For buyers, Hanoi’s gold-plated apartments do not glitter

By Nguyen Ha   June 18, 2019 | 05:16 pm PT
Some Hanoi apartment developers use gold plating, but many of their projects remain unfinished for years and some are in legal limbo.
A square meter at Golden Lake gilded apartment building in Hanoi costs $6,500. Artists impression courtesy of Hoa Binh Ltd.

A square meter at Golden Lake gilded apartment building in Hanoi costs $6,500. Artist's impression courtesy of Hoa Binh Ltd.

A price tag of $6,500 per square meter was recently announced for units at the Golden Lake apartment project near Giang Vo Lake, one of the capital’s prime locations.

The hotel-apartment complex is to have 5,000 square meters of gilded ceramic on the outside, 24k gilded furniture and a gilded pool.

Construction began in 2009, but developer Mefrimex Technology Investment and Development Company ran out of money and recently sold it to Hoa Binh Ltd, which is known for its gold-plated apartment projects in Hanoi and the central city of Da Nang.

One of them is Hoa Binh Green City on Minh Khai Street in Hanoi. Its stairways, balconies and bathroom accessories are all gold-plated. Last year, however, its occupants held several protests with banners in front of the building for not getting title documents after three years.

Another apartment with gilded furniture that has made headlines in recent years is the D’Palais de Louis in the district of Cau Giay. Construction of the 27-story tower began in 2009. At the time a square meter was priced at VND145 million ($6,219), meaning an apartment cost up to $1.3 million and penthouses cost around $4.29 million.

Sixty customers put down deposits for units in 2011, but developer Tan Hoang Minh Group failed to meet the construction deadline of 2015 and refunded the buyers.

The company said it could not acquire the title to the land. It again started selling two years ago, but was unable to interest buyers. The building is now 90 percent complete, but Tan Hoang Minh’s sales progress remains unclear.

Though most of the gilded projects in Hanoi are located in prime locations, industry insiders said they fail to interest buyers.

The chairman of a large real estate developer in Hanoi, who asked not be named, said most apartment buyers look for modern buildings, not gold-plated apartments, which look old-fashioned.

Promoting a project as gilded is a failed marketing strategy with high costs to boot, he said.

"Vietnamese customers are practical. They care more about the reliability of the investor and post-sales services quality."

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