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Foreign investors venturing to buy price-decreasing real estate   2008-11-11 - Sai Gon Tiep Thi

While the real estate market has been falling with very few successful transactions, VinaCapital, a fund management company, is planning to raise US $400 million to inject in the market. Other foreign investors are also eyeing the price-decreasing real estate.


Construction workers now have less work to do as the real estate market is freezing

Representatives of VinaCapital have confirmed that it is planning to raise money for the investment in real estate. According to Saigon Tiep Thi newspaper, Reuters on November 4 quoted David Blackhall, Deputy Managing Director of VinaCapital as saying that the scale of the new fund would be some US $400 million.


Mr. Blackhall said that the US $400 million will target the real estate which is depreciating, especially the hotel and apartment projects.


“The real estate prices have dropped by 40-60% in Hanoi and HCM City. In such a condition, the half-finished projects, for many reasons, have become attractive in the eyes of investors,” said Tran Minh Hoang, Chairman of Vinaland, a real estate investment company.


Not only VinaCapital, the real estate investment fund under Prudential Insurance also told Reuters that it plans to inject some money in Vietnam in the next six months, which will also target the real estate going down in prices.


New business affairs in the real estate market have been reported. In early November, Aseana Properties completed the deal of purchasing 51% of stakes at High-tech Health Park in HCM City (US $27.6 million). This includes a privately run hospital, a compound trade centre, and houses with the total space area of over one million sq m. Prior to that, in July, Aseana spent US $18.03 million to buy stakes of Nam Long, a construction company.


Real estate now cheap enough to purchase


The favourite topic of the discussions of real estate developers these days is how VinaCapital can raise funds.


By November 3, according to LCF Rothschild, the net asset value (NAT) of the real estate funds in Vietnam had been as follows: Vietnam Property Holding -7.6%. JSM Indochina +7.6%, Aseana Properties -0.3%, and Vinaland +19.8%; an impressive figure.


Mr. Blackhall believes that the inexpensive transactions would purchase the investors to bet on the market.


The national economy has bettered than three months ago, and Mr. Blackhall believes that the real estate prices would only go down a little more before going up again, believing that the investors now have a good opportunity which they could not have had 12 months ago.


However, analysts still have doubts about the success of the fund raising as the domestic market is now in large difficulties.


“Only one or two successful transactions are reported every month,” said Tran Minh Hoang.


“Foreign investors now do not have much money as before, while foreign banks keep cautious with real estate credit. Meanwhile, the real estate in the US has depreciated much more than in Vietnam, making it more attractive to investment in the US than in Vietnam,” said the leader of an investment fund in Vietnam.


Accordign to LCF Rothschild, by November 3, the yield to maturity of the funds in Vietnam had been -64.5%.


Meanwhile, Chau Vinh Quang, Deputy Chairman of VinaGlobal, said that if someone has money at this moment, it is now the right time to purchase.

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