Not the right time to buy houses in Vietnam: official

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Vietnam's property market has not bottomed out and prices may continue to fall, a senior official said, advising homebuyers to wait for some more time before making any purchases.

"I think it will be difficult for the market because right now homebuyers don't have money while investors don't see any opportunity to make profit from the market," said Dao Trung Chinh, deputy director of the General Department of Land Administration.

"Most investors agree that now is not the right time to purchase property," he told news website VnEconomy in an interview late last week.

"Prices can fall a little further. They have dropped but are very high compared to what homebuyers can afford," Chinh said.

Chinh said the market has been nearly "frozen" since the beginning of the year, with many projects unable to find a single buyer.

While the downturn has been attributed to many factors, including an overall economic slowdown and a mismatch in demand and supply that led to a large housing stock, Chinh said one of the main reasons is the high property price.

"Prices were and still are too high, beyond the reach of many people," he added.

Deputy Construction Minister Nguyen Tran Nam was quoted by VnEconomy as saying that of 30 million people living in urban areas in Vietnam, 80 percent are poor and face housing problems.

Nam said the ministry will propose several measures to the government to bring down home prices to as low as VND10 million (US$480) per square meter to make housing more accessible to the low-income majority.

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