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Developers anticipate Viet Kieu housing bonanza   2008-09-23 - ThanhNien

Overseas Vietnamese are expected to begin snapping up properties, such as those in this apartment complex in Ho Chi Minh City.  
Proposed amendments to Vietnam’s Housing Law will make it easier for overseas Vietnamese to buy property in Vietnam.



Local real estate developers are preparing for a sales rush when property ownership laws for overseas Vietnamese, or Viet Kieu, are eased.

Truong Quoc Hung, marketing director of Phu My Hung Company, said the proposed new home ownership regulations for overseas Vietnamese meant expats who had bought houses in Vietnam in relatives’ names would be able to transfer the ownership to their own names. “There are many such cases in Phu My Hung urban area,” he said, referring to Ho Chi Minh City’s upscale new urban area.

Other overseas Vietnamese who have long planned to buy houses in Vietnam will no longer be discouraged by many housing restrictions.

Hung said Phu My Hung Company was building two residential blocks with more than 300 apartments to meet upcoming demand from Vietnamese expats.

Le Hung, HAGL Land director, said his company had launched several marketing campaigns to promote their residential projects in Ho Chi Minh City to Vietnamese expats living in Eastern Europe.

“We have found out that the demand for houses in Vietnam from expats in Eastern Europe is as high as that of their peers in the U.S., Australia and Canada,” Hung said. “A US$400,000 apartment near the Saigon River side with a luxury interior is within the reach of many overseas Vietnamese in Eastern Europe. The only problem now is the legal documents.”

HAGL Land has also started two medium-priced housing projects, suitable for both locals and Vietnamese expats, he said.

Green Land, another real estate developer, is ready to tap the expat apartment market with a 192-unit project in HCMC’s Binh Thanh District, director Luong Tri Thin said.

“Viet Kieu often choose luxury apartments in HCMC and land plots for villas in other neighboring provinces such as Binh Duong and Dong Nai,” he said.

Thin said once overseas Vietnamese are allowed to register homes in their own names, they will become more eager to purchase houses.

Hung said when there are new regulations to make it easier for Viet Kieu to own houses in Vietnam, procedural problems involving investment certificates and documents to prove birth origin should be solved.

A real estate investment company suggests the government should take into consideration financial issues such as whether or not overseas Vietnamese can borrow money from banks in foreign countries to buy houses in Vietnam.

Phan Tham, chairman of the HCMC Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, said to date, only about 130 Vietnamese expats have attained eligibility to purchase houses in the country and the figure has hardly changed for several years.

A Vietnamese expat, who wishes to be unnamed, said she has returned and done business in Vietnam for many years but she always has to stay with relatives.

She said she and her friends find it difficult to own houses in Vietnam as there is a lack of government documents advising the steps to purchase property.

“I wonder why Vietnamese people can buy houses in the U.S. and Canada easily but overseas Vietnamese face difficulties when they want to buy houses in Vietnam,” she said.

Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCMC Real Estate Association, said the Ministry of Construction’s amendment draft to article No. 126 of the Housing Law was a move that would benefit many overseas Vietnamese.

He said the important thing was to give careful instructions so that overseas Vietnamese could buy houses in Vietnam easily. The problems with previous regulations would be avoided, he said.

The Ministry of Construction on September 10 proposed an amendment draft to Housing Law article No. 126, which governs home ownership for overseas Vietnamese.

Under the amendment draft, overseas Vietnamese allowed to buy houses in Vietnam are divided into three categories.

Vietnamese expats who keep their Vietnamese nationality will be eligible to buy as many houses as they want.

Overseas Vietnamese who have invested in Vietnam, who are married to a citizen, who have made contributions to the country or who are university graduates and work in Vietnam’s socio-economic sectors are also allowed to own an unlimited number of houses.

Other Vietnamese expats who have lived in Vietnam for at least six months or have been granted visa-exemption certificates can purchase one house.

The categorization is aimed to make it more equal between Vietnamese citizens at home and abroad in home-ownership rights, Minister of Construction Nguyen Hong Quan said.

The proposed amendment draft has been submitted to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee for consideration, Vietnam News Agency reported.

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