Name : Aung Tun
Position : Managing Director of Soe San (Lynn) Co., Ltd
My name is Aung Tun, Managing Director of Soe San Real Estate and Construction Company. I am also working as a chairman of Yangon Region Real Estate Entrepreneurs Association and deputy chairman of Myanmar Real Estate Development Association. I worked as a part-time tutor at Hlaing Campus, Yangon University in 1992. I was graduated M.Sc. (Maths). I have worked in Korea and Japan for over 10 years. I am currently operating hotel and gold mining businesses.
Please explain to our readers about Soe San (Lynn) Company.
I established Soe San Real Estate Company in Hlaing Township, Yangon on September 9, 2001. I opened further branches of Real Estate Company in Lanmadaw and Bahan Townships in 2006 and 2011. There are altogether 60 employees in my company; fve in administration, fve in legal and ffty marketing staff.
What made you start Soe San in the frst place?
I started Soe San because I like running service business. When I came back to Myanmar in 2000, I went searching for property to buy with the real estate agents. At that time, I found out the weaknesses, limited level of social and technical skills and absence of responsibility and accountability of the real estate agents. Therefore, I got an idea to establish the Soe San Real Estate Company with the objective of providing the best and unique real estate services to the customers.
What are the major services provided by your company?
The major services provided by our company are real estate agency services, documentation services, construction and interior decoration, legal consultancy on real estate and on buying and selling of properties, market conditions and prices.
What is your competitive strategy?
The main thing is providing the unique services to the customers. There are nine teams in our company and each team leader is very qualified with high technical skill, leadership skill,responsibility, accountability and high experience. The most important fact is that each team is trying to fulfll the needs and wants of all the customers in the best way.
What is your view on current real estate market?
Real estate market was booming continuously starting from 2001 to 2015. The prices of properties were high and rental and construction businesses were also booming. Property market was stagnant in transactions for two years from the beginning of year 2016 to the end of year 2017. At the beginning of year 2017, real estate business came back to improve. During the late 2016, due to the high property taxes, stagnant of construction projects, changes in business policies because of government changes, decreases in cash flow operating in real estate market, less cash in hand of investors and more properties, real estate market was significantly decreasing in 2016 and 2017.
What are your diffculties and challenges that you faced in running your business?
From 2001 to 2009, there were few real estate agents who worked as professionals and few are competitors for our business. Starting from 2010 to now, the difficulties I faced are increasing competition for our business, slow transactions, fake documentation using high technology and fraudulent activities by some customers. Retail (commercial), office, residential or industrial, which one has the best potential now? Why? I think that residential and industrial buildings are the best potential at the current time because of the following reasons: The frst reason is that with the urban development, many residential buildings are required as many people from the rural areas move to the urban areas for career development, employment opportunities and lifestyles development. The second one is that industrial buildings will be very improving in near future because government is supporting small and medium enterprises in order to create many employment opportunities for the economic development of the country. The next one is our country is a developing country, and industrial development should be emphasized to contribute to the economic development of the country.
Is it the right time to buy? Why?
In my opinion, it is the right time to buy because of the following factors: The frst one is the current property price drops signifcantly even in Yangon and Mandalay compared to the highest price in 2015. It is not easy to get lower than the current price. It is very suitable time to buy because many people, who own a lot of properties, want cash, worried about property control tax and those who borrowed cash from the bank are selling their properties at less than market prices. The second reason is that foreign investment is coming with requests to lower high bank interest rates and to drop property tax. Cash flow will come in again into the real estate market.
Why are there no standardized commission rates for property agents in Myanmar, unlike other countries?
There are no real estate laws in Myanmar. However, Myanmar Real Estate Development Association, Yangon Region Real Estate Entrepreneurs Association, Myanmar Real Estate Service Association, Respective Ministries and Special Cases Assessment Commission cooperate and sent the suggestion for the new Myanmar Real Estate Law to the Pyithu Hluttaw. When this law is approved, like other countries, opportunities, chances, responsibility, accountability, technical skills, qualifcations, rules and regulations for real estate agents in Myanmar will be implemented.
Everyone is a real estate agent in Myanmar trying to make a quick proft. How would you ensure we have better qualified and more professional agents and agencies?
I am not agree with the statement that everyone is a real estate agent in Myanmar trying to make a quick profit because agents will receive \ agency fees after they performed successfully property transactions and rental services. Most businesses that are oriented to make only proft will not survive in the future. Businesses have to be operated with volition to be successful. Real estate agents will not get agency fees if they did not complete their services successfully. Better qualifed and more professional agents must have technical skills, be faithful, honest, have volition and must know the updated information and laws.
Lack of credible data on property transactions – how do we ensure what we pay is fair?
Real estate agents in Myanmar are more responsible than in other countries due to lack of credible data and laws on property transactions. Agency fees 2% is fair because agents have to check at the respective offces whether property ownership and documents are right or not, respective governmental departments prohibit or not, legal transfer is permitted or not and other activities have to be performed according to the standing laws. Our critical thinking and experiences are essential.
If you can make one change in government policy, what would it be?
I want to give suggestions to reduce property taxes, bank interest rates and to approve the credible real estate service law.