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Vietnam Property Investment For Sale

 

"Vietnam could be set to become the next Thailand on the tourism map."

 

Vietnam is a long snaking country that stretches from China down to Gulf of Thailand with a long (3,500km) coastline of stunning beaches and an interior of mountain forests, emerald paddy fields and tropical jungles.  With a history stretching from 1,000 years of rule by China followed by 100 years of French control, most will consider the two decades of the Vietnam War as it’s most memorable.

Ravaged and divided by decades of violent war and restrained by communist rule, Vietnam suffered dreadfully both economically and culturally until reforms where brought in during the 1980’s.  Since then a lot has changed in Vietnam and it now has a thriving tourist industry and has undergone immense economic growth over a relatively short period of time.  Manufacturing, information technology and high-tech industries and a rapidly expanding oil exporting industry have all helped fuel its growth and increased the size of the middle classes who are now able to own property.

However Vietnam has been ravaged by excessive levels of inflation which the government has failed to keep under control and although the economy is still growing faster than many of its neighbours, the economy is a mess and the key Vietnamese banks are bankrupt.  The result of all this is that property prices have fallen dramatically in the key cities of Hanoi and  Ho Chi Minh City and there is a dearth of unsold housing units and a substantial number of bad loans.  The problems are further exacerbated for overseas investors as owing property in Vietnam as a foreigner is far from straightforward as current law does not permit foreign ownership of real estate.
 

Country Guide

Geography

Vietnam is an S-shaped country, located in the southeastern corner of the Indochinese peninsula. An area slightly larger than the UK and Ireland, it ranges 1,600km from north to south, is about 40 km wide at its narrowest point and has a coastline of 3260km excluding islands. It borders China, Laos and Cambodia as well as the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea. Vietnam's terrain is densely forested with mountains accounting for 40% of the country.

The northern part of the country is primarily highlands with the densely populated fertile plains of the Red River Delta. The south comprises of coastal lowlands, forests, and peaks. The Mekong River Delta is also located in the South; a low-level plain that rises no more than three metres above sea level, and is traversed by rivers and canals. Vietnam has a monsoon climate, but varies considerably from north to south.

Government

Vietnam is a one-party state in which the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) decides all major policy issues, which are then implemented by the government. The country is led by a triumvirate of CPV General Secretary, State President and Prime Minister.The Prime Minister,  is the head of government and presides over the council of ministers.

The only organisations legally permitted to contest elections are those endorsed by the Communist party, including the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, workers and trade unionist parties. Although the National Assembly is growing in power, it is still firmly subordinate to the CPV.The CPV still enjoys popular support following its historic success in Vietnam and - most importantly - creating and maintaining peace and stability. As Vietnam has opened to the world, ordinary people enjoy much more personal freedom on a day-to-day level. However, an ever-present security apparatus maintains a close watch on society and potential dissent. 

Language

Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favoured as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

Standard of Living

The standard of living in Vietnam is modest but proverty has declined significantly recently and the country is working hard to meet the challenges of a labour force that is growing at more than one million a year. Deep proverty, those living under $1 per day, has been significantly reduced and now constitues a smaller percentage of the population than in China, India and the Philippines.

Living standards of course vary, and tend to be better in the major commercial centres such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where the minimum wage is set higher than the rest of the country. Although many see Vietnam as the next Thailand, the country remains about 20 years behind Thailand in terms of its development.T

Principle Towns

Vietnam has 708 cities and towns at present. Hanoi is the country's capital and major commercial centre. However, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest and most populated city as well as the most important economic and financial hub of Vietnam.

Country Economy

As a result of war, Vietnam's economic development suffered compared with other neighbouring countries. However it is catching up fast. Despite the 1997 Asian economic crisis, Vietnam's economy has expanded rapidly since the Communist Party of Vietnam turned away from the communist economic policies in the 1980s. Although the economy is developing at a rapid rate, entry costs for investors are still low, and cheap labour costs coupled with a young, literate workforce make business investment a very attractive and lucrative prospect.

The Vietnamese government has shown their commitment to economic liberalization and international integration. Structural reforms needed to modernize the economy have been implemented, helping to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. Vietnam joined the WTO in January 2007. This should give a major boost to Vietnam's export led economy and should spur on the country's economic liberalizing reforms.

However, problems remain. Reform of state enterprises is proceeding slowly, while another big issue is the under-development and poverty level in remote ethnic-minority areas. Although recent statistics show Vietnam in a favourable investment light, it is crucial to also take note of the country's current economic situation. As with any nation witnessing rapid development there has to come a point where the current growth rate is unsustainable.  The government is making strong efforts to curb the growth of inflation and stablise the economy.

After the dissolution of Comecon in the 1990s, Vietnam was forced to change its trade patterns, which had formerly been dominated by relations with the Soviet Union and its allies. The government liberalized trade and devalued the exchange rate to increase exports. Throughout the 1990s exports expanded significantly, growing by as much as 20%-30% in some years. 

Key industries:

Key exports include machinery, crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, garments and shoes.

 

Hotspots

Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are the country's two main metropolitan centres for investment, given their population profile, extent of FDI and their excellent location.

Other areas that present good opportunities are tourist and resort areas along the coast.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh offers the vibrancy of a commercial city, complete with high rise buildings and the hustle and bustle of a plethora of shops, alongside the legacy of an ancient and fascinating culture. It is often known as the 'Pearl of the Far East' or the 'Paris in the Orient' due to the strong French colonial influences still evident in the city. HCMC is the largest city in Vietnam as well as the economic and financial centre.

The city's population is growing fast, and it has one of the quickest expanding micro-economies in the world. Moreover, it is the biggest receiver of FDI in Vietnam. As such, it attracts both domestic migrants, especially a growing Vietnamese middle class, as well as an increasing number of expatriates, creating a high demand for residential housing.  

As a result Ho Chi Minh City offers a good potential market for capital appreciation as well as rentals. 

Hanoi

As the cultural capital of Vietnam, Hanoi has18 stunning lakes, the Temple of Literature and the One Pillar Pagoda. Situated on the banks of the Red River Hanoi's beauty lies in its mix of French and the Chinese architecture. Like HCMC, Hanoi is receiving a great deal of FDI and the non-state economic sector is expanding rapidly. On top of this, key infrastructure improvements are underway. 

Da Nang, Vung Tau, Phu Quoc Island

Major coastal areas like Da Nang, Vung Tau and Phu Quoc Island are also seeing significant interest and development tied to the growing tourism industry.

Da Nang is a key port and economic hub, advantageously positioned between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Well known for its pristine beaches and in close proximity to many historical and UNESCO-listed world heritage sites, it attracts more than 1 million visitors annually. The Marble Mountains are an outstanding cultural hotspot in the area with several Buddhist temples built into caves within the summits.

The five peaks are said to represent the five elements of fire, wood, water, earth and metal and a great deal of mystery surrounds the area which legend states contains vast amounts of treasure. Another popular destination in the area is China Beach which lies a few kilometres south of the city. This area is famous for its action during the Vietnamese conflict as a landing ground for Australian and American soldiers, and evidence of the conflict is still visible along the beach. However its lengthy white sands have made it a key tourist destination and investors would do well to look into this area, with its leasing opportunities both to tourists and expatriates in Da Nang.

Vung Tau has many sprawling beaches including Front Beach and Back Beach and is popular with Vietnamese looking for weekend getaways. The area is also very important in terms of Vietnam's offshore oil industry and is the site of Vietnam's only petroleum base. Large resort investments are springing up in Vung Tau including the Saigon Atlantis, Vung Tau Aquarium and Bau Trung theme park.

Phu Quoc Island currently draws in tourists to its beautiful beaches and is known for its production of black pepper and fish sauce, while a pearl farm was also recently established. The island is linked to the mainland by ferries and there are plans underway for a new international airport. With an average temperature of 27 degrees and highs of 35 degrees in the months of April and May and golf and casino complexes planned for the future, it is no wonder that tourism is rapidly increasing on the island.

Nha Trang

Nha Trang is a coastal city on the South Central Coast of Vietnam, world renowned for its sandy white beaches, seafood, scuba diving and one of the world's most stunning bays. Despite receiving copious investment, it still retains its relaxed charm. Linked to the theme park on Bamboo Island by chairlift, it is popular with backpackers and Vietnamese tourists alike. Nha Trang is probably the fastest growing city in terms of property development outside Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and would be a good place to invest. 

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