Archive | April, 2008

Construction update – April 2008

29 Apr

South An Khanh Urban: Realizing Dreams

29 Apr
The South An Khanh New Urban Area, invested in by the Song Da Urban and Industrial Zone Investment and Development Joint Stock Company (SUDICO), is located in Hoai Duc district of Ha Tay province (belonging to An Khanh and An Thuong communes). Covering about 200ha of land, the South An Khanh New Urban Area will consist of nearly 1,600 villas and tenement buildings with more than 2,000 high-grade apartments. It will be equipped with modern infrastructure facilities to meet the standards of a first-class city. The construction of its infrastructure is proposed to cost about VND2.5 billion.

Located in a place that is linked to the lifelines of the country, the South An Khanh New Urban Area is an attractive destination on the southwestern gateway to Hanoi. It has 2km adjacent to Belt Road IV and Lang – Hoa Lac Highway – the most modern highway in that links Hanoi to its neighbor urban areas such as Quoc Oai, Xuan Mai, Son Tay, Mieu Mon, and the Hoa Lac High-tech Zone.

The South An Khanh New Urban Area will consist of shopping centers, public service facilities, schools, kindergartens, hospitals, entertainment facilities, villas and high-grade tenement buildings. The idea to create the connection between living space and entertainment and relaxation space will make Nam An Khanh quite different from other new urban areas.

In the center of the Nam An Khanh New Urban Area is a big lake. The water environment of the lake will be protected with support of modern technology to ensure a healthy ecology for the area. Trees will be planted to provide green space between buildings in the Nam An Khanh New Urban Area that will bring residents closer to nature.

The detailed plan of the Nam An Khanh New Urban Area has been approved by the People’s Committee of Ha Tay province. The committee has also officially handed over the land to the investor so that the project can be implemented on schedule. So far the site clearance-related work has been finished. The ground has been leveled. Technical design has been prepared. And total expenditure for infrastructure construction has also been estimated.

Together with tourist sites and entertainment areas in the west of Hanoi such as the Dong Mo Golf Course, the Cultural Village of Vietnam’s Ethnic Groups, the Ngoc Liep Eco-tourist Site, the Hoa Lac High-tech Zone, the Hanoi National University, and the Dai Hoc Van Canh Urban Area, the Nam An Khanh New Urban Area is expected to become an ideal destination for those who want to live in a quiet urban area but do not want to be isolated from perfect services that are available in a modern city.

For further information, please contact:

Song Da Urban & Industrial Zone Development and Investment JSC
Add: 1,2 floor, CT1 building, My Dinh – Me Tri urban, Tuliem District, Hanoi
Tel: 84.4.3768 5592 – 3768 4504 – 3768 4505 – Fax: 84.4.3768 4029

5 best cities for home sellers

28 Apr
USA Real Estate

San Francisco © Goodshoot/Corbis
By Matt Woolsey,

In these metro areas, low inventories, strong job markets and increased access to credit mean an easier time for sellers.

Though luxury home buyers took a big bite out of the Big Apple last year — properties in the Plaza Hotel and condos along Central Park West sold for record prices and the city posted new highs in price per square foot and median sale price — 2008 hasn’t been as kind to sellers.

There is plenty of new construction, especially on the West Side and in the outer boroughs. But vacancies are on the rise. That’s bad news, especially when the job market takes a pounding.

A loosening market, job losses and new construction projects adding to an already growing inventory lands New York, typically a strong market, at No. 21 on our list of best cities for home sellers.

“What happens is that people tend to look at prices as a barometer of the health of the market,” says Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, a Manhattan appraisal company. “But it’s really how many people are in the market, and what you’re seeing now are people dropping out because of affordability or because they can’t get credit.”

West Coast sellers are faring better. In San Jose, Calif., No. 1 on our list, tough regulatory measures make it difficult to overbuild. New home construction dropped 63% last year, while jobs grew by 1.2%. Home vacancies, which were already low at 1.6%, fell to a national bottom at 0.8%, helping to make San Jose one of the country’s tightest markets.

Farther north, San Francisco’s conforming loan limit jumped from $417,000 to the maximum $729,750, which makes getting credit simpler for many of the city’s home buyers. In 2006, the market felt a softening that pushed vacancy rates up to 2.4%, but a 56% drop in construction has cut vacancy rates in half. The increased access to credit, thanks to the new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac limits, and the lack of available properties plays to sellers’ interests.

Behind the numbers

To find the other cities on our list, we looked at the country’s 40 largest metro areas and assessed how friendly conditions are expected to be for sellers this year. Each city was ranked by its 2007 unsold vacancy rate, calculated by the U.S. Census American Housing Survey, and how much the market had tightened or loosened when compared with 2006 conditions.

Then we looked at construction starts, as tracked by the National Association of Home Builders, to see if building starts would compound or alleviate vacancy woes. Next was job creation, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as a way to measure the local economy’s ability to absorb or offset housing losses.

Last, we factored in the degree to which new conforming loan limits from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will improve each market’s lending conditions. When Freddie and Fannie get more involved, lenders get the implicit backing of the federal government, something that softens the risks that have slowed lending elsewhere, as jumbo, or nonconforming, loans can be expensive losses.

“There is still an unwillingness on the behalf of lenders to bear the higher risks of jumbos given the potential loss severity,” says Anthony Sanders, a professor of finance at Arizona State University. “Recent price declines are scaring investors and lenders alike.”

San Jose and San Francisco came out on top because they fit the profile of a seller’s market: low inventory rates that were still shrinking, good job creation, a large-scale cutback in new home construction and a boost in the credit market from new Fannie and Freddie loan limits.

But one look at the rest of the spots on our list will remind you that the term “seller’s market” is relative. Many, like Denver, have experienced consecutive quarterly price declines. Prices here dropped 6.3% last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. Seventh-place Denver also has a 3% unsold vacancy rate. Still, a 2% jump in new jobs and a 49% cut in construction are reasons to be optimistic about the next year or two.

Seattle has experienced similar construction-rate cuts. The city went through its own bust in 2002 and 2003, as the result of mass overbuilding. Since homes take a few years to finish, when construction rates plummet, as they did in Seattle from 2003-2005, it takes years before those adjustments are felt. By 2006, Seattle had the lowest vacancy rate in the country, and wasn’t as prone to the price adjustments felt elsewhere, making it our 10th-best seller’s market today.

While job growth, new construction and vacancy rates and access to credit are important barometers, the bottom line is this: When there are more buyers chasing property than sellers looking to unload, that means a relatively quicker sale, which in this market is the best that can be expected, even if it’s a small gain or a flat price.

Top 5 cities for home sellers:

1. San Jose, Calif.

2. San Francisco

3. Salt Lake City

4. Austin, Texas

Source: Forbes

Industrial property market booming

25 Apr
In contrast to the gloomy climate of the high-grade apartment market, property business operations at industrial zones (IZs) are bustling due to demand fueled by increasing flow of foreign investments.
Industrial and Logistics Manager of the property services provider CBRE Vietnam David W. Neal said foreign investors have great demand for land and workshop lease. Most industrial and export processing zones (EPZs) in southern economic hubs such as Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai and Binh Duong have nearly 100 percent of land occupied.

The growing demand has pushed up the land rent at IZs by 30-50 percent compared with a year ago. Land rent at the Tan Thuan EPZ is the most expensive at 100 USD/sq.m/year, followed by the Tan Binh, Linh Trung (HCM City) and Vietnam-Singapore IZs (Binh Duong). Workshop rent is also escalating, particularly at the Amata IZ in Dong Nai and other IZs in HCM City .

According to the Deputy General Director of the Cu Chi Industry and Trade Investment and Development Company, Dang Ngoc Thanh, the investor of the Tay Bac Cu Chi IZ, most foreign-invested businesses want to lease land at IZs regardless of high rents because they insist on good services, simple lease procedures and tax incentives.

In response to the demand, a series of IZs including Tan Tao, Vinh Loc, Tan Phu Trung and Tay Bac Cu Chi, have confirmed they will expand their acreages.

CBRE Vietnam forecast that the IZ real estate market will continue to witness busy operations in the coming years because Vietnam has emerged as an attractive destination for foreign investors.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Planning and Investment showed that Vietnam attracted close to 7.6 billion USD in foreign investment in the first four months of the year, a year-on-year rise of 41 percent, with property development topping the list in terms of lured capital.

Deputy Director of the Urban Research and Infrastructure Development Institute Nguyen Dang Son said the government is paying due attention to infrastructure development at IZs and EPZs. Land areas for IZs and EPZs are projected to increase by 65,000 ha in 2010 and 80,000 ha 10 years later.

An additional 113 new IZs will be built, mainly in the southern provinces of Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh and Dong Nai, and 27 existing IZs will be expanded by 2015, Son said.

Vietnam currently houses more than 150 IZs and EPZs which cover a total of 320,000 ha in 55 provinces and cities nationwide, of which 21,700 ha were occupied.

Phu Yen develops with foreign investment influx

The southcentral province of Phu Yen has attracted major foreign investment projects after years of lagging behind other parts of the country.

In 2007, the province attracted a record US$2.3 billion in FDI, accounting for 7.9 per cent of the country’s total foreign direct investment and ranking fifth among the country’s investment destinations.

Chairman of Phu Yen Province People’s Committee Pham Ngoc Chi attributed the rapid growth to investments in petrochemical projects, particularly the Vung Ro oil refinery plant. Technostar Mangement Ltd (UK) and Russia’s oil company Telloil invested $1.7 billion into the refinery, which is expected to have a capacity of 4 million tonnes a year.

The 380-ha project in Ong Hoa District will be operational in 2011 and reach a turnover of $2.23 billion a year.

Other major projects involve building infrastructure for a 2,600 ha petrochemical industrial park in Dong Hoa District and a deep seaport in Bai Goc to accommodate ships of 250,000 DWT.

These projects will be completed in 2024, with an investment capital of $11 billion including $5 billion from Naptha Cracking oil complex. They will provide jobs for 15,000-20,000 people and have a combined turnover of US$20 billion a year.

Chi said the investment success stemmed from the province’s promotion efforts. In 2007, an investment conference organised by provincial officials in Singapore led to an agreement to invest in the petrochemical industrial park and the oil complex.

Investors from the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Middle East have also flocked to Phu Yen to explore investment opportunities.

Taking advantage of its favourable geological conditions with highway, railway and seaport networks linking the central and the Central Highlands provinces, Phu Yen officials are cooperating with other central provinces to develop major transport infrastructure projects.

These projects involve the railway linking Tuy Hoa (the town of Phu Yen) with the Central Highlands, an underground tunnel through Ca Pass, and the upgrading of highways between the province and the Central Highlands.

Chi said the province will further invest in building Phu Yen into a gateway for the area bordering Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia via road, railway, waterway and air networks.

The Prime Minister recently approved a plan to establish an economic zone in southern Phu Yen. The 20,370-ha zone will house industrial parks and link up with Vung Ro seaport, Tuy Hoa airport and Van Phong economic zone in Khanh Hoa Province.

Paper firm plans $56 mln highland resort

24 Apr
The Lam Dong Paper Materials Enterprise is seeking permission to build a VND900 billion (US$55.9 million) eco-tourism resort and golf course in Lam Dong Province’s Di Linh District, a company source said Thursday.

The company, an arm of the southern Dong Nai-based Tan Mai Paper Joint Stock Company, has applied for provincial government approval for the Kala Lake Resort covering nearly 4,000 hectares in Bao Thuan Commune in Di Linh District.

The project, on the shores of Kala Lake, will include a 90-hectare resort, an underground resort, an 18-hole golf course, a luxury hotel and restaurants.

It will also be home to a craft village where visitors can see gong performances and local ethnic artisans making handmade products such as tho cam (ethnic fabric).

Visitors to the resort complex will also be able to climb mountains, row dug-out canoes on Kala Lake, go camping or visit ethnic villages in the forests.

The Central Highland province of Lam Dong, with its capital of Da Lat, has so far attracted 145 tourism development projects with registered capital of dozens of trillion of dong, according to the city government’s website.

The province welcomed 545,000 tourists, including 34,000 foreigners, in the first quarter of this year.

It aims to attract 2.5 million tourists this year compared with 2.2 million last year.

Hanoi to encourage investments in parking lots

The Hanoi government will adjust its policies to encourage businesses and individuals to build parking lots.

This will discourage people from parking on pavements, the 13th session of the Hanoi People’s Council heard Friday.

At the three-day meeting, which wraps up today, the municipal People’s Committee Deputy Chairman Nguyen Van Khoi said the capital’s government would only approve multi-story building projects with underground parking floors.

The committee will set up an interdisciplinary working group to impose fines on those who violate the city’s regulations on vehicle parking, Khoi said.

Also at the meeting, Committee Deputy Chairman Hoang Manh Hien said this year the capital will inspect and cut unnecessary and ineffective public construction projects in order to focus capital on traffic and social security projects.

Proposed bill allows foreigners apartments only: ministry

The Construction Ministry has maintained that foreigners in Vietnam will only be allowed to buy apartments, not land or houses.

The restriction is included in a proposed draft regulation that would allow eligible foreigners to own apartments for 70 years and extend ownership once for another 70 years.

But the limitation might not be considered as such as foreigners are currently prohibited from buying apartments as well.

A source told Thanh Nien that the proposed bill would be brought up for consideration and vote at the mid-year full house session next month.

Most members of the Standing Committee, the leading body of the unicameral National Assembly, approved of the draft regulation, the source said.

Participants at the National Assembly Standing Committee session Thursday asked why the draft allowed land, but not houses or villas.

Minister Nguyen Hong Quan said possessing houses or villas had to do with land use rights.

“The current land laws do not grant foreigners the same land-use rights as Vietnamese,” he said.

Allowing foreigners to buy houses or villas would also complicate land management in terms of security, national defense and sovereignty, said Quan.

“Many other regional countries only allow foreigners to buy apartments,” Quan said without naming which countries.

Olalani Resort & Condotel

18 Apr
The Olalani Resort and Condotel are Da Nang City’s most exciting 5-star resort and luxury apartments; with villas, bungalows, high-class condominiums, hotel and various interesting entertainment services. The 70,048-sqm-wide resort is adjacent to Da Nang Beach where were pinpointed by Forbes Magazine as one of six World’s Most Luxurious Beaches. This is an unquestionably place to enjoy splendid white silky sandbank, and pure sparkling blue sea in sunny days.

The Resort also owns an extremely convenient position in public transportation and travelling, such as contiguous to Son Tra – Dien Ngoc Highway, away 30 km from Hoi An Ancient Town (about 30 minutes by driving), 5 km from the metropolitan and Da Nang International Airport (about 10 minutes by driving).

Designed to take advantage of both the seascape view and the ever present sea breeze, the resort is one of few resorts whose villas and bungalows are adjacent to the beach in Vietnam. In addition, the interior and exterior show a spectacular result of blending antique and contemporary elements. Most of materials are imported from Hawaii, Turkey, and many other countries.

The Olalani Resort and Condotel is about catering to individual needs. The resort provides every service you have come to expect at the finest luxury residences and hotels, such as spa, Asian cuisine restaurants, fitness centre, mini-golf course, camping areas, and modern casinos.

The Olalani Resort and Condotel created a new destination of peaceful and healthy living – a Eastern Hawaii on legendary Indochina beach.

The Olalani Resort and Condotel will open in 2009.

Property ownership information: The Certificate of Property Ownership and the Land Use Right will be given to customers who buy apartments.

For further information, please contact:

Sales & Marketing Department
Tel: (84-511) 3956 293 – 3956292 – Hotline: (84) 0935 744 844
Address: Olalani Project Management Office, Son Tra – Dien Ngoc Street,
Khue My Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District, Da Nang City.

Foreigners permitted to own apartments for 70 years

18 Apr
The National Assembly’s Economic Committee on April 10 met for the last time with the Construction Ministry to evaluate the housing policy for foreigners in Vietnam. One new point has been added: foreigners are permitted to own an apartment for 70 years.
This policy, which is considered very open, was supported by attendees. Most of delegates say this policy is necessary and appropriate to Vietnam’s renovation policy, and can encourage foreign investment in Vietnam.

Under this policy, foreigners are allowed to buy one apartment only and to sell the apartment one year after the day they receive the apartment ownership certificate.

According to the Construction Ministry, this regulation is to restrict foreigners from abusing this policy to make money.

Some members of the NA’s Economic Committee proposed to allow foreigners to sell their apartments 2-3 years after they receive ownership certificate to avoid speculation.

Discussing the possible impacts of this policy on the real estate market, Head of the Housing Management Agency Nguyen Manh Ha said if the new policy is approved, the supply of apartments, especially high-class ones, will be insufficient in the initial period.

However, the number of foreigners who meet conditions to own apartments in Vietnam is around 10,000 only.

According to the Construction Ministry, there are around 25,000 foreigners working for investment projects in Vietnam and 55,000 others are working in the fields of health, education, culture-sports, science and technology, etc.

Hanoi currently has 1,300 houses and apartments totalling around 220,000sq.m hired by foreigners, at average charges of $700 to 1,000/house/ per month.

In HCM City, there are 4,000 houses and apartments hired by foreigners, totalling around 660,000sq.m, which are mainly located in Phu My Hung residential area, Districts 1, 3 and 5, ranging from $1,000-2,000/house/month and up to $2,000 to 3,000/house/month in central areas.

The National Assembly will vote on this plan during its 3rd session, which will open on May 6, 2008.

Under this plan, there are seven subjects of foreigners who are permitted to buy apartments in Vietnam: chiefs of foreign representative agencies and international organisations in Vietnam; foreign investors; foreigners who receive medals from the Vietnamese government; cultural experts and scientists who are working in Vietnam; foreigners who marry Vietnamese citizens and live in Vietnam; foreigners who are recognised as honoured Vietnamese citizens by the Vietnamese President; and foreign-owned companies that don’t operate in real estate.

So far, under the Investment Law, Housing Law and the Law on Real Estate Business, foreign individuals and organisations are permitted to hire land in Vietnam, to invest in building houses to use or for lease, and even repair and upgrade houses, etc.

Thus, foreigners have the right to participate in most housing investment activities, except for buying houses to use, to sell, to lease or hire houses to lease again.

According to the Housing Law 2005, foreign firms are allowed to own for a certain period of time the houses that they invest in for lease. However, this right is not given to foreign individuals who take part in housing investment projects, scientists, experts, etc.

FDI in real estate on the increase

18 Apr
Vietnam Real Estate – Foreign direct investment (FDI) is increasingly flowing into the local real estate market at a time local investment in this sector is dwindling due to the tightening monetary policy, according to a forum last week in Danang City.

At the international forum on real estate development over the weekend in the central coast city, many said restrictions on bank loans for local developers have given way for investment funds, most of them foreign institutions, to emerge as the key source of financing for the real estate market. Meanwhile, foreign direct investment into this sector is also surging due to the attractiveness of the market, they said.

Tran Kim Chung of the Central Institute for Economic management told the forum that the higher lending rate has forced many local investors to postpone their property projects. Meanwhile, the Government is waging a war against inflation, tightening its purse string for new investments, especially disbursement for new properties, Chung said.

“As a matter of course, when banks restrict credits for the real estate sector, other investment funds will emerge to fill up the vacuum,” Chung said.

Central Vietnam in general and Danang City in particular has been witnessing a strong increase in FDI for the property sector.

Peter Ryder, general director of the investment fund Indochina Capital, told the forum that his institution was investing US$500mil in Quang Nam and Danang to develop resorts, hotels and trade centers. “In addition, we are also making strong investment in industrial parks in Quang Nam, Danang, and Quang Ngai provinces,” Ryder said.

Several other investors are also involved in large-scaled developments in the central region, including VinaCapital, Kingdom Hotels Investments, and Oaktree, the last-named investor recently announcing a plan to invest US$5bil to develop a huge resort in Danang City’s Lien Chieu District.

Nguyen Manh Ha, head or the Housing Management Department under the Ministry of Construction, told the gathering that FDI committed into the real estate sector now occupy an increasing proportion in the total amount of foreign investment.

In 2007, the amount of FDI pledged in the real estate sector totaled US$8.5bil, or up to 42% of the total FDI committed last year. In the first quarter this year, this amount continues to increase strongly, amounting to US$5bil, Ha said, adding the strong property investment has also helped bolster other economic sectors.

“This source of invested capital (for the real estate sector) has helped other sectors to develop and boost income for provincial budgets. In some provinces, the revenue for the State Budget is as high as 50%,” Ha said.

Prime HCMC land fetches $310 million

18 Apr
Vietnam Real Estate – Ho Chi Minh City authorities have approved a VND5-trillion (US$310 million) consortium bid for a prime land lot in District 1.

The consortium plans to build a 55-story skyscraper on the 1.3-hectares in the so-called “golden triangle” between Tran Hung Dao, Pham Ngu Lao, and Nguyen Thai Hoc streets in District 1.

Bids on the land closed in December and the auction council submitted results to the city hall for ratification three months ago.

The bidders were scored on a scale of 100 based on criteria like development ideas, financial capacity, experience in implementing similar projects, and how much they could contribute to the city treasury in the form of an assistance fund.

The winning consortium, made up of Thai Son Construction Company, Chi Thanh Investment Company, Anh Duong Financial Investment Company, Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, Hanwha Construction Company, Hanshin Construction Company, and Hanwha Galleria Company, agreed to contribute VND1.9 billion ($121 million) to the assistance fund.

The bid amount is not for the land itself but only for the right to use it.

As part of the agreement, the consortium will also have to organize land clearance and payment of compensation to residents in the area.

The auction winner will be responsible for relocating people out of the area and building a new high school to replace the existing Ernst Thalmann High School.

The new development is expected to be finished within five years of the relocation of local residents and completion of the new school building.

The auction council was chaired by Thai Van Re, Director of the HCMC Planning and Investment Department.

Other council members were senior officials of the departments of city planning and architecture, construction and finance.

Last February, city authorities had given the go-ahead to another $56.5-million bid made by a consortium of construction firms for a 6,000-square meter plot of land in Binh Thanh District.

Clarification requested

The bidding results could have been announced earlier but for a complaint lodged by a participating consortium.

After the auction, one of the bidding consortia, comprised of Khanh Gia, Ssangyong, Doosan and Punkyung, asked the auction council to clarify the definition of an “assistance fund.”

Khanh Gia Company, representing the consortium, asked the council to specify whether the group that lodged the highest bid overall would win regardless of other requirements or whether the bidder that promised the most assistance funding would be the winner.

The company said if the assistance fund was a key factor for the auction committee in deciding the winning bid, the consortium would contribute additional assistance funds.

A representative of the auction council told Thanh Nien last month the bidding document had clearly stated treasury assistance funds were not obligatory.

Investors, therefore, would have to meet all other requirements, he said.

VNPT Headquarter and High-tech & Management Centre

17 Apr

Full Name: VNPT Headquarter and High-tech & Management Centre
Location: Lot E5, Pham Hung Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi
Floors: app. 23 (excluding basement)
Height: 87m (max.)
Architect: Viêt Architect + Barconsult (Germany), I2c group + Sunsun
Investor: VNPT

The E5 lot in Cau Giay is only reserved for big State-owned corporations as Vinacomin, EVN, General Department Customs…and VNPT.
Click here for more pictures.