Lao Economy

Property Investors To Draw Law On Foreign Acquisition

Source: Vientiane Times

Property investors are currently drawing up a law that will call on the National Assembly (NA) to consider foreigners to be able to purchase apartments, according to officials in the sector.

Under the Investment Promotion Law that was put into effect in 2014, foreigners with a registered investment of US$500,000 can own a plot of residential land but officials from the Ministry of Planning and Investment say they have found it difficult to enforce the article which entitles foreign business operators to own such a plot.

The law authorises eligible foreign business operators to buy land exclusively from the government but it does not permit these business operators to buy land from individuals.

For this reason, the Director of the real estate agent,, Mr Houmphan Saiyalath is working with concerned departments to draw up a new law that will offer the NA to approve such a purchase within the year.

However, a property law that will prompt the NA to allow foreigners to have the right to be legal apartment owners is now under consultation with the concerned authorities.

Mr Houmphan commented recently that the proposal aims to attract investor flow in the sector which should play a part in driving the country’s economy.

For example, some countries in Asean have already allowed foreigners to buy apartments or residences which have increased their property investments further and more rapidly.

The country has recently experienced the growth of apartment and residence construction but their sales have only been steady because there is no law to attract purchasing from foreign investors.

Mr Houmphan said the sale of apartments and residences are expected to increase by around 8-10 percent this year as developers offer other option to customers.

Mr Houmphan explained that investment in apartments and condominiums is further booming but housing construction for the purposes of renting or sale has only grown slightly as the majority of marketing has focused on local residents.

Presently, there are more than 200 apartment buildings registered in Vientiane, with expectations that apartment construction will continue growing upwards of 15 percent by the end of the year.

Experts say this will also help to drive apartment prices lower as developers will seek to set up a variety of pricing options to attract more customers.

The price of apartment, house, and office rents were still steadily increasing over the recent period but are expected to slow down by year’s end and slow even more over the next two years due to higher competition in the residence market.

Mr Houmphan believes that if the law is approved it will be more convenient for foreign investors to purchase an apartment which will be positive in helping the property market in the country to continue its growth.