Struggling property firms allow early Tet leave

By Nguyen Tieu   January 2, 2024 | 02:00 am PT
Struggling property firms allow early Tet leave
A customer receives advice from a sales representative at a real estate firm in Thu Duc City, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Tieu
With little to no transactions during the holiday season, many real estate companies have let their employees take the Lunar New Year (Tet) off one month early to avoid losses on payroll.

Tet peaks on Feb. 10, 2024, and employees at most companies will enjoy the holiday from Feb. 8 to 14.

However, many property business have let their employees have days off from late December to late February.

Duc Hien, a saleswoman at a large real estate firm in Ho Chi Minh City, said her company has already cut 70% of its staff since 2022, and the remaining employees now receive only 50% of their normal salary.

She said her firm announced it would let employees enjoy Tet from early February 2024 to Feb. 20, but in reality, she argued, salespersons like her have already been on unpaid Tet holiday since the beginning of October because they have had no work to do.

"Perhaps we will have no work to do until the beginning of the second quarter of 2024," she added.

The general director of a property company in Ho Chi Minh City said since the end of the third quarter, his company has had almost no transactions, and the more it maintains operations, the more it incurs losses, so it has given employees an early Tet holiday, starting Dec. 15.

"The return to work date could be one month after Tet or even further away, depending on the implementation of our new project," he said.

Tran Anh Group, a real estate company, has allowed its employees in the business segment to enjoy Tet since mid-December.

"Sales activities ended early, so we let employees have Tet early to both restructure operations and reduce operating costs," a company leader said.

Many other real estate firms, including Thang Loi, SG Holdings and Asia New Time have also asked employees to take Tet earlier than the schedule stipulated by the government.

The leader of a real estate trading floor in the southern province of Dong Nai said that his company and many others have had no products to sell for months, and even if there were products for sale, they could not have sold them.

The floor has had almost no revenue, while costs, even when reduced as much as possible, have amounted to billions of dong (tens of thousands of U.S. dollars) each month, so letting employees have an early Tet is one way of easing the budget burden, the executive said.

Nguyen Van Dinh, president of the Vietnam Association of Realtors, said many real estate businesses are planning to take a break early, and some are planning to close down.

Data from the General Statistics Office showed in the first 10 months of 2023, Vietnam saw over 1,000 real estate businesses dissolve, up 9.5% against 2022. Meanwhile, 3,850 new real estate businesses were established, down 50.2%.

Since mid-2022, many real estate firms have exhausted their financial resources and were thus forced to temporarily suspend operations.

Most firms have limited resources, and their main source of revenue comes from brokerage fees.
Some real estate businesses have also said there is a high possibility that there will be no Tet bonuses this year.

Even large firms will find it difficult to give Tet bonuses because according to 2023 business reports, their revenue targets have not been realized. Some businesses still have to continue to cut staff.

The real estate market is forecast to brighten in the coming years when new relevant policies are put into practice, and buyer psychology recovers to a more optimistic state.

Ha Van Thien, deputy general director of Tran Anh Group, predicted the market would still be harsh but not overly so.

go to top