Draft law would allow foreigners to buy houses in Vietnam

By Bao Cam, Thanh Nien News

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Houses in Ho Chi Minh City's Phu My Hung Urban Area. Photo: Diep Duc Minh Houses in Ho Chi Minh City's Phu My Hung Urban Area. Photo: Diep Duc Minh
A draft law now being reviewed by the National Assembly would allow foreigners and overseas Vietnamese to buy an unlimited number of houses in Vietnam.
Existing laws only allow foreigners to purchase a single apartment after they've lived in the country for at least six months and fulfilled certain conditions like having a Vietnamese spouse or investing in the country.
Foreigners, excluding diplomats and those who work for non-governmental organizations, will be allowed to buy and own houses and apartments once they obtain a work permit, according to the draft law now before legislators.
Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung said some have objected to the proposal.
“[The law's detractors] would like to add a three month residence requirement to avoid abuse of the policy that could lead to unhealthy impacts to the domestic property market and compromise national security,” he said.
During the parliamentary session, chairman of law committee Phan Trung Ly said relevant agencies should study the potential impact on potential homeowners.
“Especially considering there are a lot of locals who want to buy a house but face difficulties doing so,” he added.
Meanwhile, the government has also introduced draft amendments to the Real Estate Trading Law, which proposed extending trading rights to foreigners and overseas Vietnamese to attract foreign investment.
According to the Construction Minister Dung, despite a preponderance of support for the proposal, objections remain.
The NA's Economic Committee, which assessed the proposals, argue that it violates the Land Law lawmakers passed last year.
“The Land Law stipulates that foreign individuals and entities are not eligible to receive land titles and overseas Vietnamese can only obtain land titles in economic, export processing, hi-tech and economic zones,” said the committee chairman Nguyen Van Giau.
Giau said the 2013 Land Law stipulates that only foreign-invested companies in Vietnam can obtain residential land for worker housing while the draft law proposed that all foreign individuals and entities be made eligible for such purchases.
“Thus, the economic committee proposed to review this regulation to comply with the Land Law,” he said.
Other proposals in the draft amendment to the Real Estate Trading Law allows investors to lease incomplete property (e.g. unfinished apartments). It also proposed to annul a regulation that requires all real estate deals to be carried out through property exchanges which function as government-sanctioned brokerages.

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