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May 23, 2008

Foreigners to be allowed to own apartments

Vietnam plans to allow foreigners to own apartments, but not houses, in the country, starting from early next year, AFP reported quoting the government’s statement posted on its official website Friday.

The national assembly approved the project on a five-year trial basis for certain foreign individuals and organisations in a vote on Thursday.

Foreigners eligible will include those married to Vietnamese citizens, those with direct investments or special skills needed by the country, and those who have made contributions acknowledged by the president or prime minister.

They will be allowed to own the flat or condominium for a maximum of 50 years and must then either sell or donate it, the online report said.

The official Vietnam News Agency said about 21,000 out of the 80,000 foreigners now working and living in Vietnam will pass the criteria to buy and own property, quoting Ministry of Construction figures.

The VNA report said it was estimated about 10,000 foreigners may buy apartments with a total area of 1.5 million square metres after the resolution takes effect at the start of 2009.

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