Le Thi Bao Tran, a young white-collar worker in Ho Chi Minh City, has spent the past eight years moving between rented rooms, doing her best to save up enough money to purchase a home of her own.
Like other young, white-collar workers who have moved to Ho Chi Minh City to pursue their careers, Tran hopes to eventually purchase a home in the city, but the rising cost of real estate has kept that dream out of reach.
A lifelong dream
Tran spent her college years moving between rental apartments in Binh Thanh District.
At one point, she shared a tiny 10-square-meter apartment with a friend for just VND1.1 million ($47) per month, including utilities.
During the dry season, the apartment would heat up like an oven, and the putrid smell from a nearby garbage dump would waft through the windows.
“If you closed the door, you could hardly breathe. If you opened the door, you still couldn't breathe because of the horrible smell,” she shared.
Things were not much better in the rainy season, when the apartment would flood during heavy rains.
Tran spent her college and early professional years moving between apartments, often leaving one place for the next because of difficult landlords.
“After so many moves, I made up my mind that I would eventually buy my own home, even if it was just a small apartment,” Tran said.
Thanks to her stable job, Tran currently lives in a lovely rented apartment in District 7 that doesn't break the bank, allowing her to continue saving for a home of her own.
In addition to working as a communications associate for an agency, she sublets apartments in order to make extra cash. She also invests in the stock market.
Given her savings of more than VND400 million ($17,345), Tran is confident that she will be able to achieve her dream of owning a her own home before she turns 30.
“My goal is to buy an apartment that costs less than VND2.5 billion [$108,200]. I would like it to be one- or two-bedrooms with a nice view and all the necessary amenities. It would also have to allow me to pay in installments,” Tran said.
Taking out a mortgage
Vo Hoang Thai is a sales representative for an English center in Ho Chi Minh City. Thai earns about VND20 million ($867) per month and hopes his current salary is enough to put on the path towards buying a 40-square-meter, one bedroom apartment with "simple furniture.”
|Vo Hoang Thai works hard to earn enough money to buy an apartment in the city. Photo : Dieu Qui / Tuoi Tre|
“I live alone and my income is not very high,” Thai said.
"It won't be easy and it will take me a lot of time to achieve my goal."
COVID-19 has been a major setback for Thai. With English centers shut down during the pandemic, Thai was forced to find side gigs to ean extra income.
His current expenses consist mainly of necessities, and he only occasoinally doles out cash for leisure activities.
To make his dream of owning an apartment come true, Thai plans to take out a mortgage.
“Some banks offer home loans with interest rates at 8.8-9 percent during the first year with rate adjustments from the second year onwards, depending on the market," Thai said.
The young man said he plans to put 70-75 percent of his monthly salary towards his mortgage.
“If something unexpected happens, I would probably have to borrow money from relatives and friends,” he explained.
According to a recent report issued by Batdongsan.vn , a real estate information website, 92 percent of Vietnamese have plans to purchase property in the future, the highest of any country in Southeast Asia.
Although he lives with his parents and siblings in a house in Tan Binh District, Dang Minh Viet, 32, dreams of owning his own home.
Viet currently works a stable job at a marketing agency and investments in real estate and cryptocurrency on the side.
He hopes to one day purchase an apartment for VND4-5 billion ($175,000-$217,875).
“I want to live in a safe environment that is not too big, has a nice view and amenities,” Viet said.
“I want to live on the outskirts of the city so that I can enjoy the peace and quiet without too much noise from traffic."
Viet hopes to save enough money to cover 50 percent of his future apartment’s value in the next two years, and then pay the remainder through a 15-year mortgage.
His strategy to cover the cost the cost of his mortgage including investing and carefully watching his expenses.
“If I purchase an apartment using a mortgage, I will try to pay it off as quickly as possible, rather than for the entire 15-year duration," he said.
Viet also has some advice for future homebuyers.
“Buyers should pay a minimum of 40 percent upfront, but 50 or 60 percent is better. That will allow them to have a more affordable monthly mortgage later on," he explained.
“It will also allow them to put some money aside for emergencies," he added.
Home ownership still beyond reach after 15 years of living and working in Ho Chi Minh City
Nguyen Thi Nghiep and her husband moved to Ho Chi Minh City in 2007. Though they have saved for years, the couple are still unable to afford a home.
Nghiep currently works at a factory while her husband works as a motorcycle taxi driver. They save every penny they earn, but home ownership still remains a dream.
At one point, the couple had enough money to purchase as house with help from a VND200 million ($8,680) loan, but Nghiep’s mother, who lives in the central province of Quang Ngai, was diagnosed with a serious illness and Nghiep had to take time off from work to take care of her and the couple's savings were depleted.
The couple had a second chance to purchase an apartment in Binh Tan District in 2019, but COVID-19 forced both Nghiep and her husband out of work, and they became unable to afford the downpayment.
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