Real estate seeing recovery in 2021

16:18 | 10/02/2021
In 2020 the Vietnamese real estate market, just like across the globe, was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and that remains the case today. There are, however, some bright spots in the market and if the virus is fully controlled, this year should recover and also see stronger liquidity.

According to experts in the country, the real estate market has never experienced difficulties on so many levels simultaneously like last year. On the other hand, the market is gradually adapting to the challenges to hold out and seize opportunities, continuing to charm investors. The aftermath of the pandemic can still become an opportunity to evaluate the capacity of investors while at the same time persuading them to concoct clear long-term investment strategies instead of indulging in short-term brokerage.

tet 42 real estate seeing recovery in 2021
Real estate seeing recovery in 2021. Photo: Freepik.com

Pandemic changing the game in real estate

COVID-19 has caused the real estate market of Vietnam to face many difficulties but the pandemic itself became an important catalyst in reshaping the market with many new investment fields emerging to attract investors in a new context.

Tran Nhu Trung, general director of Green-Edge Development and Growth JSC, said one notable trend in the market is a decline in investment interest in traditional markets and a wave of shift towards satellite and outskirt areas.

By analysing data reflecting individual investors’ behaviour on batdongsan.com.vn, based on search enquiries across the major cities of the country, it was noticed that there was a sharp decline in the demand in those traditional markets. At particular points across the year, the decline fell by approximately 60-70 per cent.

The decrease of demand in those traditional markets was due to supply becoming very limited, caused by the delay of approving new projects by local authorities and developers becoming cautious in launching new projects.

In the north, buyers and investors are paying much more interest to the six northern provinces of Quang Ninh, Haiphong, Bac Ninh, Hoa Binh, Hung Yen, and Vinh Phuc.

In the south, seven cities and provinces are most hunted in particular – Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An, Binh Phuoc, Can Tho, and Kien Giang.

Real estate developers seem to be moving to city outskirts where there is larger land funds left.

In Hanoi, the movement is expanding to the other side of the Red River, while in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Chanh and Thu Duc districts are the hottest spots.

Hospitality property ready for backing

As one of the segments most seriously impacted by the global health crisis, hospitality property is ready to return to the fore with a range of projects which have clear legal functions and well-developed plans.

According to experts, the hospitality and second-home segment has been in heavy decline since the end of 2019 due to the lack of a relevant legal framework. The emergence of the pandemic last year only exacerbated the issues facing tourism and hospitality.

However, from the last quarter of 2020, a number of projects are in the process of being implementation and could be ready to launch early this year.

Developers are speeding up in new areas. Instead of traditional markets for tourism such as Quang Ninh, Danang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc, high-potential but less developed tourism destinations such as Phan Thiet, Quy Nhon, Phu Yen, Binh Thuan, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, the Central Highlands, Yen Bai, Hoa Binh, and Haiphong are being promoted with a range of projects invested by large-scale developers.

According to economist Dinh Trong Thinh, investment flows into hospitality remain cautious. “Caution, however, does not mean that it is less attractive, just that developers are choosing projects more carefully. Only well-planned schemes with required legal dossiers can create interest for buyers,” Thinh said. Especially, projects must push for more unique characteristics to make them different from others.

Industrial property in hottest form

During the pandemic, the industrial market witnessed the highest positive business in both rental rates and occupancy rates.

In 2020, international warehousing giants such as GLP and LOGOS entered and invested in areas up and down the country.

The industrial segment has also garnered interest from many domestic real estate developers, which have been so far focused on housing developments only.

Vingroup recently joined the market with two new industrial zones (IZ) expected to be ready this year.

Another developer, Phat Dat Real Estate Development JSC also established a subsidiary with an initial charter capital fund of VND680 billion ($30 million) to develop industrial properties.

Hoa Phat Urban Development and Construction Corporation, a member company of Hoa Phat Group, also is waiting for approval from the local authorities to set up an IZ in the northern province of Hung Yen.

As of the fourth quarter of 2020, the average occupancy rate of existing IZs in five key northern industrial cities and provinces (Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Hung Yen, Hai Duong, and Haiphong) reached 89.7 per cent, a 2.1 per cent increase on-year, according to CBRE Vietnam.

Similarly, the occupancy rate of four key southern industrial cities and provinces reached 87.0 per cent, a 2.5 per cent increase on-year.

Due to production movement from China and the implementation of some free trade deals, demand for industrial land is increasing across Vietnam. The strong growth of e-commerce and logistics companies since the pandemic has also boosted the demand for storage space and distribution facilities.

More pipeline supply reserved for 2021

With the efforts from the government and local authorities, more real estate projects will be able to finish their procedures in 2021, meaning an increased pipeline supply could be launched to the thirsty market. Landlords of assets that are generating cash flows such as office buildings and shopping centres will not have to transact these assets at a distressed price.

For investors, 5-star hotels, commercial centres, and Grade A buildings in central business districts are real estate with steady revenues. Although their profit margins may not be as high as previously, and now only at 6-7 per cent per year, those assets are worth investing in, according to Savills Vietnam.

In 2021, the housing segment is expected to boom when many new projects are pipelined to be launched after delays. Among those are The Spirit of Saigon, Soho Residences, and Sunshine Venicia in Ho Chi Minh City; and Mipec Rubik, 360, The Matrix One, and Golden Park Tower in Hanoi.

For offices, commercial centres, serviced apartments, and hospitality, difficulties remain but developers are restructuring their portfolios and promoting other strategies to defend against more difficult scenarios if they occur, such as reducing rent and providing more incentives to share difficulties with tenants.

Nguyen Tran Nam, chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association, said the government and developers need to improve products and solutions as well as supply chains to be more efficient, to be capable for meeting demand from tenants when the pandemic is controlled.

Global brand names expand into residences

Despite the accommodation segment being in very limited supply, famous international branded residences are increasingly their participation into the Vietnamese market. The branded residence experience, as seen in many developed markets, offers tremendous opportunities in Vietnam amidst rising demand for alternative residential products that offer the next level of luxury living.

Marriott International has joined with domestic group Masterise Homes to bring global brands such as Marriott, JW Marriott, and The Ritz-Carlton to introduce urban branded residences to the Vietnamese property market.

According to Rajeev Menon, president of Asia-Pacific (excluding China) at Marriott International, Vietnam’s market growth throughout the years has been very impressive and thus attracted famous brand names to the field.

Branded residences are attractive as they offer the additional value of a brand and enhance experiences for homeowners. The engagement of a brand ensures quality design, security, and high levels of services. The branded residences also officially created an important national milestone, marking the stature presence of Vietnam on the world luxury real estate map.

By Bich Ngoc

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