector.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, FDI investment in the industrial park in Vietnam accounted for 67% of total FDI in Vietnam with 11 billion USD and accounting for 59% of the total 1,400 projects in the first 9 months of 2015. A notable transaction is the event that Amata Corporation acquired the land worth 279 million USD in Long Thanh (Dong Nai) for the purpose of building residential and industrial areas valued of 500 million USD.

According to JLL, the residential real estate prices in Vietnam maintained an average rate with 2 bedroom apartments, 70 m2, 10 – 15 minutes to reach the central area of Ho Chi Minh City, which are sold at the price of 1,600 – 2,000 USD/m2, equivalent to 112,000 – 140,000 USD/apartment. When compared with the big cities in the region, the price is believed to increase significantly.

Who dominated the real estate market of Vietnam?

JLL’s report showed that domestic investors are boosting investment activity in the real estate market of Vietnam. The largest real estate investors in Vietnam are Vingroup and Novaland Group.

Vingroup is Vietnam’s largest real estate development and management with market capitalization of about 3.4 billion USD. Vingroup’s investment portfolio includes 45 real estate projects spread across many sectors of the real estate market, including Vinhomes luxury apartments and villas; Vincom Center and Vincom Mega Mall; Vincom Office; 5 star Vinpearl resort; Vinpearl Luxury resort….

Novaland Group has participated in the real estate market in 2007 with the first project is Sunrise City with investment capital of 500 million USD located on Nguyen Huu Tho road, district 7. The real estate business of Novaland focused on the apartment complex segment from mid to high classes and the segment of house land with 25 projects that are being implemented throughout the downtown districts.

Vietnam is becoming an attractive place for foreign investment in the medium term than many other countries in Southeast Asia. Data from Real Capital Analytics (RCA) recorded that there are more attention from a number of private investment funds that are allocated foreign capital into Vietnam in an attempt to increase their market presence in Vietnam.

In the 2nd quarter of 2015, a joint venture of Warburg Pincus – a US investment fund, has invested 100 million USD into Vincom Retail, the Vietnam’s largest trade center ownership and management in Vietnam. Also in this quarter, Gaw Capital Partners has received the transfer of 4 real estate projects under various segments from Indochina Land with a total value of 106 million USD. Gamuda Land has also receive the transfer of 40% shares (equivalent to 64.1 million USD) in the Celadon City project, a modern urban area with initial investment by a joint venture between Sacomreal, Thanh Thanh Cong (TTC) and An Phu Gia.

The current real estate profit margin is high

JLL’s analysis shows that investors are now enjoying 6 – 7% profitability rate for residential real estate and 9 – 11% for commercial real estate, depending on location, completion time, quality of the project and the signing time of the tenants.

According to General Director of JLL Vietnam, real estate investment in emerging markets has always been seen as risky investments but with higher potential profits. Investors are willing to engage in joint venture projects in these markets, where they will combine with local investors who wish to have capital supporting – in order to have a foothold in the market before and also experience the exponential growth in the future when the economy of these market growing fast.

Moreover, the emerging markets such as Vietnam will have the potential growth factors, including population growth and high urbanization rate. Investors and project developers can take advantage of these factors.

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