"Although affordable apartments are the segment with huge demand, there has not been enough supply for several quarters," Duong Thuy Dung, senior director of property consultancy CBRE Vietnam, said.
Profit margins in it are not as high as in the high-end segments, and so developers are hardly interested, she added.
This shortage of new projects is expected to continue in the near future given that construction material and land prices and infrastructure costs are steadily rising, according to CBRE Vietnam’s third quarter report released this week. It expects affordable housing prices to rise 3 percent per year.
Real estate firm DKRA estimated the average price in this segment at the end of the third quarter to be VND24 million ($1,030) per square meter, up 12 percent from five years ago.
The housing market is moving to the city’s suburbs, where land is available and infrastructure is nearing completion.
Urban development will shift away from the city centre and toward the east and west as facilities, utilities and connectivity here improve.
HCMC, Vietnam's biggest city and main economic hub, is home to around 13 million people including four million migrants.
"Each year the city's population increases by 200,000, and on average it would be one more million every five years, putting huge pressure on urban management, social and technical infrastructure and, especially, housing," HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said.