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Vietnam considering new law to increase number of overseas nationals who can buy property

The National Assembly is discussing proposed amendments to the current housing law which also includes increasing the number of Việt Kiều eligible to purchase houses and apartments in Vietnam.

If the proposals are passed in law it will mean that people of Vietnamese origin will be able to own properties. At present, only overseas Vietnamese acknowledged as making a contribution to Vietnam, such as scientists and experts, and those married to Vietnamese citizen can buy property. Any foreigner who is married to a Vietnamese citizen and resides in Vietnam can also purchase a house or an apartment.

Construction Minister Nguyen Hong Quan told the National Assembly in Hanoi that the proposal to allow more overseas Vietnamese access to home ownership in Vietnam was designed to allow Việt Kiều to buy residential properties for their own use.

The proposal was not aimed at encouraging overseas Vietnamese to buy investment properties or engage in real estate speculation, hew warned. Any overseas Vietnamese that trades in real estate industry will be subject to personal and property taxes, he made clear.

The National Assembly's Ethnic Department Chairman Ksor Phuoc recommended that the proposed new law should limit the size of the properties overseas Vietnamese could buy. Phuoc argued that 100 square meters per person was sufficient to meet the residential needs of overseas Vietnamese.

The National Assembly will vote on the proposed new law next month and if passed, it could come into effect as early as September this year.

According to government estimates overseas Vietnamese could buy about 1,400 houses and apartments in Vietnam every year. Overseas Vietnamese have bought only 140 houses in Vietnam over the past three years. It is estimated there are more three million people of Vietnamese descent living outside Vietnam.

Under the Vietnamese Constitution, the nation's land, forests, rivers, lakes, wealth lying underground or coming from the sea, the continental shelf and the air belong to the state and are therefore owned by the entire people. Individuals cannot directly own plots of land but are able to purchase land-use rights.