City Garden announces special offer on ‘The Duet’ in June

City Garden Apartments Vietnam Limited, the developer of City Garden- one of top-end condo projects in Ho Chi Minh City- has just offered a special offer on their recently launched ‘The Duet’ apartments in the project’s new Promenade Tower.

Accordingly, through the end of the month of June up to six lucky buyers will benefit from City Garden’s special offer on the two-view, double balcony, and three-bedroom apartments.

‘The Duet’ looks out on the city’s inner suburbs on one side and offers almost panoramic views of the Saigon River all around.

“We are really proud of the way City Garden has made such a name for itself in the market,” said William Towne Baker, general director of City Garden. “We’ve seen a large number of foreign and domestic buyers from the beginning and now think it’s time to highlight some of our more unique apartments for those ready to join the City Garden community.”

‘The Duet’ apartments are laid out amid a spacious 160 square metres and seamlessly combine the kitchen, living and dining areas to create a large open space for family bonding and togetherness.

Their most prominent feature is the special ‘flow-through’ design, which promotes natural ventilation and an abundance of natural light. With private and tranquil bedrooms, stunning design and cutting-edge interior amenities, the apartments are an ideal place to raise one’s family.

Promenade Tower is situated on 22,889sq.m and comprised of 400 high-end apartments ranging from 70sq.m to 161sq.m.

Designed by the renowned Australia-based architect Koos de Kiejezer from DKO and developed by locally-based Refico, City Garden’s second phase has gathered a reputable collection of consultants, including CotecCons as the contractor, the prestigious Element Design Studio for landscape design and the leading construction management company, Mace.

Breaking ground on the project’s third tower and second phase in July 2015, buyers of ‘The Duet’ can expect to move into their new apartments as scheduled in August 2018.

VSIP unveils innovative living

Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park Joint Venture, or VSIP JV, which is well known as an industrial real estate developer in Vietnam, celebrated the structural topping-out of its first ever residential development in the country last week.

Industrial real estate developer VSIP has made its first foray into residential property with “The Habitat”
The Habitat Binh Duong is located at the gateway to VSIP 1 at Huu Nghi avenue in the southern province of Binh Duong’s Thuan An district. The project has been undertaken by VSIP-Sembcorp Gateway Development Company Ltd.

According to Nguyen Phu Thinh, general director of VSIP JV, the development is part of VSIP’s integrated township and industrial park concept. The aim here is to allow communities to flourish near their workplace, and to provide a safe haven for their families.

“Previously, tenants have used leased land to set up facilities and accommodation for their workers. As VSIP pursues the new concept, we decided to develop residential projects in line with our standards to provide complementary services and amenities for the people working in the park,” Thinh said. “Once the Habitat Binh Duong becomes successful, we will replicate this model in other VSIPs nationwide.”

The initial phase of the Habitat Binh Duong comprises two high-rise towers with 267 units offering two- and three-bedroom units, ranging from 58 to 103 square metres, and 15 dual-key apartments.

Designed by Singapore’s award-winning RSP Architects, the project has the distinction of being the only residential development with dual-key apartments which comprise two separate units within: a two-bedroom unit and a studio unit.

Daniel Lim, general director of RSP Architects Planners and Engineers Vietnam, said that “these apartments provide flexibility for a family to live together with their parents while maintaining privacy. Alternatively, they allow the owner to live in the larger unit and generate rental income from the studio unit at the same time.”

Although this residential development caters to the mass market segment, VSIP also provides many value-added facilities, including a swimming pool, a gym, and security features for each tower.

In addition, with more than 30 per cent of the site set aside for landscaping, the residences are nestled in an aesthetically pleasing environment. The garden itself is artfully designed with clusters of flowers accentuating a wide selection of lush foliage.

Residents of the Habitat Binh Duong are offered peace of mind by virtue of the gated development’s security guardhouse, closed-circuit television  cameras in public areas, and card-controlled access to the two high-rise towers. The apartments come with amenities and standards befitting a premium condominium.

The story of VSIP is similar to Singapore’s early years: creating jobs for the people and homes in safe environments for communities to spread their roots and raise their families; encouraging provincial growth with wealth that is funnelled back into the community to improve infrastructure such as schools and hospitals; and finally, fostering environments where businesses can flourish and investments can pour in.

VSIP is a joint venture between Vietnam’s Becamex IDC Corporation and a Singaporean consortium led by Sembcorp Development. There are seven VSIPs nationwide with a total area of 6,153 hectares of land. The VSIPs are integrated townships and industrial parks. There are about 616 tenants employing 160,000 workers, and boasting a combined investment capital of more than $8.5 billion.

Property information to be made public

The legal status and progress of properties would be made available to the public in order to reduce the risks for home buyers, according to an HCM City official.

The Manor apartment complex in Hà Nội. Management of mortgaged assets must be tightened to prevent violations and to protect the rights of home buyers. – VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng

Nguyễn Toàn Thắng, director of HCM City Department of Natural Resources and Environment said, this would be a part of the effort to promote transparency in the property market which turned critical amid a recent spate in conflicts between developers and buyers.

Reasons for the conflicts and risks for buyers were varied such as the unclear legal status of projects, stagnant progress in construction, slow granting of house ownership certificates and violations by developers such as the ones happening in apartment projects Harmona, Bảy Hiền Tower and RubyLand in HCM City recently.

In such cases, it was the buyers who suffered, experts said at a recent conference.

“Especially, projects which were already used as mortgages for bank loans would also be publicly named,” Thắng said. Violations by developers in using their projects as mortgages were becoming a cause for serious concern in recent times, he said.

Lê Hoàng Châu, president of the HCM City Real Estate Association, proposed making the publicising of information about property projects mandatory.

“Buyers really need transparent and accurate information about property projects and developers before a purchase and to protect their rights,” economic expert Đinh Thế Hiển said, and added that risks for buyers were growing as a large number of transactions were being conducted on unfinished projects.

Problem in management

Lawyer Trần Đức Phương from HCM City Bar Association said that the root of conflict between property developers and home buyers was weak management which made it easy for property developers to engage in violations and home buyers to be faced with a dilemma.

Experts said that under established regulations, property developers must have land use certificates before mortgaging their projects. In fact, many did not possess adequate documents but still managed to acquire loans by mortgaging their projects. Some apartments were even mortgaged for loans by both developers and buyers at the same time and the dilemma would grow worse in case developers did not have adequate financial capacity to repay debts.

Bùi Quang Tín from Banking University of HCM City said that banks should be blamed for weak management towards mortgaged assets as well as neglect in after-lending supervision.

Tín said that the management of mortgaged assets must be tightened to prevent violations and to protect the rights of home buyers.

In addition, home buyers must study the capacity of property developers, the legal status of projects and the bank guarantees carefully, as well as ensure they have the contracts for their purchases, Tín said.

However, buyers said at the conference that there was too little information about projects from the management agencies while the information by developers was vague with regard to the legal status of the projects, construction progress and granting of house ownership certificates.

“There are loopholes in the legal framework while inspections and punishments are not strict enough,” Trần Trọng Tuấn, director of HCM City Department of Construction, said.

Tuấn said the State management must be improved, estimating that the some 20 per cent of developers did not have the financial capacity and were only interested in making much money as fast as possible.

“The most important thing now is to improve the transparency of the property market to enable buyers to access accurate information,” Nguyễn Mạnh Khởi, deputy director of the Department of Housing and Real Estate Management Department under the Ministry of Construction, said.

Information about projects, especially those which are mortgaged, would be made public in the future, Khởi said, and added that a software was being developed for this purpose.

In addition, the responsibilities of property developers, banks and management agencies must be clarified while supervision must be tightened, Khởi said.

Việt Nam made bank guarantees compulsory for transactions on unfinished projects, with an aim to protect buyers.

Hanoi serviced apartment market poised for expansion in next two years

The serviced apartment market in Hanoi, which has experienced little fluctuation in recent years, is poised to see an increase in both supply and demand.

According to CBRE’s report on the Hanoi real estate market for the second quarter of 2016 released on June 28, the supply of serviced apartments is anticipated to reach nearly 4,000 units by 2018, with prominent projects such as Somerset West Point, Somerset West Central, and Trang An complex. All of these are high-end serviced apartment projects located in office-clustered districts of the city.

Even though the segment has seen little change in terms of tenancy rates, which has been stable at between 70 and 80 per cent, there should be little worry about whether the new developments will be filled.

According to managing director of CBRE Vietnam Marc Townsend, the demand is set to increase soon as the economy grows.

“I think as the economy grows and moves towards information technology, it will bring in a lot of consultants. So, groups like CapitaLand, Mapletree, and Frasers are looking at their offering and they have decided to invest more in serviced apartments in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City,” he said, adding that foreigners soon coming to Vietnam were mainly Asian and serviced apartments would be a good solution.

In April, Singaporean developer Keppel Land Ltd.’s subsidiary Palmsville Investment Pte Ltd., sold 70 per cent of its stake in Quang Ba Royal Park Joint Venture Company Ltd. to Vietnamese BRG Group Joint Stock Company for VND492 billion ($22 million). Quang Ba Royal Park is Palmsville’s joint venture with Hanoi Trade Union Tourism Co., Ltd. established to own and operate the first serviced apartment block in Hanoi, the 155-apartment and 20-villa Sedona Suites Hanoi in Tay Ho district.

The leaving of a foreign developer to let a Vietnamese one take over in this case does not mean that the market is no longer attractive, according to Townsend. Similar to the recent sales of assets by foreign developers to Vietnamese ones, the trend comes down to legality.

“One of the issues at play is the lease holding structure we have in Vietnam on some of these hotels, office towers, and serviced apartments. A lease can only be held for 20-30 years. Some of these projects are at 20-30 years already, so investors want to get out. Thus, we see Keppel selling some assets in Hanoi. Same with CapitaLand. They are selling good assets that they developed,” he said.

According to the report, the second quarter of 2016 recorded no new addition to the supply of serviced apartments for sale in Hanoi. The total supply remained stable at 3,239 units, with more than 30 per cent accounted for by two-bedroom units. Grade A serviced apartments took up to 71 per cent of the total supply, most of which were located in Tay Ho, Ba Dinh, and Tu Liem districts.

As of the end of the quarter, the average asking rent of Grade A and Grade B apartments were $31.7  and $21.7 per square metre per month (psm pm), respectively. The highest rent rates continued to be charged in Cau Giay district, at $36.3 psm pm in Grade A and at $28.9 psm pm in Grade B, followed by Ba Dinh and Tu Liem districts. There was a smaller deviation in the average price of grade A apartments by district than those of Grade B, indicating the heated competition among these projects.

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