Mountain of cash pouring into real estate stokes bubble fears

By Duc Minh   April 2, 2021 | 03:51 am PT
Mountain of cash pouring into real estate stokes bubble fears
A plot of land offered for sale in Hon Quan District in the southern province of Binh Phuoc in February 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan.
The increasing speculation in the real estate market is causing concerns about a possible bubble.

Land prices in many places have risen by an average of 10 percent in the last two months, though in some places they have even doubled or tripled, according to the Vietnam Association of Realtors (VAR).

Many people stopped doing business and withdrew their bank deposits to invest in the property and stock markets in the second half of 2020, it said.

Capital is flowing into potentially risky sectors instead of serving production and business expansion, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said at a recent government meeting.

"A reason for the surging inflows into the real estate and stock markets is the low deposit interest rates. Other reasons are poor land administration and planning, which have caused a land ‘fever’ with prices skyrocketing at the beginning of 2021 regardless of Covid-19.

"It is necessary to pay close attention to the real estate and stock markets in order not to let market bubbles occur and affect the economy."

According to the National Economics University, growth in money supply and credit in 2020 was around the same as the previous year, but Vietnam’s economic growth was only 2.9 percent compared to 7.02 percent in 2019.

NEU analysts said the credit growth helped enterprises survive the pandemic, rather than expand.

"Skyrocketing stock and land prices in 2020 were signs of a market bubble. The ratio of money supply growth to GDP growth was nearly 200 percent. It means more money was entering the system than the real economy could absorb."

The expansionary monetary policy and low interest rates were meant to aid the economy amid the pandemic, but the consequence was cash flowing into real estate and stock markets.

Ho Quoc Tuan, a lecturer at the University of Bristol in the U.K., said it is impossible to prohibit people from making money quickly. However, it is necessary to have measures to limit cash flows into property and stock markets, which are threatening the economy with bubbles, he said.

Dao Minh Tu, deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), said the rise in land prices in many places was allegedly caused by speculators spreading rumors about development plans.

Loans related to property rose by 2.13 percent this year as of March 15, higher than the 1.23 percent in the same period last year.

The SBV is tightening credit, especially for high-end property development, to prevent speculation, he said.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has ordered the General Department of Land Administration to examine land management procedures, including the handing over and leasing of lands, in 26 provinces and cities.

The Ministry of Construction has urged local administrations to publicize background information and the progress of housing and infrastructure projects to prevent the spread of rumors.

Ha Long Town in the northern province of Quang Ninh is appraising all real estate transactions, while Bac Giang Province is paying close attention to areas that are seeing a surge in land prices and real estate transactions.

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