Buying a House in Vietnam
When a new law was passed on 1 July 2015 suggesting it was now easier for foreigners and Viet Kieu to buy a house in Vietnam there was a flurry of excitement on many expat Facebook pages.
However, as the dust settled it became evident that the law was quite ‘grey’. Were things actually easier or were they basically just the same as before?
The answer: it is still quite grey.
In an article in Thanh Nien News,15 September, 2015, Nguyen Tri Hieu, a returned Viet Kieu who set up the first Vietnamese-owned bank in the US and is now a senior advisor to Vietnam Thuong Tin Commercial Bank (VietBank), stated: ‘Whilst the law was considered a great move by Vietnamese authorities, foreigners and Viet Kieu are still facing multiple difficulties in buying a house in Vietnam.’
In the same article Thanh Nien News’ Editor in Chief, Nguyen Quang Thong, summed it up: ‘A lack of subsequent legal documents clarifying relevant procedures means the law is yet to be implemented practically.’
What it means and the ‘real’ changes:
Thanks to Alex Hartley at Nha Toi Real Estate www.hoianhouse.com we can list the real changes in the law and also clarify what is possible:
– Foreigners can now buy apartments with just a valid 3 month visa and a valid passport
– Foreigners can now buy a flat, house or villa if it is part of a real estate project such as The Dunes Villa and
– For private houses, the law remains unchanged and a foreigner can’t buy a plot of land or a house in Hoi An
that is not part of a development).
– Foreign individuals and entities will only be allowed to buy, receive, or inherit apartments and houses in
commercial projects and not in areas that limit or ban foreigners
We see what we want to see:
Many who saw the new law immediately zeroed in on one section: ‘Foreign individuals and entities are able to buy a maximum of 30 percent of apartments in a block and 250 houses in a given ward’. It seemed that buying any house (within a given ward) was suddenly straight forward and possible. Many overlooked the stipulation that all properties available for purchase had to be part of a commercial project.
Foreign individuals and entities will only be allowed to buy, receive, or inherit apartments and houses in commercial projects and not in areas that limit or ban foreigners
How to get around this problem
If you are married to a Vietnamese then it is easy to get around this problem. However for others it is unfortunately a lot harder and the only possibility is to find a Vietnamese whom you trust and purchase the property in their name.
Don’t forget …
While foreigners (without Vietnamese partners) may not be able to buy any house that takes their fancy, it is still possible to buy property! Plus, with Hoi An development going at the speed of light, there are sure to be new developments closer to the city than those presently out in whoop whoop!
The New Law and its glorious lack of clarity!
– Foreign entities who have invested in housing projects in Vietnam, foreign-invested enterprises; branch and representative offices of foreign companies in Vietnam, foreign investment funds; and foreign bank branches will all be entitled to purchase real estate under the law.
– Foreign individuals and entities will only be allowed to buy, receive, or inherit apartments and houses in commercial projects and not in areas that limit or ban foreigners.
– Foreign individuals and entities are able to buy a maximum of 30 percent of apartments in a block and 250 houses in a given ward.
– Individual foreigners may extend their home ownership after 50 years, according to their need. The government provides further details about the extension process in the future.
– Foreign property can be put out to lease for any ‘purposes that is not banned by law’ but must also inform the provincial house management agency before leasing the property.
– Foreign property owners will also be subject to the nation’s property taxes.
– Foreign entities can already buy property to house their employees, but they are not able to lease or use it toward any other purpose.
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