The fourth quarter of this year will witness an increase in leasing activity across most sectors as well as increased investor enquiries from abroad, according to a Cushman&Wakefield Vietnam report released last week.

Chris Brown, general director of Cushman&Wakefield Vietnam, said that as long as inflation is kept in check, next year would be much busier for the real estate market as confidence would return to the marketplace.

There are encouraging signs that suggest that the bottom of the market cycle has arrived.

In the office sector, Ho Chi Minh City has a lack of large floor plates which reduces choice for large occupiers when finding suitable space.

The average asking rent of Grade A building has fallen by nearly 5 percent quarter-on-quarter, and 7 percent in comparison with the same period of 2012.

Grade B rents also continued a downward trend, decreasing by around 1 percent quarter-on-quarter and by about 8 percent year-on-year.

However, vacancy levels are very low and rental levels are expected to start to move upward in the coming quarters, he said.

Jonathan Tizzard, national head of the Research Valuation, said the HCM City market has bottomed out and improvements have already started to show a busy final quarter in terms of leasing activity, paving the way for a recovery in the office market in 2014.

Tenants have been urged to secure competitive lease terms before the market turns.

At the same time, the Hanoi office market in the third quarter witnessed no new supply entering the market.

In comparison with the second quarter, asking rents for both Grade A and Grade B this quarter went down by 0.5 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

It is anticipated that average asking rent for all grades is likely to follow a downward trend in the coming time due to high vacancy rates in existing office buildings.

In the retail area, roughly 90 percent of Hanoi shopping centres were occupied this quarter, 1 percent down compared to the second quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, the retail occupancy rate decreased by 3 percent quarter-on-quarter.

In the same manner, occupancy rates of shopping centres in HCM City decreased by 1 percent quarter-on-quarter, reaching 85 percent.

Crucially, rents remain unsustainably high in many fringe locations and a correction is needed in order to attract tenants and increase absorption rates.

However, the Central Business District retail markets in HCM City and Hanoi continue to perform well with the highest occupancy rate at 91 percent.-VNA