With a crowded river and stream system and a big, largely untapped land fund along the riverside, Ho Chi Minh City has enormous potential for riverside property development. This year is expected to see a boom in riverside mega-property projects.
Talking about the Ho Chi Minh City real estate market in 2018, it is important to mention the Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi mixed-use development project at Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi Terminal (Saigon Port). The project, initially scheduled for implementation in 2017 then postponed to 2018, is developed by Vien Dong Pearl Urban Development Investment Co., Ltd.
The Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi mixed-use complex will encompass several high-rise blocs functioning as trade and service centres and apartment buildings (3,116 apartment units), villas (32), schools, clinics, and technical infrastructure for a population of nearly 13,000 residents, according to the approved 1/500 scale detailed planning of the District 4 port sub-area. This urban zone’s total area will be about 32.1 hectares and spread along 1.8 kilometres of riverside.
Another upcoming project is the construction of Thanh My Loi Urban Area in District 2. The project, overlooking the Saigon River and covering 178.8ha of space, will consist of street-front houses and villas as well as high-end apartment buildings. After a time of stagnancy, developers holding land plots in Thanh My Loi recently accelerated the pace of their projects.
The over-200ha Van Phuc Urban Area in Thu Duc District, with two sides overlooking the Saigon River, is also significant as it features products of diverse segments from shophouses to villas and high-end apartment buildings. The developer is the privately-run Van Phuc JSC.
Another project called Palm City is developed by Keppel Land. According to the Singaporean developer, nearly 1,000 high-end apartments of the project will come onto the market in 2018. The project is nestled on a road parallel to Ho Chi Minh City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway in District 2, with one side overlooking a branch of the Saigon River. The project has been open for sale since 2016.
District 7 is also home to many riverside mega-projects, such as River Panorama of An Gia Investment, The Elysium of Sam Land, Jamona Golden Silk of Saigon Thuong Tin Real Estate JSC (Sacomreal) or River City of Phat Dat Real Estate Development Corporation.
Another significant project in District 7 is the 117-ha Mui Den Do park and urban housing complex, known as Saigon Peninsula, with three sides overlooking the Saigon River. The project was bought by Van Thinh Phat Investment Group from Saigon Peninsula Group JSC in 2016 for real estate development purposes. After more than one year in the hands of the new developer, the project, which was reported to have total investment capital of $6 billion, has seen no progress.
According to Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association, developers now increasingly focus on bringing comfort to homebuyers, and riverside property projects not only provide aesthetic value, but are perfectly positioned by feng shui principles.
Jostling for land plots
In fact, projects that are contiguous to rivers or streams have been selling very well. Thereby, to attract homebuyers, many projects have incorporated riverside parks and marina components in their design.
For instance, several real estate projects in Duc Hoa District in the southern province of Long An are only close to a small canal. To attract homebuyers, the project design features a jade-water river and a big marina with ships.
At a project in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s Thu Duc District, to create a beautiful landscape, the developer has dedicated more than 100-ha space for the development of an artificial river system to benefit prospective homebuyers.
Industry experts assumed that 2018 will be the time for green property development. These projects will mainly concentrate on the western and southern parts of the Saigon River, such as Thu Thiem New Urban Area (District 2) on the western shore of the Saigon River. The southern part will also be in focus as it is home to the largest number of canals and streams in the city.
Besides, in 2018 local developers expect more riverside land funds to become available for project development. Currently, Trung Nam Group is developing a build-transfer (BT) housing project for Ho Chi Minh City. In exchange, the company will receive a riverside land plot.
This year, thousands of households living around more than 20 canals and ditches across the city will be relocated due to environmental concerns. To raise capital for people’s relocation, from early 2017, the city authorities have been calling for businesses to implement BT projects, giving out land plots along the canals and ditches in exchange. These BT projects aim to build resettlement blocs for relocated people.
“Following the city’s commitment, businesses are lodging investment proposals. The number of firms registered to take part in BT projects is increasing quickly, as grasping riverside land plots has grown into the number-one priority of firms,” said Nguyen Anh Tuan, general director of Viet Gia Phu Real Estate Trading and Investment JSC.
According to Ha Van Thien, director of Investment and Construction at Tran Anh Group, the company currently has a portfolio of four riverside projects in Ho Chi Minh City that are selling very well.
The ‘riverside’ factor is a plus boosting real estate value by about 10-20 per cent.
“Therefore, seizing riverside land plots or those along canals are the company’s top priority in the forthcoming time,” Thien said, adding that this is quite a challenging task in the current Ho Chi Minh City.