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Real-estate firms rush to set up transaction centres   2008-12-22 - VNS

A real estate trading floor in HCM City.

 The race is on among real estate companies to open transaction centre under a new regulation taking effect on January 1 that requires all property transactions be carried out through licensed real estate transaction centres.

Circular No 13/2008/TT-BXD, issued by the Ministry of Construction in May this year, requires all real estate transactions starting in 2009 to be carried through licensed real estate transaction centres.

Real estate firms can seek to establish their own transaction centres or list properties through centres established by other companies.

The rationale for the rule was to discourage speculation, said Hoang Van Cuong, head of the real estate faculty at Ha Noi National Economics University. However, some larger deals may attempt to bypass the requirement as the largest sanction set forth in a new circular being drafted by the ministry, according to Cuong, is only VND500 million (US$29,000), not an enormous sum for a major real estate transaction.

Although effective in just a couple of weeks, the circular’s provisions on the standards for a real estate transaction centre were also unclear, said Thai Ngoc Quang Vinh, deputy director of HDReal, which is itself seeking a licence to open a centre.

Standards reached

But Tran Minh Hoang, chairman of Vinaland Invest Co, said centres already licensed had reached the standards set forth previously in Decree 153/2007/ND-CP, which requires centres to have an office space of at least 50sq.m to serve brokerage activities and 20sq.m to serve other activities. The centre must employ at least two brokers, one manager and two appraisers.

The largest real estate transaction centre in the northern region, Nam Cuong Group’s centre, has already opened its doors on Khuat Duy Tien Street in Ha Noi’s Thanh Xuan District.

Real estate developers like Vincom, Dat Lanh Real Estate Co and Van Phat Hung Co are also all trying to fulfill the requirements to open their own centres.

In HCM City, meanwhile, Sacomreal-S owned by the Sai Gon Thuong Tin Real Estate Joint Stock Co, ACB Real Estate Co’s ACBR centre, and the Hoang Quan Joint Stock Co centre have all been operating since mid-2008.

While the ACBR has concentrated on mediating deals, Sacomreal-S has taken a more proactive approach by buying properties and then selling them to others. Hoang Quan centre, meanwhile, has specialised in deals relating to industrial zones.

Despite the current slowdown in the real estate market, these centres all have plans to exand their operation, and both the ACBR and Sacomreal-S are planning to open branches in Ha Noi.

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