Though the policies have been so far considered open there remains hindrance to attract more foreign investment in the industry, they said.
The 2015 amendment of the Law on Housing allowing foreigners to buy houses in Vietnam was considered a positive change in policy. That action has promoted further development of the local real estate market. It was expected to create more favorable conditions in stimulating development of investment, tourism and service in the real estate sector.
Some 750 foreigners received housing ownership certificates in Vietnam.
Nguyen Trong Ninh, director of the Housing and Real Estate Market Management Department under the Ministry of Construction, said since the issue of the amended Law on Housing, some 750 foreigners received housing ownership certificates, six times higher than the period from 2008 to 2014.
The Ministry of Construction said that regulations and policies related to housing in Việt Nam for foreign individuals and organizations have been open and in accordance with the actual conditions of Việt Nam and international rules, including conditions on ownership and the number of houses that can be owned by foreign buyers.
According to the ministry, Vietnam’s Circular No 19/2016/TT-BXD and Decree No 99/2015/NĐ-CP regulate the number of houses owned by foreigners to tighten procedures on re-sale of real estate products and increase transparency in the process of implementing administrative procedures for these property products.
However, Nguyen Khanh Duy, Savills Việt Nam’s HCM City residential sales director, told Vietnam News Agency that an adjustment to increase the limit of houses owned by foreigners for certain kinds of property products, such as resorts or Grade A apartments, should be considered carefully to make Vietnam’s real estate market more attractive. In fact, property projects attracting foreigners have been mainly in the high-end segment.
The state should apply a flexible limit, instead of a fixed one, for certain kinds of property products to create a positive dynamic for the local property market because Vietnam has 82,000 foreigners working and living here and more than four million overseas Vietnamese, who have high demand for buying housing products in Vietnam, he said, adding that a flexible limit was very important to minimize and prevent negative impact of the real estate market on the country’s domestic socio-economic development.
He took the recent sales of a property projects in Ho Chi Minh City, which is considered an attractive area for foreigners looking to buy houses in Vietnam, as an example. The limit for foreigners to own apartments in the project, which is located in prime location of District 2, is only 30 percent. As such, many foreigners did not have chances to buy apartments in this project.
Besides, though having high demands, the number of foreigners buying and owning houses in Vietnam has remained low because foreigners are not yet clear about legal procedures in Vietnam, while state administrative offices in some localities are not familiar with regulation related to foreigners.
For large investors, to find suitable property projects, they often choose to work with an international consulting firm that has a network of offices and branches in many countries to ensure that all questions related to legal and trading procedures will be explained satisfactorily. Sometimes, they do not need to pay more money for consulting services.
The big investors will choose a company with experience, reputation and ability to communicate well in many languages to save time and money.
However, in terms of customers, these investors should have specific requirements on the project to get the most detailed consultation information, Duy said.