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Banks resume real-estate lending

Update: August, 04/2012 - 08:02

HCM CITY — Many commercial banks have begun to loosen credit policy for real estate projects, which is expected to heat up the domestic property market but, at the same time, create risks.

In the face of low credit-growth rates over the last few months, many commercial banks have launched preferential loans at attractive interest rates and with flexible payment plans.

Such bold steps have created some positive changes in the domestic real estate market.

For example, the Joint-Stock Commercial Bank of Foreign Trade of Viet Nam (Vietcombank) has provided buyers of condos at the Indochina Plaza Ha Noi building with interest-free loans for the first year, under a deal recently signed with the project's owner Indochina Land.

Homebuyers can take out loans worth around 60 per cent of the condo value with a 20-year term, according to IndoChina Land.

Buyers will not pay interest and can enjoy deferred principal payments each year, since the first disbursement was done according to the credit contract.

After the bank began its offer, many customers signed contracts with the company to buy apartments at Indochina Plaza Ha Noi.

A representative of the DTJ company responsible for selling apartments at Indochina Plaza Ha Noi said that after two days of launching sales promotions, the company received VND50 billion from selling the apartments.

In addition, Vietcombank has also supported customers who want to buy apartments at the Viet Hung Urban Development Investment Company's Ecopark project, with loans that have a lending interest rate of only 8 per cent per year, much lower than the current rate of 15 per cent and 16 per cent.

Similarly, those who buy apartments at the Dream Town project of the Dai Mo Company can get loans with an interest rate of 12 per cent for six months from the Bank for Investment Development of Viet Nam (BIDV).

Each loan can equal up to 70 per cent of the apartment's value.

Several commercial banks including VPBank, Techcombank and Maritime Bank are offering consumer loans with interest rates of around 12 per cent per year for people who want to buy housing.

This situation has helped both sides, with banks increasing their credit growth rate and real estate developers releasing their inventories.

Senior financial expert Tran Tri Hieu, however, said that if the banks offered too many loans to buy houses, they would likely violate current credit activity regulations.

Most of the banks's credit packages for housing purchases have long terms, from five to 20 years, and they are now allowed to use only 30 per cent of their short-term mobilised capital for long-term loans, according to Hieu.

Meanwhile, a majority of the banks' mobilised capital comes from short-term deposits so investments in the real estate sector could meet risks.

Because Viet Nam does not have credit-guarantee organisations like many other countries, such investment could be dangerous, according to Hieu.

He suggested that banks focus on the provision of short-term loans to ensure that capital turnover would be quicker.

Cao Sy Kiem, former Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam, said loans should be provided to individuals who have a real need for housing. — VNS

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