Buying Property in Vietnam as a Foreigner 2021

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Can foreigners buy property in Vietnam?

Until a few years ago, the Vietnamese government still restricted foreign ownership by their laws. The cap was limited to one unit in a condominium. Therefore, at that time, there were not many foreigners who could invest in Vietnam real estate market.

Nonetheless, since July 2015, thanks to the Vietnamese Law on Residential Housing (LRH), foreigners can buy property in Vietnam at ease.

In other words, you can buy as many properties as you want, as long as you have enough money. This can be considered as a revolution in the regulations of foreign ownership.

Can Chinese people buy property in Vietnam?

Chinese people as well as other foreigners can buy real estate in Vietnam. However, some of “nine-dash line” Chinese passport holders, they will not be able to buy property in Vietnam because of some reasons for sovereignty and politics.

Can foreigners buy land in Vietnam?

Like in most Southeast Asian countries, expats can not buy and own any land. As regulated in the constitution, the land is of collective proprietorship by all Vietnamese and governed by the state.

As regulated in the national Land Law, foreign organizations and individuals are able to rent land. Commonly, the validity of the lease can be up to 50 years. However, in exceptional cases, it can be up to 70 years and can even increase to 99 years in 2020.

Even if the stipulations are becoming more and more comfortable, and likely to loosen up in the future, it is still necessary for you to be cautious. For example, there is nothing to guarantee that you can always refresh your rent time.

Vietnam’s new law to foreign ownership of property

The most important things you need to know about the new foreign ownership of property law are as follows:

  • If an expat has a tourist visa, he can buy a property.
  • You can buy an unlimited number of real estate in the country. But at the time being, a foreigner can not buy more than 250 houses in one ward.
  • Expats can buy up to 30% of the units in condominiums and can possess a maximum proportion of 10% of the properties in a project.
  • The 50-year leasehold period is now renewable.
  • If you marry a Vietnamese, you can get free ownership.

Vietnam’s Land Use Rights (LUR)

Fortunately, the Land Use Rights (LUR) can increase the safety for foreign investment in Vietnam.

As regulated in the LUR, you have no proprietorship on lands but the right to use the (including the land rented or endowed by the Vietnamese government.

Nevertheless, you will have to assign your Land Use Rights Certificate (LURC) to the Vietnamese government if you want to lease your land.

Can foreigners buy property from Vietnamese people?

Usually, foreigners will purchase real estates from former foreign landlords or dealers on the primary market.

That is because there is a significant limit on the secondary market. Unless the foreign quota is less than 30%, you will not be able to buy property from local citizens.

Vietnam real estate foreign ownership

It’s necessary for you to get a certificate of proprietorship if you want to purchase an estate from a property developer.

Due to the protection of national defense and security, since 2017, the government has made it harder for foreigners to receive their property ownership certificates.

According to a decree on Vietnam’s housing laws, expats can only possess up to 30% of the apartments in a project and are not allowed to own property in the checklists of special areas reserved for national defense and security.

Only the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Public Security have the authority to determine those lists. To know about the list of housing projects available to foreign buyers, you should go to the department of construction in your area.

Ensure that you can totally possess your prospective property and get the ownership certificate as a foreigner before making any purchase.

The Pink Book

In Vietnam, the certificate of land use rights, ownership of houses, and other assets attached to land is commonly called the pink book. In other words, a pink book expresses your full proprietorship.

It has that name due to the pink color of its cover, and Vietnamese want to call it in that name for convenience.

Issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the pink book is valid to all kinds of land all over the country.

What does the pink book include?

The pink book will have the following uses:

  • Function as collateral for bank loans.
  • Allow you to utilize your house for residential and any other purposes.
  • Enable you to dismantle, maintain, renovate, or rebuild your house (but you must obey the conditions and procedures of laws on construction).
  • Let you lease/sell/mortgage the house or give it to an heir.

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The Principal Beneficiaries and Ownership of real estate in Vietnam

Most of Real estate transactions are currently regulated by many different Laws and Guidelines for different subjects, of which the two most relevant laws including Housing Law No. 65/2012/QH13 regulating housing regulations, and the Real Estate Business Law No. 66/2014/QH13 on real estate business. There two documents are effective from 1st July 2015.

Definition of Housing and Real Estate

When it comes to Real Estate, people often think of houses, but Housing and Real estate are two different concepts.

Housing is a work built for the purpose of living and serving the daily-life needs of households and individuals (Clause 1, Article 3 of the Housing Laws).

Real Estate refers to assets related to land, construction works attached to the land, cannot be moved, or separated from the land. Real estate includes: (a) Land; (b) Houses; (c) Other properties attached to land, houses, construction works; and (d) Other property as prescribed by Law (Article 107 of the Civil Law 2015).

Separable, movable assets are not called immovable property, for example: mobile homes, cars, motorbikes, etc…

Thus, the content of the concept of real estate is broader, in which housing is a type of real estate. Therefore, the principal Beneficiaries of Ownership of real estate and Housing also has many differences.

The Principal Beneficiaries and Ownership of Real Estate

The Beneficiaries entitled to own houses and entities allowed to buy, receive, transfer, rent or lease-purchase real estate of real estate business enterprises specified in the current Vietnam’s Laws are summarized in the table as bellowed:

No.CriteriaReal estate of Real estate business organizationsHousing
1Legal Grounds– Article 107 of the Civil Law 2015   – Article 11 and 14 Real estate business Law 2014Clause 1, Article 3 and Article 7 Housing Law 2014
2Subjects1. Domestic organizations, households, and individuals.   2. Vietnamese people living abroad. 3. Enterprises with foreign investment 4. Foreign individuals.1. Domestic organizations, households, and individuals.   2. Vietnamese people living abroad. 3. Foreign organizations and individuals.
3 Form of Property ownershipOwnership/using right in the form of purchase, transfer, lease, and purchase of propertyOwnership (possession, use, disposition) in the form of purchase, transfer, lease, hire purchase.
3.1Domestic organiztions and individualsBuy, Transfer, Rent, Lease purchase of all kinds of real estateBuy, transfer, lease, hire-purchase, inherit, receive as a gift for ownership
3.2Vietnamese people residing abroad– To rent all kinds of real estate for use;   – To buy, rent, lease-purchase houses in accordance with Housing Law. – To purchase or lease-purchase houses and construction works to be used as offices, production, business and service establishments according to the use functions of such houses or constructions. – Renting a house, construction work for sublease; – For Land leased by the Government, it is allowed to invest in the construction of houses for lease; invest in the construction of houses and construction works that are not houses for sale, lease, or lease-purchase; – Đối với đất thuê của tổ chức, hộ gia đình, cá nhân thì được đầu tư xây dựng nhà, công trình xây dựng để cho thuê theo đúng mục đích sử dụng đất; – Receiving transfer of the whole or part of real estate project of the Developer to build houses, construction works for sale, lease, lease-purchase; – For Land allocated by the Government, it is allowed to invest in the construction of houses for sale, lease, or lease-purchase; – For leased or transferred land in industrial parks, industrial clusters, export processing zones, hi-tech parks and economic zones, they may invest works for business according to the corrected land’s using purposes;Buy, rent, lease-purchase housing
3.3Enterprises with foreign investment    – Renting all kinds of real estate to use;   – To buy, rent, lease-purchase houses in accordance with Housing Law – To buy or lease-purchase houses and construction works for use as offices, production, business and service establishments in accordance with the use functions of such houses or constructions; – Renting houses, Construction works for sublease; – For land leased by the Government, it is allowed to invest in the construction of houses for lease; invest in the construction of houses and construction works that are not houses for sale, lease, or leasr-purchase; – Receiving transfer of the whole or part of real estate project of the Developer to build houses, construction works for sale, lease, or lease-purchase; – For land allocated by the Government, it is allowed to invest in the construction of houses for sale, lease, or lease-purchase; – For leased land in industrial parks, industrial clusters, export processing zones, hi-tech parks and economics zones, they may invest in building houses and construction works for business in accordance with land using purposes;To buy, lease-purchase or rent-out houses in accordance with Law (Article 159 of the Housing Law 2014)
3.4Foreign individuals– Renting all kinds of real estate to use;   – To buy, rent, lease-purchase houses in accordance with the Housing LawTo buy, lease-purchase or rent-out houses in accordance with the Law (Article 159 of the Housing Law 2014)

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