US, Singapore real estate firms come to booming Vietnam

By Vu Le   August 22, 2018 | 08:54 pm PT
US, Singapore real estate firms come to booming Vietnam
The high-end segment accounted for the highest proportion of new launches in HCMC in the second quarter of this year. Photo by Quang Praha
Major U.S. and Singaporean real estate firms have been coming to Vietnam, eyeing its thriving property market, especially the high-end segment.

Singaporean real estate firm Propnex opened an office in HCMC last month with its eyes firmly fixed on the high-end segment of the country’s property market.

Propnex has had a 30 percent share of the brokerage market in Singapore over the last five years. It also has offices in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Last year U.S.-based Electronic Realty Associates (ERA) started operating in Vietnam through its franchise in Singapore. Together with property brokerage EuroCapital, it has incorporated ERA Real Estate Vietnam, whose major market is HCMC.

ERA Vietnam, which has 800 employees and 600 potential staff and collaborators undergoing training, is also focused on the high-end segment.

It aims to be one of the top real estate firms in Vietnam within five years with over 50 offices and 5,000 employees.

Another Singapore firm, Huttons Real Estate Group, came to the country in 2016. For this third largest property company in Singapore, Vietnam is the third overseas market after Malaysia and the Philippines.

Huttons said it strives to be the number one real estate agency in the country with multiple services including project sale, marketing, leasing, and assets management.

In 2015, U.S.-based Keller Williams tied up with VinGroup and stated that it would focus on leasing properties and consulting.

Industry insiders believe the entry of international players will have a positive impact on the real estate market.

“Since 2015 foreign brokerages have been entering the Vietnamese real estate market, which has been booming,” Nguyen Anh Dao, CEO of real estate firm Viethome Investment, told VnExpress.

Their arrival would push local ones to improve their standards, which would benefit customers, he said.

But since foreigners can own up to 30 per cent of the apartments in a project under Vietnam's housing laws, foreign firms need to have local sales teams to approach Vietnamese customers, he added.

Employing and training locals is how foreign firms can compete with local businesses, which are getting larger and more professional, he said.

The high-end segment accounted for the highest proportion of new launches in HCMC in the second quarter of this year -- 54 percent -- according to real estate consultancy CBRE Vietnam.

In the last three years 35,000 luxury apartments have come into the market, it added.

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