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Vietnam Approves Law Allowing Foreigners to Buy Property

In an attempt to boost the country's stagnant real estate market, Vietnamese lawmakers yesterday approved a law allowing foreigners to buy land.

Whereas current laws only allow property ownership to foreigners married to a Vietnamese citizen and those “deemed to make significant contributions to the nation’s development,” the new law permits ownership for individuals that hold a valid visa and companies operating in the country.

“It is a very helpful move, a good change of policy to open up the real estate sector not only for overseas Vietnamese, but also for foreigners. It projects an image of an opening of the economy to foreign capital, and it might help the bad debt problem,” Alan Pham, chief economist at VinaCapital told Thanh Nien.

“Expanding the criteria for people to buy and own houses in Vietnam aims to create favorable conditions to draw foreign investment,” said Uong Chu Luu, the National Assembly’s vice chairman.

The new rules are not without a few caveats - foreign ownership cannot exceed 30% of any apartment building or 250 houses in a ward.

It will be interesting to see how many foreigners take the bait since Vietnam’s constitution stipulates that all land belongs to the state, in addition to the fact that “land-lease certificates good for a maximum of 50 years are granted in real-estate purchases,” according to Thanh Nien.

[Thanh Nien // Photo via luma photography]

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