Tuoi Tre News, 27 July 2015. Developers race to spruik properties as Vietnam opens door to foreign buyers.

The Australians are increasingly interested in Vietnam opening up its residential market to foreign ownership. However, unclear regulations cause confusion.

An edited extract of the original article is reproduced below.

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Foreign property brokers currently join their Vietnamese counterparts in examining apartment projects which are under development or on sale in the southern metropolis, as foreigners are now allowed to buy houses and apartments in the country, following a new rule which took effect on July 1.

While Salvatore Passari, an Australian broker, visited Vietnam to observe the realty market only a few times last year, he is coming more frequently this year, since foreign ownership has been approved.

Passari is slated to bring around ten Australian customers to Ho Chi Minh City to choose and buy apartments, he told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Saturday, while attending the inauguration of the Landmark 81 project in Binh Thanh District.

Another broker from Australia, Mark Builksol, has also attended many ceremonies showcasing new realty projects in Ho Chi Minh City recently.

Builksol said around 30 of his customers are eying apartment ownership in Vietnam.

The Aussie is confident that many foreigners will buy houses and apartments in the Southeast Asian country, both for living or reselling, as prices are reasonable and the realty market is growing…

Unclear regulations

According to the new rule, foreign ownership is valid for 50 years, and can be extended by the same term only once.

A foreign individual must have a valid passport with an immigration stamp to be eligible to buy a house or an apartment in Vietnam, whereas an organization must have an investment license or a permit for their operations in the country.

The documents must be valid at the time a home purchase is conducted…

“Even a visa with only one day of allowed stay is eligible for house and apartment purchases,” said Nguyen Trong Ninh (deputy head of the department for housing) at a meeting on July 18.

But many foreign homebuyers say there are still many issues they find unclear.

Builksol, the Australian broker, and Nguyen Nhat Hung, the legislative consultant for a realty project, both said many of their customers are in the dark about what kind of visas they must have to be eligible for foreign ownership.

“For instance, is a tourist visa accepted?” Hung asked.

While it is easy for foreign customers to place a deposit for a project, preparing and finalizing the purchase contracts is more complicated.

Ardis Gaetano, an Italian national, said a project developer told him that they could only prepare the apartment leasing contract for him, as they do not know how to create a trading contract due to the lack of legal guidance.

“We have to wait for instructions from a relevant decree and circular regarding the new law on foreign ownership,” Le Thi Thuy Nga, a salesperson at the Estella Heights project in District 2, explained.

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