“Be patient, learn about the market, and don’t over-expose yourself to limited market segments”, says one industry expert.
Overseas investment in Vietnam is on the rise, attracted by newly opened markets and a growing economy. Property values are expected to be the latest beneficiary, with foreigners now able to buy legally. One expert, however, is urging patience and caution to new entrants in this emerging market.
Ngo Dinh Han is a lecturer at Ho Chi Minh City’s University of Economics. He expects foreigners to reap the benefits of legislation introduced on July 1st, allowing them for the first time to own property in Vietnam. He reminds would-be buyers to be aware of these 7 common errors when taking their first steps on Vietnam’s property ladder.
Riverside Vinhomes Central Park Project of Vingroup developer
- Don’t follow the crowd
The projects with the most hype are not necessarily the best investments. Some unscrupulous agents have ploys to simulate high interest and attract those looking for quick wins. Don’t be fooled by promises of quick profits – do your homework.
“Look beyond headline figures to the developer’s track record in timely delivery. Check and double check the payment schedule and conditions. Don’t sign anything you don’t understand – get an agent or legal expert to translate every document if you don’t speak Vietnamese. Some, like Vinhomes Central Park, offer everything in English, which is great – but check, and check again before making any commitment.”
- Avoid early-stage peaks
The last round of ‘early bird’ offers before completion are designed to prompt impulse buys – but are often the least profitable in the short-term.
“This is the highest price before general release, and, with over-capacity issues prevalent at the minute, is something to avoid. You may well see a return in the long-run, but its unlikely prices in the first 12 months will match those final totals offered in the last cycle of development.”
Luxury Gateway Thao Dien Apartment in District 2
- Look at value before prices
This advice is applicable in every market, but is perhaps more relevant here. Some prices reflect the low appeal of a neighborhood or confidence in a developer, while other higher prices reflect surrounding development such as the new metro system.
“Always remember why you’re buying somewhere. Profit is likely in a growing market – the only question is how long you want to wait. Are you buying to live, or buying to let? Are you looking at long-term growth or a short-term flip? Make judgments based on your value strategy.”
- Limit your leverage
With some uncertainty over the viability of long-term profits, be sure to bank on a conservative return rather than the maximum, and plan your borrowing around that to limit your exposure to market changes.
“There’s been a great deal of fluctuation in local interest rates, and these could eat up your profits if you’re not careful. Look at properties where large-scale lending isn’t necessary.”
- Wait and see
Unit prices are much lower than neighboring metropolises like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur currently. But the effect of the recent property laws have yet to be felt, and Ngo Dinh Han believes it may be a little while before a true picture of market values emerges.
“Getting in on a good development early is always preferable – but don’t go too soon. Property speculation can feel like a gamble, so look at the whole board. Observe the progress of promised infrastructure developments, population changes in your chosen area, and any new amenities opening up. Transport, city-wide migration and services are the trinity of any property investment decision. Take your time.”
- Don’t bank on a quick flip
For all these reasons and more, speculators banking on fast turnaround at profit are likely to be disappointed.
“Emerging markets do offer enormous potential – but equally, enormous risks. Patient, sensible investors with research in-hand who are not over-leveraged are likely to succeed. Speculators looking for a fast profit are not, however. Don’t go beyond your financial limits, and don’t gamble what you can’t afford to lose on the promise of a quick win.”
The Sun Avenue from Novaland – middle-income apartment in District 2
- Vary your investments
Buyers on a larger scale should follow the ‘Buffet model’ in all areas, but in an emerging property market especially.
“Don’t risk it all in one sector or one area. Diversify your interests across districts, cities, and property types. The luxury end is most profitable right now – but will that remain the case in the long-term? Hedge your bets, and look at middle-income apartments, houses, tourist villas and commercial property to keep you in the game until the end.”
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