News roundup: Vietnamese in Laos have high hopes for property prospects at home, and other headlines


For PropertyGuru’s real estate news roundup, Vietnamese living in Laos rejoice over the amended Land Law that allows overseas Vietnamese to own properties in Vietnam. In other headlines, Cebu’s office space vacancy rate is forecasted to persist at elevated levels this year, while some regions in Australia are defying the trend of falling rental vacancy rates and are seeing improvements in the availability of rentals.

Vietnamese in Laos have high hopes for real estate market prospects at home

Many Vietnamese in Laos have shared the belief that the amended Land Law, passed by the National Assembly earlier this year, will significantly contribute to national socio-economic development.

They referred to the law’s stipulations allowing overseas Vietnamese (OVs) to own properties in Vietnam without any quantity limit, just like their fellow citizens inside the country. It will encourage OVs to do real estate business at home and attract a massive influx of investments from abroad, they said in a report in VietnamPlus.

Moc Savanh Hongkham, Chairman of Phu Gia Steel Industry Co., Ltd., who has lived and worked in Laos for more than 20 years, expressed his joy at the new regulation as he always wished to own real estate in the homeland. The legal change has satisfied the aspirations of Vietnamese not only in Laos but also in other foreign countries, he said, adding that Vietnamese expats now can obtain real estate ownership and directly engage in trading.

Cebu office space vacancy seen to stay high — Colliers Philippines

Cebu’s office space vacancy rate is forecasted to persist at elevated levels this year, property consultancy firm Colliers Philippines said.

“Despite a strong net take-up, vacancies remain elevated due to new supply which is expected to persist in 2024,” Colliers said in its 2024 annual report.

The property consultancy firm projects vacancy to reach 21.3 percent from 20 percent in 2023 due to the expected delivery of 107,900 square meters (sq.m.) of new office space.

This is an improvement from the 27 percent vacancy rate in 2022.

“Colliers Philippines observed that outside of Metro Manila, Cebu remained the top choice for outsourcing firms and multinational companies,” Colliers said.

However, these are all lower than the net absorption of 109,200 sq.m. in 2022.

“We expect greater absorption of office space from third-party outsourcing and shared services firms looking to set up and expand their operations,” the report said in BusinessWorld.

In 2023, Cebu accounted for 54 percent of 112,900 sq.m. of deals outside Metro Manila, the highest office deals outside the Philippine capital. This was buoyed by the business process outsourcing firms, covering nearly 75 percent of total deals.

Where Australian renters have more choice amid tough market conditions

Rental availability has fallen to a record low making it extremely difficult for renters. However, some regions are defying the trend and seeing improvements in the availability of rentals.

According to PropTrack, national rental vacancy rates fell by 0.12 percentage points (ppt) to 1.07 percent in February – the scarcest proportion of properties available for rent historically.

Capital cities saw a larger decline in rental availability over the month with a 0.14 ppt decrease in vacancy rates compared to the 0.07 ppt drop in regional areas.

While the tightening of supply is causing increased competition for those looking to rent, some areas have seen an increase in choice for renters.

To get a better sense of where these areas are, we looked into the Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3) regions with the largest increase in available rentals over the past quarter. Defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, SA3s generally have a population of between 30,000 and 130,000 people and often closely align to large urban Local Government Areas, for example, Geelong.

The West Coast region in regional Tasmania led the rankings with their rental vacancy rate up 1ppt since November 2023.

The Melbourne regions Macedon Ranges and Mornington Peninsula followed closely. They experienced increases of 0.95ppt and 0.72ppt in vacancies respectively.

More properties were also available in Katherine in regional NT and Tumut-Tumbaraumba in regional NSW. Vacancies in these areas rose by 0.93 ppt and 0.72 ppt to 2.42 percent and 2.87 percent respectively in the past 3 months.

The Property Report editors wrote this article. For more information, email: [email protected].