Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources

Land demand in Vientiane decreases

Vientiane Times, 27 Sep 2014

Land buying and selling in Vientiane this year is less popular than before as the economy is slowing down and land prices are high. At this time of year many would-be sellers are talking to friends and others they meet telling them they have some land for sale but they usually get no buyer interest.

A parcel of land advertised for sale in Vientiane. A few years ago all you had to do was mention that you had some land for sale and potential buyers would line up immediately. You might also see bargain hunters travelling to villages to ask the local residents if they had land they wanted to sell.

A resident of Sokham village in Xaysetha district of Vientiane, Mrs Som, toldVientiane Times on Friday that she had been advertising and had sold some of her land around Vientiane over a period of time but she still had more to sell and was not now getting buyers coming forward. “The sellers had to make very little effort previously and could sell as much as they wanted but now they get tired of talking to people about their land with no result,” she said. She has three parcels of land that she hopes to sell, two for about 250,000 kip per cubic metre and the other for 800,000 per cubic metre. Even though a few people came to see the land she wanted to sell they all disappeared without giving any answer. Land traders today are demanding top prices for each plot while the buyers are looking for bargains. The result is that no deals are being done.

A few years ago interest ran hot for plots of land along the new road being cut through the That Luang marsh in Vientiane. Now, interest in land is centred on Xaythany district where the ministries will be relocated outside Vientiane in the future. The area surrounding Dong Mak Khai in Xaythany district is the hottest spot for many people looking to buy some land and hold it until they get a good profit in the future.

Another reason that much of the land around Vientiane is not selling well is because potential buyers are afraid the land will be reserved by the Vientiane authority for development in the future. Lots of people are waiting, hoping to buy cheaper land from a seller who needs money urgently for various reasons such as family members being sick or injured, or a husband and wife separating. In this situation the price is often much lower than normal as the seller needs to get the money quickly.

An official from the Vientiane Natural Resources and Environment Department, who did not want to be named, said that interest in buying and selling plots of land in Vientiane has become quieter due to the difficult state of the economy. Economic growth for fiscal year 2013/14 is expected to reach 7.5 percent but the figure is not yet certain and will take a few months to tabulate. In the last fiscal year it went over eight percent. The drop may be caused by people in Vientiane not being interested in buying parcels of land.

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