HCMC realtors look for new jobs as Covid-19 hits sales

By Trung Tin   November 4, 2020 | 04:00 am PT
HCMC realtors look for new jobs as Covid-19 hits sales
An aerial view of houses and buildings in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City in September 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Property agents in HCMC are resorting to part-time jobs to make ends meet as the Covid-19 pandemic keeps demand down for a third quarter.

Realtor Tung has been helping his wife with her online business in recent months to cover their family expenses after being able to sell anything for over three quarters.

The year has become a nightmare for the man as his income fell by over 80 percent to VND5 million ($216) a month as demand for housing plunged, forcing him to now work as a delivery person for his wife.

"I cannot return to my old job as a stocker as companies are cutting staff while the broker’s job does not pay me enough. I’m trying to survive the pandemic and hoping for a recovery in the real estate market."

Another realtor, Thuong, has been selling insurance policies for the last six months since her company does not have enough business and has cut the salaries of most staff by 20-35 percent.

As her basic salary of VND6 million a month is not enough to cover her expenses in Vietnam’s largest city, she has been selling insurance to everyone she can, including friends and family, to survive the pandemic.

"As people care about health insurance amid the pandemic, I have just been able to make ends meet with this part-time job."

Sales of apartments fell 54 percent year-on-year in the third quarter to 7,100 units. The absorption rate went down 13 percentage points to 72 percent, according to data from real estate consultancy Savills Vietnam.

Supply fell 46 percent year-on-year to 10,000 units, it added.

Nguyen Loc Hanh, CEO of HCMC-based Asia Gem Real Estate Investment Jsc, said in the last 10 months sales had plunged due to a shortage of supply because of the disease and continued delay in licensing new projects.

A quick survey by the company shows that up to 30 percent of its realtors have left for other jobs and 60 percent are doing all they can to survive.

Of the latter, many are taking up part-time jobs, and it is likely they would switch to full-time if the market remains depressed, he said.

He added that there had been a jump in the number of agents in 2016-2018 when many were able to earn VND100-200 million a month, and the current challenge serves to filter out the least competent salespeople and would help restructure the industry better.

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