Shrewd Hanoians are raking in the cash by leasing out apartments to rent to foreign visitors.
Chinh, a local resident from a district in the southwest of Hanoi, is leasing three private apartments that earn him a net profit of around $15,000 per year.
Having invested around VND900 million (nearly $40,000) for the year on the properties, Chinh, who only gave his first name, is making from $878 - $1,300 profit per apartment each month.
Chinh's return is way above Vietnam's average $2,200 per capita income recorded in 2016, thanks to the increasing number of foreign tourists visiting the country and its capital.
One of the most important features is a central location, Chinh said. To cater for foreign travelers, you need to provide privacy, wifi, an iron, a hair dryer, a washing machine and a well-equipped kitchen.
With two commercials being broadcast on CNN at the moment, Hanoi is also planning features and documentaries to promote the city to a wider international audience. International tourist arrivals are expected to rise by 10 percent to 4.3 million this year.
This is a golden opportunity for forward-thinking Hanoians.
Targeting budget-conscious tourists who choose homestays over conventional hotels for a stay of three to six days, Truong, a host in a central district, has leased four apartments that are full most of the time, and has started making a profit.
However, things sometimes go off track when property owners see other business opportunities and break their lease contracts, said Truong.
“There was one time when I'd just recouped my investment in the apartment,” he said. “It was a painful lesson.”