The requested news item does not exist. Please return to News
Stephen Wyatt, Vietnam Country Head speaks to Saigon Times Daily
The local property market is awaiting potential foreign purchasers,
following the Ministry of Construction’s proposal to loosen regulations
for foreigners to buy houses in Vietnam. The market after five years
under a pilot program to sell houses to foreigner has seen only some 120
houses sold to them, compared to a huge number of around 80,000
foreigners living and working in the country. Stephen Wyatt interviewed by The Saigon Times Daily, over the issue. Excerpts:
The Saigon Times Daily: The Ministry of
Construction has just put forward an idea allowing any foreigner who has
a visa valid for three months to buy a house in Vietnam. What do you
think about the initiative?
- Stephen Wyatt: As the above figures suggest, the
pilot program that allows foreign purchasers to buy residential property
in Vietnam has received a lukewarm response. This can be attributed to a
number of reasons, first and foremost the domestic economy and property
market in Vietnam over the past five years has suffered and the
majority of foreigners looking to buy residential property have looked
for “safe havens” to invest, such as London, New York, Hong Kong and
Singapore. Second, the regulations within Vietnam for foreign ownership
are considered unclear by many foreigners and then there is the obvious
How is the forthcoming regulation in Vietnam compared with
other countries in the region? Will it be liberal enough for foreigners
to buy houses in the country?
- Each country in the region has its own rules on foreigners owning
property. The new regulations proposed for Vietnam should be acceptable
to most foreigners especially if the length of lease could be extended
to over 50 years or the lease can be extended for a further 50 years and
the ownership structure is clear and transparent.
Some people say the housing price in Vietnam is too high,
and that is among reasons making foreigners hesitant to buy houses in
Vietnam. What is your comment?
- Housing prices anywhere in the world are based on supply/demand
dynamics and Vietnam is no different. We are currently experiencing
oversupply in the mid-end segment of the market, so many commentators
believe the house prices are high. However, with good market research
and a detailed understanding of the market we are now confident there
are good opportunities for foreign purchasers to buy property at
reasonable market levels.
But with the current housing price, as a foreigner, do you prefer to buy or lease a house to live?
- People from different nations have different preferences. As an
example, the majority of British people prefer to buy property and use
it as part of their pension plan, whilst in Germany and France many
people prefer to lease as opposed to buying as they do not like the
responsibility and commitment of a long term mortgage.
Some people feel optimistic about the ministry’s
initiative, expecting that it will provide a source of potential
homebuyers to the local property market, and will help cut the current
housing stock? What do you think about that?
- Whilst we encourage the move and believe it is a positive step
forward for the property market in the country, it is unlikely that
there will be a massive influx of foreigners buying property in Vietnam.
This measure alone will not be a quick fix for the residential property
market, but it should be one piece of the puzzle that will help to
kick-start the residential property market.
Reported by Dinh Dung