The real-estate market has shown signs of recovery but difficulties remain, said Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung.

The construction minister also said property prices had been sharply cut after going through a "hot" development period.

Real estate investors had been forced to lower their prices. This often meant trimming back the amount of imported luxury items often used in building.

The minister predicted that sales would increase as prices started matching buyers' incomes.

Spokesmen for several property companies agreed that the market had become even more lax.

Vu Cuong Quyet, director of Green Land Company's branch in Hanoi, said customers had been seeking high quality homes serviced by good playgrounds, roads, schools and hospitals.

Quyet added home buyers were even prepared to pay more for such apartments.

Tran Kien Cuong, general director of Golden Gain Vietnam Joint Stock Company told Vietnam Economy newspaper that customers often decided to buy apartments at the end of the year. Large remittances from relatives overseas often arrived at this time.

International property consultant, Cushman&Walkfield forecasts that the estate market would experience more sales of most types of housing from Vietnamese buyers.

Former deputy minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dang Hung Vo said the property market was now no longer controlled by speculators.

Vo said the quality of homes had improved in the past two years as investors went out of their way to attract buyers.

He added that home buyers wanted accommodation at reasonable prices instead of waiting until prices fell further.-VNA