Two years after Vietnam’s tallest building redefined the Ho Chi Minh City skyline, the 68-story Bitexco Financial Tower remains half-empty after interest rates as high as 23% late last year put retail and office plans on hold. Even so, the Vietnamese company that owns it remains bullish on the economy and continues to invest in other real estate projects, infrastructure, energy and mining.
Future-oriented business leaders say Vietnam’s downturn is temporary, making early 2012 a good time to invest — as 16 of 20 prime development spots in HCM City remain vacant, rent for top grade office space is down 50%, developers have been selling less than one-third of what they build, and banks are picking up assets.
A common saying in Vietnam: “It is time to pick up dead bodies on the market.”
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