Foreigners using proxies to own real estate in national security areas

By Dat Nguyen   November 11, 2019 | 11:51 pm PT
Foreigners using proxies to own real estate in national security areas
Buildings seen by the Han River in Da Nang City. Photo by Shutterstock/Vietnam Stock Images.
Hundreds of Vietnamese firms are serving as proxies for foreigners to buy real estate units in areas vital to national security, says Deputy PM Pham Binh Minh.

Replying to a lawmaker’s question in the National Assembly, he said many of the properties bought by proxies are in areas vital to national security such as Da Nang City, Central Highlands province Lam Dong and the northern port city of Hai Phong.

One way foreign investors end up owning land is by setting up a property company in which a Vietnamese investor owns over 50 percent, Minh said.

Foreigners are also getting married to Vietnamese spouses to own real estate, Minh said. Foreigners can form a company for the spouse to run on paper, but they conduct all operations, he added.

He warned that projects violating real estate laws would have their licenses revoked or development halted.

The government has also ordered local authorities to stop and ban Vietnamese from buying real estate projects on behalf of foreigners, Minh added.

Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association, had said earlier that there was increasing demand for Ho Chi Minh City real estate among Chinese investors, even properties of large value.

Vietnam allows foreigners to buy property, except land, but not more than 30 percent of a residential quarter or apartment project. However, no foreigner is allowed to own property in areas deemed vital to national security.

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