Real estate firms seek to adapt to 'new normal'

By May Pham   July 28, 2021 | 11:00 pm PT
Despite the complicated development of the Covid-19 pandemic, the housing market in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi recorded encouraging results in the first half of 2021.

In the primary market, the number of successful transactions rose by 28 percent in HCMC and 20 percent in Hanoi. In the reported period, more than 7,900 newly-built apartments were sold in Hanoi, 10 percent higher than the same period last year, according to the latest data from CBRE Vietnam.

These results proved the recovery of the market. Both developers and homebuyers have adapted well to new market conditions, CBRE commented.

Jason Turnbull, Deputy Managing Director cum CFO of Masterise Homes, speaks at CBRE Forum 2021. Photo by: Masterise Homes

Jason Turnbull, deputy managing director cum CFO of Masterise Homes, speaks at CBRE Forum 2021. Photo by CBRE.

The pandemic has motivated industry insiders to adopt better solutions in adapting and developing. Vietnamese developers are facing two choices: change or die. With outdated strategies no longer relevant during the pandemic, adaptation and innovation are among the most difficult challenges most real estate developers have to face.

Plan for sustainable development

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic forced local realtors to develop strategies to adapt to the new business environment, said Jason Turnbull, deputy managing director cum CFO of Masterise Homes.

"As soon as Covid-19 was reported in Vietnam, Masterise Homes developed an adaptation plan mapping out a roadmap for both internal operations and strategy to coordinate with partners, customers. Hence, our business activities have been carried out as planned," Turnbull stated.

Developing branded residences, a type of property that is resilient against economic downturns and crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic, is among the strategies helping Masterise Homes adapt to the "new normal".

Despite the epidemic, a luxury penthouse atop One Hyde Park is still being offered for sale for $247 million. Photo by: C&C

Branded residences atop One Hyde Park. Photo by C&C.

With a better ability to stay resilient amid a crisis, branded residences segment is a priority in Masterise Homes’ business development. Several branded apartment projects have been under construction in Hanoi and HCMC.

The Covid-19 pandemic cost the global economy nearly $4 trillion, equivalent to 4.5 percent of global GDP in 2020. However, the branded residences segment maintained a sustainable growth rate with over a hundred new projects put into operation in the past year.

According to a survey conducted by Knight Frank in 2020, the price of prime properties in major cities around the world increased, higher than expected. Global Development Report 2020 also stated the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the advantages of branded residences.

"With premium standards of hygiene, safety, branded residences should always have a sustainable value, which is their resilience amid a crisis," according to Turnbull.

Moreover, as work from home is forecast to continue even after the pandemic, people tend to invest in a better home with facilities to work remotely. A house then is not only a place to live but also a well-equipped office.

Digitalize property sales

One of the most notable trends of the real estate market is its adaptation to the "new normal" while new sales solutions through the online platform have been introduced, according to Masterise Homes.

In the first half of 2021, the local property market boasted many outstanding solutions that enables customers to easily buy a new house, providing the optimal house changing experience. With the Home For Home solution, customers can shorten their journey in buying and moving to a new apartment. The pandemic has also stimulated development of the cashless transaction in property exchange through live streaming. Mobile phone applications integrating the entire process of real estate transactions have also been popular.

Masterise Homes upcoming mobile home buying app. Photo by: Masterise Homes

Masterise Homes' upcoming mobile home buying app. Photo by Masterise Homes.

Facing social distancing and travel restrictions, Masterise Homes plans to launch a new mobile application, allowing customers who want to buy houses to access information about the project and work with sales executives from afar. The application enables buyers to choose an apartment, make a reservation, deposit, and use electronic signatures for the contract and proceeding payment.

Many real estate developers are urgently applying digital transformation to adapt to changes in customer behavior. All players in this industry need to meet higher standards as health and safety become paramount in the "new normal".

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