According to the authorities Ho Chi Minh City has 152 apartment buildings, occupied by 12,608 inhabitants which are dilapidated. According to a survey by the city’s Department of Construction structures contain a total living space of 618,202 sqm. Among them, 67 buildings are categorised as seriously decayed requiring urgent repair. Beyond the city limits at least 60 per cent of the countrys three million square meters of antiquated apartments most of which were constructed before 1991 are in need of repair, according to the ministrys latest statistics. So there is no shortage of Ho Chi Minh City property projects for those looking to involve themselves in a restoration project.
However, it has not proved to be a particularly attractive option for developers thus far, with major players in the real estate market appearing disinclined to renovate run-down apartment blocks as a means of generating profit due to a variety of bureaucratic obstacles. However, the government is aiming to take on the bulk of these projects itself, and announced a nation-wide project which aimed to fix all run-down apartments by 2019. It demanded progress reports be submitted by the various provinces, outlining what was planned for the dilapidated buildings in their areas in order to comply with the 2019 deadline.
With foreigners currently not allowed to buy property, restoration projects are somewhat beyond their reach. However, with the planned relaxation of ownership laws due to come into force at the start of 2018, opportunities may open up. As with elsewhere, any venture of this type should begin with a structural survey report from an experienced property assessor/surveyor to ensure there are no hidden problems with the building. Two key issues with run down buildings in the city is that most apartments of this vintage, usually ranging from four- to five-stories high, do not include elevators or possess standardised fire protective systems.