Through its steady economic growth, the Philippines has emerged as the most popular investment destination in Southeast Asia. Switzerland’s leading and most reputable bank, Credit Suisse, said that the Philippines is the clear winner among member countries the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, in attracting foreign direct investments.
Several foreigners are now eyeing to start a property investment in the Philippines not only because of its booming economy, but also because of its solid GDP growth, stable currency, advanced legal system, low costs of living and of course, great overseas property investment opportunities. However, most people are still not aware on the laws and procedures on buying Philippines property.
Foreign nationals may invest in Philippines property, but is subject to a few guidelines and restrictions. So if you’re a foreigner who’s interested in buying Philippines property, below is an overseas buying guide for your future property investment in the Philippines:
Foreigners cannot directly own and acquire land in the Philippines
By law, foreign nationals do not have the right to own land in the Philippines. But foreigners married to a Filipina/Filipino usually have their Filipino spouse buy the land on their behalf. The title to the land must also be under the Filipino spouse’s name. However, the only exemptions to this are land acquisitions before the 1935 Constitution, through hereditary succession (in case the foreigner is a legal or natural inheritor), and purchases into specially designated projects under a special investor visa scheme.
Foreigners can be shareholders in 60% Filipino-owned corporations
Another way for a foreign national to buy Philippines property land is to become a shareholder in a Filipino company that directly purchases the land. Philippine law states that a minimum of five shareholders are required, and the corporation must be comprised of at least 60% Filipino shareholders. Illegal breach of this law may result to forfeiture of the properties owned by the company.
Foreigners can buy residential condominium units in the Philippines
Foreigners can also purchase Philippine overseas properties under the Condominium Act of the Philippines which states that non-Filipinos can buy condominium units as long as the foreign interest in the entire project will not exceed 40% of the development. Subdivided townhouse community is also covered by the said Philippine law.
Among the most popular and in demand new developments in Manila, the Philippines’ capital region, are Ayala Land Premiere’s Park Central Towers and Robinsons Land’s Trion Towers.
A profitable destination for overseas properties investment | Photo source
Property purchase by natural-born Filipinos who have acquired foreign citizenship shall be subject to prescribed law limitations
In this case, they can only own up to 1,000 sq. meters of land in the Philippines. For married couples, one or both of the spouses may acquire the privilege, however it should not exceed the maximum area allowed by the Philippine law.
Filipinos married to foreign nationals and retain their citizenship can buy land in the Philippines
However, they will lose this privilege once they renounce their Filipino citizenship under the Philippines property ownership laws governing foreigners.
Foreigners investing in the Philippines can lease land on a long term basis
A foreigner or a foreign corporation with more than 40% foreign ownership may lease their land ownership for up to 50 years, and can extend it for another 25 years under the Investor’s Lease Act of the Philippines.
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