HA NOI (VNS)— The Ministry of Construction's proposal to further loosen regulations on foreigners' rights to buy houses in Viet Nam was expected to heat up the prolonged frozen property market.
Dang Hung Vo, an expert in this field, said so, but he did not expect the looser rules to bring about breakthroughs
The proposal, if passed, would help gradually improve the property market's liquidity. However, in the long-term, this was not the key to stimulate the market, he stressed.
"It is more important that policy-makers and real estate enterprises create a favourable environment for foreigners to choose the property market as a destination for their investments," he said.
Currently, buying houses in Viet Nam was not so inviting to foreigners.
Leon Cheneval, deputy director of real estate company CBRE Viet Nam, was quoted by Dau Tu newspaper as saying that foreigners living in Viet Nam should be cautious about owning housing in the country.
One reason was the unclear policies on the ownership and property transfer rights, he said, adding that it would take time until the proposal was approved and came into force.
Secondly, the high real estate prices in Viet Nam in comparison with neighbouring countries, such as Thailand and Malaysia, also did not attract foreign buyers.
The policy allowing foreigners to buy houses was first introduced in 2009 through the National Assembly's Resolution 19.
Nevertheless, to date, only 121 foreigners owned houses in Viet Nam while Viet kieu (overseas Vietnamese) owners numbered just 400 due to the strict regulations.
The figures were modest compared with around 80,000 foreigners living and working in the country and housing space requirements estimated to total 1 million square metres.
The ministry's report showed that most of the more than 100 foreigners who owned houses in Viet Nam are married to Vietnamese.
Still, the idea of loosening regulations for foreigners to own property assets in the country was a good idea for the market, an expert said, pointing out that in many countries such as the US, foreigners were allowed to buy houses without cap in the number of houses they owned.
Viet Nam still needs to have sound land-related policies to encourage foreigners, including ownership and land transfer rights, he stressed.
Property laws loosened
The Ministry of Construction has issued an official dispatch to instruct the implementation of law and policy on house buying for overseas Vietnamese.
The Ministry of Construction asked people's committees of cities and provinces nationwide to relax property ownership laws for overseas Vietnamese following Decree No. 71/2010/ND-CP.
Accordingly, overseas Vietnamese no longer need to show a permanent address and valid identity card when notarising and certifying real estate transactions.
To complete this procedure, they are required to bring a valid Vietnamese or foreign passport with papers proving their Vietnamese nationality under the nationality law.
Papers approving their Vietnamese nationality and residence in Viet Nam are regulated in Decree No. 71, Article 66 and 67.
The Ministry also said overseas Vietnamese who have papers issued by competent Vietnamese agencies to allow them to stay in Viet Nam for three months and more, are permitted to purchase and own houses following a regulation written in Circular No.16/2010/TT-BXD, Article 19. — VNS