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More housing developments needed for urbanization

Experts said Vietnam needs more drastic measures to boost housing development since the rapid urbanization coupled with a young population has made it an urgent problem in the country.

Because urban spaces were becoming narrower, improving the living environment and conveniences has become increasingly important, according to experts. 

Measures need initiating to prevent an urban boom from becoming opportunities for real estate speculation, said Tran Dinh Thien - Director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics (under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences).

The rapid urbanization has been seen in not only major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh but also other neighboring localities like Quang Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Bac Ninh, Binh Duong and Dong Nai.

According to statistics, only 20% of Vietnam population lived in urban areas in 1997. Most of real estate deals were conducted without bank loans during that time. But today, urban residents have accounted for 34% of the population. Along with that, bank loans have also been more popular in property deals.

The rate of urban residents is expected to hit 51% in 2016.  In parallel with the trend of smaller households, urban areas will see increasingly rising housing demand, especially for social housing developments.

A recent survey of Vietnam Finance newspaper revealed, 67% of surveyed people aged between 25 and 40 did not own homes and 60% of them demanded one.  Nearly 75% said that they were not able to buy house due to lack of money. 

Besides, the newspaper quoted a senior professional of Noruma Research Institution as saying that the country’s support policies for social housing development still remained ineffective. Preferential loans are accessible for only a few people.

Some experts joining a recent conference about housing issues in Vietnam pointed out that more long-term financial policies for social housing development needed. Besides, support policies for young people aged around 30 with medium incomes should be raised to meet their high demand for accommodation.

Recently, Hidenori Hashimoto from the Japan International Cooperation Agency in Vietnam was quoted by the Voice of Viet Nam news website as saying that Japan wanted to invest in social housing development for the youth in Vietnam. Accordingly, through official development assistance, Japan and the banks might provide loan supports to those who were capable of paying back debts within 5 to 15 years.

(Vietnam Investment Review)

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