Buyers avoid early 1990s blocks
September 20 - 26, 2010
DESPITE the ongoing boom in some areas of the property market, buyers continue to shun “danger buildings” – apartment blocks built around 1990 that have been, or may be listed as unsafe.
Heightened safety awareness has depressed customer interest in these blocks after a surge in the number of structures listed as dangerous, real estate sources say.
“Blocks built around 1990 are weak in terms of concrete quality and water leakage. They are structurally unsafe because low-quality materials were used to build them. Eighty percent of the buildings of that era should be rebuilt,” said U Lazarus, managing director of Yadanar Shwe Htun Construction.
U Ko Ko Lay, director of Three Friends Construction, said falling demand for old blocks came at a time when more and more buildings are being declared dangerous.
“Last year at this time there were only 140 officially dangerous buildings in Yangon – now there are more than 250. Construction material weaknesses and poor structures have led to a 60pc fall in demand compared to last year,” he said.
High-rise blocks built in the early 1990s are only about half as safe as those built more recently, he added.
The Myanmar Times reported in late August that Yangon City Development Committee had identified up to 250 danger buildings in Yangon. Newsweek journal reported on September 9 that YCDC had declared another 15 buildings to be dangerous, bringing the total across the city to 265.
Industry sources said demand for the 20-year-old blocks had fallen since last year, especially in Tarmwe, Sanchaung and Kyeemyindaing townships.
“Demand has dropped by 7pc to 30pc depending on location. The price is also down by 10-30pc in those townships,” said U Yan Aung, manager of Sai Khaung Noung real estate agency.
“Eight customers out of 10 choose newer buildings. People now prioritise structural safety and the age of the building because of the number of dangerous buildings,” he said, adding that his own agency did not deal in those structures.
In March, a 15-year-old girl was killed and 12 others injured when an unsafe building in Pabedan township collapsed.
U Min Min Soe, of Mya Pan Tha Khin agency, said: “Customers are much more alert to the question of structural safety than they used to be because of the danger building alert. Demand [for those buildings] has fallen by as much as 70pc downtown and in Sanchaung, Kyeemyindaing and Tarmwe,” he said.