Foreign residents start to eye property

Mark Cameron of the UK, who lives and works in Vietnam, believes that he will be able own residential property thanks to the revised Law on Housing, which has removed...

Mark Cameron of the UK, who lives and works in Vietnam, believes that he will be able own residential property thanks to the revised Law on Housing, which has removed prior restrictions on foreigners from buying property in the country. 

The law will take effect in June. 

“For foreigners like me, to own residential property in Vietnam was extremely difficult, since we were required to meet strict requirements,” Mark said. 

“For instance, the law required that we either must have a permanent resident card for at least one year, or make contributions to Vietnam and be awarded with a decoration or medal from the country’s President, or make a special contribution to the country as recognised in a decision of the Prime Minister,” he said. 

“Also, it required that we must work in the economic sector with a university degree or higher qualification, or be someone with special knowledge or skills for which Vietnam has a demand. Or you must marry a Vietnamese citizen,” he added. 

“Even if we met the requirements, we still had to complete many complicated administrative procedures before being allowed to buy a house. Because of this, in spite of making several efforts, I could not buy a house,” Cameron said. 

“However, the revised Housing Law will enable me to realise my dream of owning a house here,” he said. 

The new law states that all foreigners who have been granted a visa to Vietnam are allowed to buy property in the country. 

All foreigners will also be allowed to buy any kind of property, whether apartment or house, but with the provision that such property is under commercial housing development programmes. 

More importantly, there will be no limit on the number of houses that a foreign can buy, but the total number of units owned by foreigners must not exceed 30 percent of the total units in one building, or not exceed 250 houses in one particular administrative area. 

Analysts say the new law would help the property sector, an area that has been underperforming since 2008, when selling prices plunged by 50 to 70 percent. 

Nguyen Tran Nam, former Minister of Construction, said that allowing individual foreigners to buy houses in the country would give the real estate market a much-needed boost. 

The chairman of HCM City Real Estate Association (HREA), Le Hoang Chau, said the new housing law that allowed foreigners to buy residential property in the country would create an impetus for the domestic real estate market not only to grow but also to integrate into the world market. 

Chau said the policy would increase national total assets, providing more conditions for other sectors to develop and therefore create more employment for local workers. 

The new housing law is expected to “stir up” the domestic real estate market since many foreigners living in Vietnam want to own a house here. 

According to HREA’s statistics, which are not yet complete, the city now has more than 80,000 Koreans, 7,600 Japanese, 1,200 Germans, 6,000 Filipinos and many (an undetermined number) Chinese, most of them residing permanently here. 

Hoang Anh Tuan, general director of the Tac Dat Tac Vang Real Estate Company, said that Binh Duong Province also had dozens of thousands of foreign experts working in local industrial parks, health care and education establishments. 

“To fully exploit this opportunity, many real estate investors have already outlined new business plans that have been designated in ways that can attract many foreigners to buy houses,” Chau of HREA said. 

Analysts said that many real estate developers have prepared high-end properties for overseas customers. 

In Hanoi and HCM City, many real estate developers have allowed foreigners and overseas Vietnamese to register to buy houses at their projects. Some of them have also advertised their housing projects abroad. 

The Global Petroleum Investment Corporation, for example, announced that it would set aside part of its Trang An luxury apartment project to sell to foreign customers. 

Company director Nguyen Quoc Hiep said foreigners and overseas Vietnamese represented potential customers who could encourage the recovery of the real estate market. 

Tuan of Tac Dat Tac Vang also said his company had worked with Becamex to invest in an urban area that specialises in building homes for foreigners. 

Vu Cuong Quyet, general director of the Dat Xanh Mien Bac Real Estate Company, said that many foreigners have already registered to buy apartments prior to the Housing Law taking effect, and are only waiting to complete necessary procedures.-VNA


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