Parliamentary delegates have agreed with a draft law that would allow foreigners to purchase houses in Vietnam, while implementing stricter regulations to prevent foreign speculators from cornering the property market.
During a discussion on the draft Housing Law this week, delegate Ho Thi Thuy said the draft, which allows foreigners and overseas Vietnamese to buy an unlimited number of houses in Vietnam, is in line with international standards, and will help lure more talents to the country, contributing to improving international economic integration.
However, she expressed concerns about the regulation, as it could create competition between foreigners and local residents in buying houses.
Delegate Le Trong Sang said the regulation created a porous regulatory system that could lead to mass speculation and threaten national security.
Under the draft law, Viet kieu (overseas Vietnamese) would be permitted to buy houses without restrictions as soon as they arrive in Vietnam; they would also be able to transfer, sell, or rent out their properties.
Foreigners (excluding diplomats and those who work for non-governmental organizations) would also be allowed to buy and own houses and apartments once they obtain a work permit.
Sang called for a five month residency requirement before any purchases can be made, and a stipulation that would prevent a single individual from purchasing more than 20 percent of apartments in a single project or 100 houses in a commune that allows foreign home ownership.
Buying a house in Vietnam is currently difficult for foreigners. A law that took effect on January 1, 2009 allows foreigners to purchase apartments, but not houses. Even when foreigners own a house, they are not allowed to lease it out or use it for any other purpose than residence.