Let foreigners buy resort property, says developer

By Phuong Dung   November 16, 2023 | 03:50 pm PT
Let foreigners buy resort property, says developer
Resort property in Quy Nhon, central Binh Dinh Province. Photo by Binh Chanh
Foreigners should be allowed to buy resort property in Vietnam, not just residential units, in order to draw foreign currency and promote tourism, a Sun Group executive has proposed.

Many foreigners want to own resort property in Vietnam, and many foreigners are already doing so in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, said Nguyen Thai Hoai Anh, deputy CEO of the resort and theme park developer at a tourism conference Thursday.

Giving foreigners permits to own resort real estate will attract more tourists to Vietnam, she said.

Foreign nationals who purchase resort property will likely stay in Vietnam for extended periods of time and pump more money into the local economy than short-term tourists, according to Anh.

She added that they would also return to the country more frequently over time, and such a demographic would also be likely to open up other new investment opportunities here.

Vietnamese law allows foreigners to buy residential homes but not resort properties.

They can buy houses or apartments in commercial projects but cannot own more than 10% of the total amount of houses or more than 30% of the apartments in such projects. They also cannot buy property in national security areas.

"Allowing foreigners to buy resort property will attract a large amount of foreign currency and help promote the image of a friendly and peaceful Vietnam to the world," Anh said.

The Vietnam Association of Realtors made a similar request in August, arguing that resort and tourism properties are often too expensive for locals.

"Selling this type of property to foreigners will help reduce the current large inventory and stir up market developments," according to the association.

There are now around 30,000 unsold resort property units across Vietnam, according to a July report by property consultancy DKRA Group.

Data from property consultancy and manager CBRE Vietnam has showed that of nearly 5,000 transactions carried out through the company in the last 10 years, foreign customers were involved in 45%. Most of them were from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Europe and the U.S.

Foreign property ownership, however, has been a controversial topic for years. While many property firms support the idea, some lawmakers have expressed concerns about national sovereignty.

Lawmaker Pham Van Hoa said in June that some foreigners and foreign organizations have been buying land lots under the names of Vietnamese partners. He argued that this trend needs to be stopped.

Other lawmakers said the fact that foreigners with legal entry permits are allowed to purchase property is a hole in the legal system that could cause conflicts with other laws.

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