Countries outside of the United States have different laws governing land ownership. How does land ownership work in Vietnam? Can you buy land in Vietnam?
Vietnam is known for having different land laws than many other countries, including compared to other countries in Asia. What's behind land ownership in Vietnam?
Whether you are a citizen of Vietnam or a foreign traveler or investor, you cannot permanently own land in Vietnam. The country itself owns land, and the government administers the allocation of land. You may, however, purchase or lease a structure on land – but the state still owns the plot.
We'll break down the rules for land ownership in Vietnam and also explain any difference between citizen processes and those for foreigners to Vietnam. Land ownership in Vietnam means something different than it does in the United States.
We've examined Vietnamese laws for land ownership and will be able to clearly communicate what to expect in regards to being able to buy land in the country.
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Who can own land in Vietnam?
We assume this question is asked from someone without Vietnamese citizenship, and the answer is no. Thankfully, though, a foreigner of Vietnam can lease land starting at 50 years at a time, and going up to 100 years at a time. According to multiple travel blogs, there also isn't anything specific one can do to ensure that their release is “renewed” with the Vietnamese government, and generally speaking, the longer term leases of 100 years are meant for diplomatic organizations, not so much businesses.
Getting an extension is a matter of applying for approval to the government six months in advance of expiration.
To answer another way for citizens of Vietnam, the local government allows citizens and foreigners who are married to citizens to lease land from the government for a much longer period of time – often as long as they want to. A citizen may also rent out their land or property without having to notify authorities while a leasing foreigner must notify the government.
Both citizens of Vietnam and foreigners will pay the land use fees to the government, not a private company. In this way, Vietnam does not have privately owned land.
Can you own buildings in Vietnam?
Yes! People, including foreigners, are allowed to real estate units, like apartments, homes, and industrial buildings in Vietnam. These are some rules governing this ownership, including some limits on percentages of ownership. Foreigners can only purchase up to 30% of the houses in a condo block and not over 10% of the properties on one piece of land. A non citizen may also buy as many real estate units as they want, though they can't buy more than 250 homes in a single area.
Why would you want to own land or property in Vietnam?
Foreign real estate ownership is up in Vietnam since the country fairly recently changed policies regarding foreign company and individual ownership. Industrial rents are up 9% per year as some companies leave China, and apartment prices have risen 90% in three years. This is in part because the prices were fairly low in the first place, without competition from outsiders.
Giving the influx of foreign property ownership, investors are trying to get in early before prices rise dramatically.
The trend is somewhat the opposite of some United States real estate markets in 2022, where building prices are at an all time high, and expected to eventually lower as the housing market evens out.
Who owns the land in Vietnam?
Vietnam believes that the people of Vietnam own all the land in the country, and the government is setup as an administrator for the purpose.
Is getting land in Vietnam difficult?
“Owning” land in Vietnam is actually easier than it has been in previous decades. A travel tourist Visa is all that is needed to get started, though you'll need to apply for a certificate for land use as well, as a foreigner. Still, you can own the building or residence on the land, but you won't own the land itself.
Some might consider getting land in Vietnam a bit easier. While you'll have to do paperwork.
In 2015, the Vietnamese government eased restrictions and allow foreigners much better access to larger amounts of real estate in Vietnam. Previous laws limited foreign ownership to a single condominium, which largely made it worth owning land in Vietnam only if you lived there and could maintain it. With the ability to own parts of buildings and multiple homes, foreign investors can now justify having their capital invested in the country.
Marriage to a Vietnamese citizen also allows the foreigner to own more land, and removes many of the restrictions.
Why are there restrictions in Vietnamese land?
Vietnam is attempting to gain a bit more control over their property ownership and only have some foreign ownership able to profit off their citizens and country. Some countries allow the larger presence of foreign developers, and Vietnam is not alone in the Asian tradition of restricting foreign ownership of their properties.
Not all Vietnamese people or government officials are happy with new developments with less restrictions though. Some see foreign investors being present for 99 year lease plans to be a threat to national security. The defense of longer lease projects applies mostly to very large building projects which will take decades of work to complete. Most leases are 50 to 55 years.
What is Vietnam's equivelent to land ownership in the United States?
Some banks and other organizations in the United States will buy land, then have a home built on it. The bank or organization then sells the home at a discounted rate because unlike most properties on the market, the price does not include the land. In some agreements, the bank is owed some percentage of any positive equity that the new home owner earns should they sell the home, but the bank always owes the land.
In the United States and other markets, a mortgage company is most often the actual ownership of the land and home. The government also has a claim to the home in the event that the homeowner is unable to pay property taxes, so technically home ownership is a reach in the United States, too.
How or why are leases terminated?
The most common reasons for termination of a land lease are simply not paying for the land, disapproval with business operations, or the company owning the real estate deciding to go out of business.
Lessees are expected to vacate land if they are not renewed, though it doesn't appear that non-renewals are especially common.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling