Unoccupied Hanoi villas get makeover as cheap boarding houses

By Hong Chieu, Duc Minh   November 19, 2021 | 12:17 pm GMT+7
Unoccupied Hanoi villas get makeover as cheap boarding houses
Unfinished villas in Hanoi's Nam An Khanh Urban Area where Huu and dozens of manual laborers live. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Thousands of villas and semi-detached houses in Hanoi remain unused, with many temporarily being converted into low-cost housing.

Nguyen Thi Huu, 40, from the northern province of Vinh Phuc is among dozens of manual laborers living in unfinished villas built years ago in Nam An Khanh Urban Area in the rural Hoai Duc district.

The houses have no electricity, plumbing or doors, and the tenants have to use tarpaulins and cartons to create makeshift bathrooms and curtains. They plug into electricity systems in distant places, mostly illegally.

Not far from there are finished villas and semi-detached houses with their fronts already painted, but mostly remaining vacant. Some have weeds taller than their fences.

Outside some, owners have put up ‘For Rent’ signs.

Nga, the owner of a semi-detached house, said her family has decided not to move in for the moment and so she wants to lease it out.

A spokesperson for Sudico, the main developer of Nam An Khanh Urban Area, said: "We have completed the infrastructure and the fronts of villas and semi-detached houses, and transferred them to secondary developers for further construction. The secondary developers will work with landlords to complete construction this year or next year".

Lideco, another urban area in Hoai Duc, also has many abandoned villas and semi-detached houses.

It has some 650 villas and 140 semi-detached houses, but only 60 percent of have been handed over to buyers, and construction is still going on.

Some enterprising companies make minor changes to unused villas and rent them out to students. Hang, who works for one such company, Vifaho, said villas are furnished and individual rooms are rented out at VND1.8-3 million per month.

A villa is typically rearranged into 15 individual rooms equipped with air conditioners, iron beds and wardrobes.

A room in an abandoned villa has been furnished for renting out. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

A room in an abandoned villa has been furnished for renting out. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Vu Dinh Vinh, Vifaho manager, said his company gets VND6-8 million a month for a 300-m villa and around VND4 million for a semi-detached house.

Since 2019 the company has converted some 100 villas and houses in the Lideco and Van Canh urban areas into 700 rooms and rented to around 2,000 tenants, mainly students and migrant workers.

Abandoned villas in the Nam An Khanh Urban Area in Hoai Duc District, Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Abandoned villas in the Nam An Khanh Urban Area in Hoai Duc District, Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

According to the Vietnam National Real Estate Association, the realty market boomed in the 2006-10 period, with new urban areas full of villas and houses mushrooming all over the place.

But after the market cooled down, less money was spent on completing them and their infrastructure and services, and so most remain unoccupied.

 
 
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