Developers should be allowed to build small apartments to meet high local housing demands, Deputy Construction Minister Nguyen Tran Nam said.
Many young couples and single people need a place to live that is suitable to their income, he said. There should not be any problem with two or three people living in a 20 square-meter apartment, Nam was quoted by the Vietnam Economic Times as saying on the sidelines of a conference held Wednesday.
In late May, Vietnam's Ministry of Construction approved a proposal by Dat Lanh Real Estate Company to build 20 sqm apartments in HCMC. It then asked the city administration to provide guidelines for the development of these apartments on a trial basis.
The municipal Construction Department, however, rejected the proposal, saying it would violate Vietnam's Housing Law, which stipulates that an apartment must have a minimum area of 45 sqm.
"I think the existing law is not really practical," Nam said. "Apartments are in fact a kind of products and thus their size should be decided by businesses. Businesses will try to meet whatever consumers demand.
"Just like cars, for instance, there are no regulations requiring them to be big or small," he said.
What really matters is increasing the total housing area in the country, not to build large apartments, he said. "Only the rich can afford apartments of 80 sqm to more than 100 sqm while many others who have real demand cannot."
"Small apartments are suitable for many people's financial capabilities. They are a product that can have very good sales, so why not support them?"
Nam said huge demand is a great condition for the local real estate market to develop. What the market needs now is good policies to encourage developers to build more housing, he said.
Around 50 percent of Vietnam's housing was developed in the past ten years, he added.