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New regulations to ease Overseas Vietnamese real estate investments

VIETNAM, February 15 - HÀ NỘI — Experts predict that the recently approved Land Law, Housing Law, and Law on Real Estate Business, which will take effect in 2025, will improve conditions for Overseas Vietnamese (OVs) in real estate ownership and trading.

The laws provide a uniform approach to issues related to land, housing and real estate, ensuring the rights of OVs with Vietnamese nationality to own and trade property just like Vietnamese citizens residing inside the country, carrying out the country’s policy of taking OVs as an inseparable part of the nation.

Under the newly-adopted Land Law, Vietnamese citizens residing abroad can enjoy full rights related to land, not limited to residential land, just like their fellow citizens inside the country.

They are allowed to build houses and invest in construction projects for sale, lease, lease purchase, and invest in technical infrastructure in real estate projects to transfer, lease, and sublease the right to use land with technical infrastructure.

Currently, OVs are allowed to own houses in Việt Nam, but can only receive transfer of residential land use rights through purchase, lease purchase, inheritance, or donation of housing attached to land use rights, and can only receive residential land use rights in housing development projects.

The regulations have prevented them from transferring, donating or inheriting land outside housing development projects, and from enjoying the right to build and own houses on land outside housing development projects.

Lawyer Nguyễn Văn Hậu, Vice Chairman of the Hồ Chí Minh Bar Association, said that with the new regulations, it will be easier for OVs to own real estate in the country.

He said that previously, although regulations allowed OVs to buy real estate in Việt Nam, many had to authorise their relatives to be the owner of the property. Because of concerns about complicated procedures and regulations, many overseas Vietnamese hesitated to buy real estate in the country.

This amendment has created equality between domestic individuals and OVs in terms of investing and undertaking ventures in the real estate business. When buying a house and having the rights like domestic citizens, they can transfer remittances to invest and buy a house in Việt Nam. Thus, the real estate market will see great demand from OV individuals for high-end housing in the market, Hậu stated.

Last year, more than US$19 billion in remittances flowed into Việt Nam, a similar figure to 2022. It is forecast that in 2024, remittances will increase by about 20 per cent compared to 2023.

Since 2012, remittances sent to Việt Nam have reached over $10 billion per year, of which about a quarter is poured into real estate.

Mai Hai, a real estate broker, said that the populous market and high profits are considered attractive conditions for remittances to pour into Vietnamese real estate.

The rate of OVs buying houses in Việt Nam is increasing, he said, adding that Việt Nam’s rental profit is also quite attractive at 5-7 per cent, higher than developed markets like Australia or the US.

According to the Business Association of Overseas Vietnamese, in the future, remittances will be abundant because the Vietnamese community abroad is increasing in both quantity and living areas.

The number of Vietnamese people living abroad, which was about 2.7 million in 2004, has now tripled to about seven million in 109 countries and territories around the world.

About 80 per cent of overseas Vietnamese live and work in developed countries such as the US, Australia, Canada and France, while more than half a million work through labour export programmes or study abroad. — VNS