The real estate sector's inventory was 94.458 trillion VND (4.48 billion USD) by December 15, 2013, registering a decrease of 26.5 percent over the first quarter of last year, according to Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung.

The property market has shown improvement, especially during the last few months of 2013, the Minister said at a conference on January 7 to review the construction sector's performance in 2013 and create plans for 2014.

According to Minister Dung, the property market, which had been frozen for years, was warming up, as indicated by the soaring number of transactions.

The ministry's statistics showed that successful transactions of smaller apartments in the second half of 2013 doubled when compared to the first half of the year.

In Hanoi, an estimated 6,450 transactions of real estate projects took place, about half of which were conducted during the fourth quarter of last year.

Transactions in Ho Chi Minh City numbered 9,360, with nearly 70 percent of them seen in the second half of the year.

Dung also said that higher than average credit growth for the real estate market helped speed up the construction of unfinished projects, which stagnated due to a lack of capital. Consumer confidence also recovered with these improvements.

Regarding the real estate inventory, the ministry said that more than 20,000 apartment units remained unsold in Hanoi and HCM City, for a loss of 24 trillion VND (1.14 billion USD). The land inventory was estimated to be worth 34.89 trillion VND (1.67 billion USD).

Dung said that during 2013, the real estate market was improved to meet the market demand with an increasing supply of social housing projects and smaller apartments with more affordable prices.

Fifty-seven projects nationwide registered for conversion into commercial units or for social purposes, with a total of 34,800 apartment units, and 62 others adjusted their structures.

Housing prices saw a decline after reaching a peak during 2008-10.

The ministry said that most projects decreased by 10 percent to 30 percent and some by up to 50 percent.

The average housing space per capita also increased 0.6 square metres to 19.6 square metres.

The ministry's statistics also showed that 10,635 real estate companies were established last year, while about 10,077 companies dissolved or halted operations in the same period.-VNA