In a country where reportedly a quarter of the population lives in poverty and 70 percent live without electricity, a bubble sounds like an odd way to describe what is happening in a part of Myanmar. If the ultimate trophies for international investors are the nation’s rich resources, such as natural gas, tungsten and gems, let’s just call it a gold rush.
On the surface, the only signs of glitter in the country’s largest city, Yangon, are the roofs of the famed pagodas. After decades of isolation and neglect, grand facades of the city’s colonial past are fading. Despite the decay, property developers talk of restoring old buildings into designer boutiques. One of a limited, dated selection of hotel rooms for businessmen charges $240 a night in June, not including the 4 percent handling fee if you want to pay via plastic. A rising middle class is willing to pay six times more for a used Toyota Alphard today than they would have a year ago, when the waiting list was shorter. Some million-dollar homes are selling.
“I think undoubtedly there is what you might describe as a bubble, right in the middle of Yangon. You’re sitting in the heart of downtown, and we’re surrounded by properties which have gone up dramatically in value,” said Andrew Rickards, CEO of YOMA Strategic Holdings, a property developer.Page 1 of 5 | Next Page