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Real estate is the world’s most important asset class. By the end of 2020, the total value of global real estate has reached an all-time high of $326.5 trillion, more valuable than all global equities and debt securities combined, and almost four times that of global GDP (Savills). Residential real estate, standing at $258.5 trillion, is by far the largest real estate sector, representing 79% of all global real estate value. Most of the value of the residential real estate sector is located in the Asia Pacific region, with the emerging markets of Southeast Asia driving most of this growth.

Amongst the Southeast Asian nations, Vietnam has remained one of the fastest-growing real estate markets, despite the challenging environment brought about by Covid-19. Due to the acute shortage of supply and strong demand, supported by favourable demographics, real estate prices in Vietnam have risen by between 15% and 20% year-on-year across the board over the past 12 months. Over the long-run, real estate prices in Vietnam have increased by between 8% and 10% per annum consistently. The strong appetite for real estate investment was due to the benefits of long-term security, great returns, positive capital appreciation and protection against inflation.

However, as house prices are exceeding income growth, housing affordability has become a major issue for many homebuyers in Vietnam, especially among young people. Purchasing a property in Vietnam requires a significant downpayment, which proves to be cumbersome and time consuming for many younger buyers. In addition, the low liquidity and lack of diversification are many of the challenges for real estate investors and homebuyers in the country.