Vietnam will allow foreigners to buy houses for the first time with one simple requirement, they must enter Vietnam legally.
They will be able to own the property for a maximum of 50 years and enjoy the same rights to lease, transfer or sell the property as Vietnamese citizens.
The new law will extend the rules that currently apply to apartments, according to the amended Housing Law which will take effect on July 1, 2015.
The law passed with 77.46 percent approval in the National Assembly during a Tuesday session.
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.
According to the amended 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.
They 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 provide further details about the extension process in the future.
They may lease their property 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.
According to Phan Trung Ly, chairman of the National Assembly’s Law Committee, the legislature passed over proposals to tighten home ownership restrictions for foreigners.
A majority of voting lawmakers said the open policy will attract more foreign investment without jeopardizing national security.
A total of 372 deputies voted for the articles related to foreign home ownership in Vietnam, while 28 other voted against it.
Four others abstained from voting.