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Alastair Hughes: Southeast Asia -- a hidden gem for property investment?

Trung Hoa-Nhan Chinh, a new urban area in Hanoi: Vietnam's property market is on firmer footing these days.

Conversations among real estate investors in recent weeks have mostly focused on Japan's low interest rates, the potential opportunities to be had from China's economic slowdown, and the safe-haven nature of the property markets in Australia. Few talk about opportunities in Southeast Asia -- but this could soon change.

     With the ASEAN Economic Community due to be formalized by the end of the year, the region is going to be increasingly on investors' radar. The investment community has been rather skeptical that freer movement of goods and people within this new trading bloc will do much for foreign investors, but there may well be good medium-term real estate opportunities.

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