Living in Ho Chi Minh City in times when apartment prices are quickly increasing, many property buyers believe that living in a good quality apartment is comparatively more expensive compared to a townhouse in similar locations. At face value the above seems true, as a premium segment 2-bedroom apartment along the peripheries of HCMC’s central business district will cost you about USD 220,000 for an older property completed before 2013. For the same price quantum, you can also buy a landed townhouse in a back alley off the main roads.

Even though you pay less monthly upkeep fees for a standalone townhouse, this does not necessarily mean living in one is actually less expensive. There are more individual maintenance responsibilities to upkeep the property that you might not have thought of. Any money you save on monthly management fees living in an apartment is likely spent paying for property maintenance. This article compares the facts and figures to see if the pre-conceived notion that apartment living is more expensive versus townhouse living holds true.

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▸ Comparing the general prices between a premium apartment and townhouse

Let us do a simple comparison between two similarly priced residential properties for sale in Binh Thanh District Ho Chi Minh City. On one hand we have a 2-bedroom apartment unit at The Manor, a premium segment apartment building that have direct access to Nguyen Huu Canh Street and the other a townhouse in a small alley of the same street that costs about the same. 

2-br Premium Apartment 2-storey Townhouse
Price USD 180,260 UND 203,860
Built-in area 98 sqm 96 sqm (land size 48 sqm)
Price psm USD 1,840 VND 2,125

Here was what we found. Price per square meter of townhouse was higher than the apartment. With other factors such as neighbourhood, construction completion, quality of finishing and size remaining the same. This was to be expected for a landed property versus an apartment. 

▸ Comparing the maintenance costs between a premium apartment and townhouse

Another factor of importance is the cost of maintenance; this takes up a large portion of the overall cost of owning a property. As seen in the table below, there are certain maintenance responsibilities that apartment owners do not need to manage as common areas are maintained by the building manager. On the other hand, townhouse owners have to assume complete responsibility and associated financial costs to keep their property in tenable condition. You can safely assume that the older the property, the extent of maintenance work and cost will accumulate. After 10 years of use the following items will need to be maintained. 

Items 2-br Premium Apartment 2-storey Townhouse
Roof Not required Required
Landscaping Not required Required
Pest control Not required Required
External walls leakages Not required Required
Building foundations Not required Required

▸ Comparing facilities/amenities between a premium apartment and townhouse

Last but not least, there are also a lot of facilities and amenities that comes at minimal costs with living in apartments. This is possible due to the economies of scale achieved with all resident contributing a monthly management fee. These conveniences often translate into cost savings for residents staying in premium apartments as opposed to townhouses. You will not need to pay for separate memberships for facilities that are standard offerings for premium apartments.

Amenities (monthly cost)
24/7 Security USD 0 USD 600
Gym/pool membership USD 0 USD 25
Carparking USD 65 USD 43
Management fees USD 81.5 USD 0
Total: USD 146.5 USD 668

▸ Concluding this article

After breaking down the facts and figures so that we can make apple to apple comparisons according to the above three categories, there is clearly more financial savings in living in a premium apartment as opposed to a townhouse. While purchase prices of both properties may be similar, homeowners save more money on lifestyle amenities and facilities in the long run. Honestly speaking, the quality and facilities of newer apartment complexes these days are widening the value gap with townhouses.

This article does not take into account landed housing that are within real estate projects. These houses are usually more expensive versus premium apartments as they exist as part of a bigger township masterplan. Moreover, these types of landed real estate also get to enjoy the facilities and amenities associated with premium apartment complexes.    

In other more developed cities around Asia, apartments are the preferred choice of housing. Likewise, the younger generation of homebuyers in Ho Chi Minh City are taking to the conveniences and comforts of apartment living in mass.

Disclaimer:

The housing market in Ho Chi Minh City is very diverse, and there are many possibilities. This article provides a general comparison based on our point of view. We recognise that there may be many different opinions among homebuyers and each requirement is unique. As such, our agency takes great care to cater to the individual need of each of our customers. We pride ourselves for being able to provide the best solution for your housing need.