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The prime minister’s support for the ‘Vietnam’s Silicon Valley’ initiative has prompted HCMC to push ahead with a plan to merge three districts into one administrative unit.

The plan, which will combine Districts 2, 9, and Thu Duc into one administrative unit and make it an “innovative urban area,” has been submitted by the municipal Home Affairs Department to the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.

The department has come up with the plan following a meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the city.

The plan to make a “city within a city,” temporarily called the “Eastern Town,” won the PM’s endorsement.

This area has been in the making since 2017. City authorities said back then that the plan would generate a bright future for both local residents and businesses.

It would encompass the hi-tech park in District 9, the university precinct in Thu Duc District, and the new urban area and financial center on the Thu Thiem Peninsula in District 2 to make one innovative hub to serve the city’s biggest plan to turn itself into a smart city.

The “Eastern Town” is also expected to contribute to the establishment of value-added chains based on high technology, modern technical and social infrastructure of international standards, and effective financial support for businesses.

It was to play a key role in linking scientific and technical research with commercial production to lift residents’ lifestyles to “international standards.”

Le Van Thanh of the HCMC Institute for Development Studies had said: “This will be Vietnam’s Silicon Valley.”

The innovative hub would cover more than 22,000 hectares (54,300 acres) with a population of over 1.1 million. Once the plan is implemented, HCMC will have 22 instead of 24 districts.

PM Phuc, while endorsing the merger of districts, said its official name will be decided later. He also assigned the Ministry of Justice to guide the city on the next steps to take.

Source: VN Express

“Every inch of land is gold,” is not a false proposition. It is especially true in real estate. Developers often own large plots of land with a large constructible area, which can easily be used to optimize profit. Yet now, property developers are intentionally going against this traditional formula.

Gamuda Land chose to add to Gamuda City and Celadon City to its portfolio of hundreds of products in Vietnam. In fact, Gamuda City in Hanoi and Celadon City in HCMC have become the largest private parks and some of the most valuable developments in each of the cities.

Township developing with greening- initiatives have become an iconic trademark of Gamuda Land – from creating the concept its first visions to entering the Vietnamese market in 2007.

In Malaysia, Gamuda Land’s Kota Kemuning Wetland Park project, before receiving its prestigious awards for landscape construction, was a pioneering example in the field of urban development. Gamuda Land turned the pristine Klang Valley in Malaysia into one of the most livable residential areas on the island nation.

When Gamuda Land came to Vietnam, the miracle of the Klang Valley Kota Kemuning Wetland Project was recreated in Gamuda City in Hoang Mai, Hanoi.

From a swampy, deserted land, Yen So Park has become one of the friendliest eco-parks in the capital, attracting countless visitors. Locals and expatriates come to relax and picnic on the weekends. At the same time, Yen So Park also functions as a water conditioning system against flooding during the rainy season and even as a natural air conditioner during dry seasons.

Businesses usually do not “do it first, and think later.” But Gamuda Land’s bold approach in connecting the community with infrastructures first before building any residential precincts show to be extremely effective.  After the Yen So Park and its wastewater treatment was completed, Gamuda City became an international model for urban development. The township masterplan is now considered to be a “gold mine” in Southern Hanoi with skyrocketing investment potential, increasing year by year.

Thanks to its greening initiatives, Gamuda Land’s value has significantly increased while its products are often associated with a safe and healthy living environment.

While Gamuda Land focuses on providing luxury products the properties are close to nature, a trend which has shown to be essential to the middle- to high-income class buyers. Its ‘greening’ strategy has not only strengthened its credibility and but has also helped Gamuda Land establish brand trust among investors.

Source: NHIP Cau Dautu

Vietnamese have a long-held conception that the rich live in the center, and the poor have to live around the coastal areas as they do not usually have the wealth to move closer to the city. As urbanization took place at a dizzying pace, the lack of city planning has led to serious air pollution, overloaded infrastructure systems, causing congestions in urban areas in cities including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Over the past few years, districts just outside central Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are living proof that Vietnamese locals are moving closer to suburban districts. It is a positive result of the government’s development of satellite cities to reduce congestion and pressure around the city core.

Despite Vietnam’s strong performance in the past few years, it has been a popular trend that young Vietnamese no longer want to live in the city center, but rather suburban districts outside the city. TS Architects Ngo Viet Nam Son commented during a discussion on the issue,” in Paris, the rich do not live in the city core but choose to live in suburban districts as the infrastructure is well-planned and there is more living-space offered.”

Since its expansion to Vietnam from Malaysia, Gamuda Land has been a pioneering urban developer who has reshaped new directions in the industry by paying special attention to ecological improvements at project sites. The internationally-renowned Yen So Park in Hanoi has become one of the busiest eco-parks in the capital, which has attracted attention from international investors.

Why has Gamuda City been so successful at attracting foreign investors?  In recent years, green development is one quickly-emerging concept which in some cases, can add significant value to the development. As an experienced developer, Gamuda Land understands that green development translates to less land to build residential precincts. With fewer residential units offered, profit is more difficult to optimize. Creating an ecological-friendly environment and connecting residents to the city with well-planned infrastructures are some of the ways Gamuda Land can improve its already high-end products to compete with other products of similar price and segment.

Source: Cafe Biz

Five miles down the Thames from Canary Wharf, Woolwich is shaping up as a real alternative, with Berkeley Homes’ multi-billion-pound regeneration of Woolwich Arsenal, featuring 5,000 new homes plus bars and restaurants revamping the waterfront, and Crossrail due to upgrade transport links in 2021.

Down the line, British Land is planning a five-acre mixed development on inland Woolwich’s grotty high street, while Greenwich council has pledged £40 million to repurpose a series of historic buildings on the waterfront into arts and cultural venues.

A former ammunition factory will become a performance venue with seating for more than 4,000 people.

Transport is provided by DLR (Zone 4), and schools include the Ofsted “outstanding” St Peter’s Catholic Primary School and Cardwell Primary School.

Of all London’s regeneration zones, CBRE tips Woolwich to enjoy the biggest “regeneration house price growth premium” – 7.6 per cent per year.

There is plenty of river. Plenty of green space, in the shape of Oxleas Wood and Plumstead Common.

Woolwich’s waterfront flats are expensive, and the streets of period homes further inland have a rather bedraggled air. Local council estates are downright scruffy.

An average home in SE18 costs £481,000, according to Rightmove, up from £272,000 five years ago – a massive 77 per cent.

These average figures hide a massive range of homes. Berkeley Homes is currently selling splendid one to three-bedroom units at Royal Arsenal Riverside.

In the town center, you could pick up a four-bedroom period house for between around £550,000 and £600,000.

Prices for apartments drop the further from the river you move. A two-bedroom flat would cost between around £350,000 and £400,000, or less for ex-local authority property.

Source: Homes & Property

Apple is shifting some of its AirPods production to Vietnam this quarter.

Roughly 30%, or 3 million to 4 million, of the company’s classic AirPods will be produced in Vietnam rather than China, according to the report. The move will continue to diversify Apple’s supply chain, a process it began to accelerate in the past year due to U.S.-China trade tensions.

Last June, Apple’s interest in a trial for the production of its AirPods in Vietnam commenced. Apple had asked suppliers to look into moving 15% to 30% of production from China to other parts of Southeast Asia.

Apple did not immediately return a request for comment.

China is still a key market for Apple and continues to be a major production center for its devices.

The company has already shifted some production. Last October, it began selling iPhone XR models assembled in India, which helped Apple avoid duties in the country.

Source: CNBC

Property prices in London grew more in February than at any other point in the last two-and-a-half-years, according to a report from the U.K. government’s Land Registry released.

Not only was the 2.3% annual growth the highest recorded since September 2017, it was also higher than any other region in England and pushed the typical price of a home in the capital up to £476,972.

London appeared to be starting to emerge from a years-long period of stagnant market conditions caused by political uncertainty and tax increases. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s December reelection combined with the occurrence of the much-delayed Brexit in January gave the city a boost of sentiment and certainty.

However, with the U.K. now in lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, its future—along with the rest of the country—is less certain.

“We’ve seen the level of stock entering the market drop off a cliff in many areas so to speak, and we wait with bated breath to see what impact the pandemic will have on cold hard sales,” Marc von Grundherr, director of estate agency Benham and Reeves, said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, due to the delayed nature of the reporting of completed property transactions, it shall be another month at least before we start to see any official signs of a market decline,” he added.

Across the entirety of the U.K., property prices increased 1.1% year over year in February, bringing the average home price nationwide to £230,332, according to the index.

Increases were highest in Wales, where property prices in February rose 3.4% annually to an average of £164,435.

In Scotland, property prices rose 2.5% to an average of £150,524; and in England—which is home to the majority of the U.K.’s real estate transactions—the average price rose 0.8% to £246,341.

The report also analyzed Northern Ireland’s quarterly prices and found the average price increased 2.5% to £140,190 in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

The report did not break out prices for the luxury market.

Source: Mansion Global

Experts believe that the real estate market is unlikely to fall into a crisis and housing prices will remain stable because market demand remained high while supply is limited.

The COVID-19 pandemic is heavily weighing on a number of sectors, and property is no exception. The market saw a significant fall in transactions in the first quarter of this year.

Statistics from CBRE Việt Nam showed that only 1,600 apartments were put on sale in the first quarter, much lower than the quarterly average of 6,500 apartments recorded since 2012.

Despite fewer transactions, prices have not dropped off as expected. According to CBRE, average housing prices in the primary market rose by around four per cent during that time.

The Việt Nam Association of Realtors said market supply and successful transaction volume in the first quarter of this year were both at their lowest levels for the past four years, with no new developments launched.

The association said buyers were seemingly waiting for drops in housing prices to make purchasing decisions. Buyers tended to think that the property market would fall into a crisis and prices would drop due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, experts said that a crisis was unlikely.

The situation appears to be different from the real estate crises in 1997-98 and 2007-08 when housing prices fell to rock-bottom levels. The crises were fuelled by easy credit for real estate which inflated housing prices, coupled with low-capacity developers in the market.

COVID-19 pandemic would cause difficulties in the short term, but real estate was a long-term investment.

According to Phạm Đức Toản, general director of EZ Real Estate, housing prices would remain stable in the medium and long terms because of limited supply.

The previous crises eliminated weak developers from the market, and now players mostly had good capacity and experience, which would help them overcome this difficult time.

Vũ Cương Quyết, general director of the Northern Green Land Real Estate and Services Joint Stock Company, said that instead of lowering prices, developers were offering other promotions to attract buyers, such as longer interest terms and free interior design packages.

Source: Viet Nam News

Vietnam flattened its coronavirus infection curve with a sledgehammer, and after some early success, it’s now starting to open up its economy again.

When two visitors from neighboring China emerged as Vietnam’s first cases in late January, the Communist Party-led government began imposing controls that would have been difficult in many democratic countries. Over subsequent weeks it banned virtually all domestic and international flights, ordered pharmacies to report customers buying cold medicine and quarantined more than 100,000 people in military camps, hotels and closely monitored homes.

Nguyen Duc Hieu, a 22-year-old student, was forced into quarantine when he returned from London in late March. En route to Ho Chi Minh City, the pilot informed passengers the plane was being diverted to the Mekong Delta because all quarantine facilities in the nation’s commercial hub were full.

Passengers were then herded into military vehicles, driven to a military school that had been converted into a quarantine camp and kept there for more than two weeks.

“We had six to eight people in a room with bunk beds and military blankets,” Hieu said. “We were provided some personal stuff at the camp, like a toothbrush, toothpaste, pillow and a mosquito net. Although it was uncomfortable, I think it was necessary.”

Vietnam was already a favored location for foreign investors looking for an alternative manufacturing hub to China following escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and the world’s second-largest economy.

The government’s goal is now to build on that momentum. Pledged foreign direct investment rose 7.2% last year, with $24.6 billion flowing into manufacturing, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. That helped spur economic growth to 7.02%, the second-fastest pace since 2007.

“This shows an advantage of our political system, which allows the government to mobilize all resources when needed to fight against an enemy, and this time it is the novel coronavirus,” said Le Dang Doanh, a Hanoi-based economist and former government adviser

The virus’ impact on China — already seen by many foreign companies as getting more expensive with an aging population — makes Vietnam look even more attractive to businesses, said Vu Tu Thanh, senior Vietnam representative of the U.S.-Asean Business Council.

A survey of some of the group’s corporate members indicates they’re still re-evaluating their positions in China, Thanh said.

Source: Bloomberg

With Covid-19 and trade tensions driving the shift of production lines from China to Southeast Asia, Việt Nam, in particular, seems to have emerged as an attractive destination for investors and manufacturers alike, experts have predicted.

“Việt Nam remains a promising market with a growing trend of manufacturing companies looking to set up operations in the country, which has been happening for a number of years. Industrial park developers remain confident that demand for industrial land will continue to grow and therefore land prices are expected to increase in-line with the long-term potential of Vietnam’s industrial segment,” said Stephen Wyatt, country head for JLL Vietnam.

According to JLL, multinational manufacturers have been setting up operations in Việt Nam for a number of years and this movement has accelerated over the past 12-24 months with companies looking to diversify their operations and supply chains due to tariffs on goods exported from China to the US. More companies are expected to follow suit as the cost of production rises.

Data from the US Census Bureau show a 35.6 per cent surge in goods imports from Việt Nam last year, compared with a 16.2 per cent contraction in goods imported from China.

“Data for this year will be distorted by the effects of the coronavirus on global supply chains, but the trend of manufacturing moving from China to South East Asia will continue,” predicted Stuart Ross, head of industrial for South East Asia at JLL.

According to JLL’s latest market report, companies looking to diversify their manufacturing portfolio outside China are attracted to Vietnam thanks to its proximity to China, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the Government’s ambition to establish Vietnam as a manufacturing hub for Southeast Asia.

The average land price in the Northern areas reached US$99 per sq.m, up 6.5 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, while the Southern areas recorded $101 per sq.m, up 12.2 per cent year-on-year in the last quarter last year. Ready-built factories recorded an average price of $3.5 – 5.0 per sq.m per month for both areas.

Source: Viet Nam News

If house prices fall, investors can pick up properties with higher yields, especially as rents are unlikely to fall as much as sale values.

The UK property market is in limbo: sales are on hold, landlords are struggling, and mortgage searches last month were down 44pc on the previous four-week period, according to the online provider Twenty7Tec.

But some buy-to-let investors are spotting opportunities, and are getting their deals lined up for when the restrictions on purchasing are lifted. The share of buy-to-let mortgage searches on Twenty7Tec saw a small uptick last month. In the capital, prospective investors are “circling”, said Camilla Dell, managing partner at London buying agency Black Brick. “There’s a lot of cash swirling, looking to swoop in,” she said.

While analysts are not anticipating a house price crash, they are forecasting some falls in the short term. The latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor suggested sales expectation in the following months are the lowest ever recorded.

Savills has forecast a short-term price drop of 5-10pc. “You need only look at the rate that lenders have pulled out their mortgage offering,” said James Tucker of Twenty7Tec. Nearly a third of the mortgage deals on offer have been retracted.

For buy-to-let investors, short-term price falls mean long-term yield increases. In London and the South East, high property prices have meant low yields, leading to an exodus of buy-to-let investors to the North, seeking higher returns. But falling prices have already been boosting rental yields.