HCMC house rents plunge further after latest wave of Covid-19

By Trung Tin   March 7, 2021 | 06:45 pm PT
HCMC house rents plunge further after latest wave of Covid-19
Townhouses in District 1, HCMC, with vacancy signs in March. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Le.
After the third outbreak of Covid-19, house rents in HCMC have plummeted by up to half from pre-pandemic levels.

A survey by VnExpress at the beginning of 2021 found many whose rents had fallen by 35-40 percent in 2020 remaining unoccupied and rents continuing to come down.

Luong, a real estate agent mainly operating in districts 1 and 3, said the pandemic had severely affected businesses, resulting in a slump in demand for houses to run them.

In the past, businesses wanting to rent a house in the heart of District 1, the city’s main commercial location, had to queue up to negotiate with landlords, but since the beginning of 2020 many premises have remained vacant.

Since this means a loss of $30,000-60,000 a year, landlords rather opted to rent their property out low rates.

Luong said over 50 percent of houses in District 1 that were leased this year have seen rents cut by 35-40 percent, some even by half, and lease periods extended.

Rents also fell in District 3, but not to the same extent since they were lower to start with, he explained.

Tinh, an agent in Phu Nhuan District, said rents for many houses on Le Van Sy Street have been reduced to $9-10 per square meter per month for long-term tenants from $15-16 in 2020.

In districts where a large number of migrants from other provinces live, such as Go Vap, Binh Tan and Tan Phu, rents have dropped by 35-40 percent this year since landlords do not want their houses to remain vacant any longer, especially after the third outbreak of the pandemic in January.

Minh, an agent in District 9, said rents in Phu Huu Ward have fallen by 20-25 percent this year.

Talking to VnExpress, Nguyen Hong Hai, chairman of VNO Development and Investment Corporation, a company that transforms residential buildings into offices for rent, said the latest outbreak has driven rents even lower though they had already been low after the earlier outbreaks in 2020.

"House rents have plunged to the lowest levels ever. It is inevitable since businesses are still affected by Covid-19 and people are hesitant to rent houses for business."

He is hopeful they will recover after three to six months if the pandemic is under control, but fears they will fall further if there are more outbreaks.

Businesses such as restaurants and fashion shops that rent houses are still reluctant to resume, but companies in technology, e-commerce and insurance are starting to look for places for rent, meaning medium to large houses in areas with good transport connectivity have a fair chance of getting tenants.

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