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Can FOREIGNERS buy REAL ESTATE Properties in the Philippines?

Can FOREIGNERS buy REAL ESTATE Properties in the Philippines?


The Real Estate industry in Asia particularly in the Philippines proves to be a good investment strategy for all investors across the Globe. 

The volatility of the economic status of the US and UK markets is still on-going which is why a lot of investors are putting their money in Asia. The Philippines is following the lead of Singapore in its plan to become one of the top destination for investments. Even Singaporeans are buying properties in the Philippines due to a certain law in their home country that only allows them to buy a certain number of properties. They have a lot of competing countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia but they chose the Philippines.

The real question is Can Foreigners buy and own Real Estate Properties in the Philippines?


The answer is Yes but let me tell you why:

Generally, only Filipino citizens and corporations or partnerships with least 60% of the shares are owned by Filipinos are entitled to own or acquire land in the Philippines. However, Foreigners or non-Philippine nationals can purchase condominiums, buildings, and enter into a long term land lease. 

Foreign Ownership of Land in the Philippines

Ownership of land in the Philippines is highly-regulated with land ownership reserved for persons or entities considered Philippine nationals or Filipino citizens. For this purpose, a corporation owned 60% by Filipino citizens is treated as a Philippine national. Foreigners interested in acquiring land or real property through aggressive ownership structures must consider the provisions of the Philippines' Anti-Dummy Law to determine how to proceed. A major restriction in the law is the restriction on the number of alien members on the Board of Directors of a landholding company which is limited to 40% alien participation. Another concern is the possible forfeiture of the property if the provisions of the law is breached.
 
Exceptions to the restriction on foreigners acquisition of land in the Philippines are the following:

    Acquisition before the 1935 constitution
    Acquisition through hereditary succession if the foreigner is a legal or natural heir
    Purchase of not more than 40% interest in a condominium project
    Purchase by a former natural-born Filipino citizen subject to the limitations prescribed by law. (natural born Filipinos who acquired foreign citizenship is entitled to own up to 1,000 sq.m. of residential land, and 1 hectare of agricultural or farm land)
    Filipinos who are married to aliens who retain their Filipino citizenship, unless by their act or omission they have renounced their Filipino citizenship

Foreigner Ownership as a Philippine Corporation

Foreign nationals or corporations may completely own a condominium or townhouse in the Philippines. To take ownership of a private land, residential house and lot, and commercial building and lot foreigners may set up a Philippine corporation in the Philippines. This means that the corporation owning the land has less than or up to 40% foreign equity and it is formed by 5-15 natural persons of legal age as incorporators, majority of whom are Philippine residents.

Foreigners Leasing Of Philippine Real Estate Property

Leasing land in the Philippines on a long term basis is an option for foreigners or foreign corporations with more than 40 percent foreign equity. Under the Investor's Lease Act of the Philippines a foreign national and or corporation may enter into a lease agreement with Filipino landowners for an initial period of up to 50 years renewable once for an additional 25 years.
 
Foreigners owning Houses in the Philippines

Foreigners owning a house or building in the Philippines is legal as long as the foreigner does not own the land on which the house is build.
 
Foreigners owning Condominiums & Townhouses in the Philippines

The Condominium Act of the Philippines, R.A. 4726, expressly allows foreigners to acquire condominium units and shares in condominium corporations up to not more than 40% of the total and outstanding capital stock of a Filipino owned or controlled condominium corporation. However, there are a very few single-detached homes or Townhouses in the Philippines with condominium titles. Most condominiums are high rise buildings.

Foreigners Married to a Filipino Citizen

If holding a title as an individual, a typical situation would be that a foreigner married to a Filipino citizen would hold title in the Filipino spouse's name. The foreign spouse's name cannot be on the Title but can be on the contract to buy the property. In the event of death of the Filipino spouse, the foreign spouse is allowed a reasonable amount of time to dispose of the property and collect the proceeds or the property will pass to any Filipino heirs and or relatives.
 
Former Natural-born Philippine Citizen now Naturalized American Citizen

Any natural-born Philippine citizen who has lost his Philippine citizenship may still own private land in the Philippines up to a maximum area of 5,000 square meters in the case of rural land. In the case of married couples, the total area that both couples are allowed to purchase should not exceed the maximum area mentioned above.
 
Filipinos & Former Filipino Citizens (Balikbayans) & OFW

Former natural-born Filipinos who are now naturalized citizens of another country can buy and register, under their own name, land in the Philippines but limited in land area. However, those who avail of the Dual Citizenship Law in the Philippines can buy as much as any other Filipino citizen. Under Republic Act 9225 (Philippines Dual Citizenship Law of 2003), former Filipinos who became naturalized citizens of foreign countries are deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship, thus enabling them to enjoy all the rights and privileges of a Filipino regarding land ownership in the Philippines. 


IF YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS OR FOR FURTHER ASSISTANCE, Please email Mr. Prince Javar at ptmjavar@consultant.com 

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50 comments:

  1. A lot of foreigners have beautiful properties in the Philippines. They are rich that is why they can afford those/these makati condominiums. :)

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  2. I must agree that the foreigners can buy a properties here in our country. But sometimes they are renting a condo like in Mckinley Hill. Thanks.

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  7. I really don't think anyone has put it that way before!. Your blog is definitely worth a read if anyone finds it. I'm lucky I did because now I've got a whole new view of this. Thank you!

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  8. Just happened across this article:
    One correction to the statement "The foreign spouse's name cannot be on the Title". Spouses name can definitely be on the Title. Does this give the spouse the same rights as the Filipino citizen? Not exactly, but still advantageous to do so.

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  16. As far as I know, foreigners are not allowed to buy in the Philippines, but if they will name it to a citizen, then it is possible.
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    1. We have new projects (preselling) which means cheaper price and more discounts.. it is very affordable and very promising that existing unit owners keep their eyes on acquiring another property as investment especially on our new projects. New projects are usually 50% sold out during launching dates that happens 3 years before the project's turn over dates.

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  35. Very well said, I really like what the 1935 constitution stated. It's clearly stated that majority of the ownership of the Philippine land should be a Filipino. However, if it is 100 percent owned Filipino, no investor would dare to invest their money here that is why renting for a maximum of 50 years is still a best option for foreigners. They can own condominiums? yes. Thanks for sharing this! For Condos in Taguig you can click here.

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  36. I too agree. Us and Uk country peoples are investing in Asia. Thanks for posting. commercial property for rent

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  38. Thanks for this. I agree that the Filipino must be the major owner of land in the Philippines. For the foreigner, they can own a property by buying a condo unit. If you want to own a condo unit. Visit BGC condo for sale.

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  40. this is a very interesting post for a friend who is a foreigner and would love to buy a house and lot in the Phils..sad to say, he can never buy a lot.

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  45. Century Properties, Gramercy Homeowner Survey:

    Here were the most common complaints from the survey results and what I think Century should do:
    #1: Customer Service
    According to owners: communication is poor, slow, unresponsive, "they don't even reply," "they avoid calls and emails," "they need to be more efficient handling concerns," etc.
    I think Century should: replace all inefficient employees, notably in the PMO, turnover group, leasing office, resale office, accounting office, engineering, security, and IT. Implement a more efficient system to manage calls, emails, and tasks.
    #2. Misrepresentation
    According to owners: many broken promises, they felt misled or scammed, "bait and switch," promised turnover date not delivered, actual unit different from ads and brochures, purchased 1 bedroom unit but received a studio, promised furniture not delivered, etc.
    I think Century should: fulfill promises or compensate owners if they cannot.
    #3. Poor Materials and Workmanship
    According to owners: poor quality finishings and furnishings, poor workmanship, lots of problems with furniture and appliances, problems with flooring, faulty water heaters, engineering slow to make repairs, etc.
    I think Century should: replace defective flooring, appliances, and furniture. Re-train or re-hire engineering staff to ensure quicker and better quality repairs.
    #4. Restrictive Building Policies
    According to owners: want the option of not leasing with the leasing office, upset about the "screening and checking of non-owner short term residents," "excessive rules where no rules are called for," owners disappointed with their investment, etc.
    I think Century should: allow owners to rent out their units on their own to maximize investment opportunities but regulate the process to minimize problems with security, image, etc.
    #5. Association Dues
    According to owners: still too high, "too many fees," "hidden costs," concern about commercial units not paying their fees, "there needs to be transparency," etc.
    I think Century should: release financial statement to unit owners for us to audit. Lower the rate from P110 per square meter if it cannot be justified.
    ---------------------------
    There were many more complaints (over 100) but these were the most common.
    I'll be sending this list as well as the survey results to Century's Customer Service Group.

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