How to buy property in Vietnam

Many foreigners live and work in Vietnam. It is a country that has captured a lot of hearts. And many people who have visited Vietnam have dreamt of what it might be like to own a property in Saigon or Hanoi.

In this article, we’re going to take a close look at how to buy a property in Vietnam, and in particular what it means for a foreigner who wants to buy Vietnamese real estate.

Can foreigners buy property in Vietnam?

Yes, foreigners can buy property in Vietnam. But there are conditions.

A foreigner will only be able to purchase leasehold property. This will usually be a 50-year lease that has the possibility of being renewed for a further 50 years, to make it a total 99-year lease period.

There is a foreign quota that limits foreigners from owning more than 30% of condos in a building or more than 10% of condos per development project.

A foreigner is not allowed to purchase landed property. And certain geographical areas may be restricted from foreign ownership of apartments.

There is no minimum purchase price for foreigners buying Vietnamese real estate, unlike in Malaysia. So there is nothing to stop you from getting in there and picking up the more affordable properties.

Can a foreigner own land in Vietnam?

In Vietnam, land is owned by the state (collectively owned by the Vietnamese people, but managed and distributed by the government). Therefore, a foreigner cannot own land.

They can only own condos or detached houses within a commercial housing project.

Even though a foreigner cannot own land, they can own the structures built upon the land.

To legally use a piece of land, you must obtain land use rights either via an annual land lease or by paying a one-off land use fee.

What’s the difference between leasehold and freehold property titles?

A leasehold property grants the owner permission to use the property for the length of the lease period. The leasehold usually runs for 50 years with the possibility of being renewed.

A freehold property gives the owner the legal right to use the property for an indefinite period with no expiry date. A foreigner can own property freehold with the same rights as Vietnamese citizens if they are married to a local.

Is buying Vietnamese property a good investment?

The Vietnam economy has strong fundamentals. It has averaged around 7% GDP growth over the last 30 years. And growth continues to stay strong, with Vietnam being one of the main beneficiaries of Western companies diversifying manufacturing operations away from China.

Vietnam is also a young country. The median age of its population is around 33 years of age. A country with a young population is much more favorable for sustainable economic growth than a country with an aging population.

Investing in property should never be a short-term proposition. And you need to be careful when investing in offshore markets. But for those investors who are interested in Vietnam and would like to position themselves to capitalize on the strong demographics that the country possesses, it may well be worth a look.

During 2023 and 2024, the Vietnam property market has undergone somewhat of a price correction. This may present a buying opportunity for those willing to take the plunge.

Other benefits that can be obtained from purchasing overseas property include owning a lifestyle property, diversification of investment capital, and gaining asset protection from holding offshore assets.

What are the risks of owning property in Vietnam?

The main drawback of purchasing Vietnamese real estate is not being able to own the property freehold. Even though a 99-year lease would be adequate to cover a purchaser’s lifetime use, it may not be so attractive if you were planning to bequeath the asset down to your children after you pass.

Because there are restrictions for foreigners buying real estate in Vietnam, this can also affect the resale market. The foreign quotas in place mean that if your condo is not the kind of property that a local would buy, the resale market would then be smaller and less liquid than it would be for a condo that a Vietnamese citizen would buy.

It is very important to always perform thorough due diligence when purchasing a property in a foreign market.

Always use a lawyer. Scams can take place and fake listings can exist. You need to check that the property title is valid.

Review the property developer’s past projects. How is the quality? Do they have other reputable projects behind them? Do they have solid financials and are not at risk of going bust?

And always check that the developer has all of the required permits for construction in place.

You will need to obtain a property ownership certificate, known as a pink book. This outlines, among other things, the size, location, and the use purpose of the building. As well as what modifications or extensions have been undertaken.

Check that everything in the pink book matches the property that you are buying. Not doing this can create unnecessary legal complications later.

Depending on who you may be selling the property to down the track, you may want to consider the Feng Shui attributes of your property. Although this won’t be an issue if you are selling to a westerner.

There are many quirks when it comes to Vietnamese property law. It is strongly advisable to seek the assistance of a lawyer who is familiar with Vietnamese law and who speaks English (or your language), to assist you throughout the process.

If you would like help getting in touch with a property lawyer, we can assist.

Which is the best city in Vietnam to buy property?

Most foreigners who purchase property in Vietnam will tend to focus on a few main areas such as:

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) – the biggest city and commercial center of Vietnam.

Hanoi – the second largest city and the administrative capital.

Da Nang – the largest city in central Vietnam.

Nha Trang – a beachside city that is popular with tourists.

There are also plenty of other great locations in Vietnam, we wrote an article discussing that here.

How much does it cost to buy a condo in Vietnam?

The price that you pay will vary greatly depending on the location of the property.

For example, in Saigon prices start at around USD 70,000 at the lower end. You will probably get a bit more for your money in a place like Danang.

Vietnam property
An example of a condo for sale in Saigon

What are the ongoing costs of owning property in Vietnam?

Owners of condo apartments will need to pay an annual sinking fee to the building managers to cover common area servicing such as maintenance, gardening, repairs, and so on.

The annual sinking fee will usually be approximately 2% of the condo purchase price.

What are the property taxes in Vietnam?

When you purchase a property in Vietnam, there will be a 10% VAT (Value Added Tax) added to the purchase price for commercial housing.

Stamp duty registration tax is payable at 0.5%. On receipt of payment, you will receive the pink book ownership certificate.

If you are choosing to rent your condo out as an investment property, you will pay personal income tax on the rental income of 5% plus an extra 5% for VAT.

When a property is sold, you will have to pay a 2% personal income tax on the transaction value of the sale.

Land tax is payable on the specific land area used at progressive rates ranging from 0.03% to 0.15%.

Can a foreigner take out a mortgage for Vietnamese property?

Obtaining a mortgage in Vietnam as a foreigner will be difficult. If you have a Vietnamese spouse, it will be easier. In this case, you may be able to obtain a 15-year loan to finance the property purchase.

Like it is often the case for foreigners buying offshore property, it is usually easiest to make the purchase in full with cash.

Alternatively, you may be able to acquire a loan or a line of credit with a bank based in your home country on the back of assets that you already hold and can offer up as collateral.

Can you rent out your condo as an investment property?

Yes, foreigners can buy-to-let in the Vietnamese property market. If you don’t live in Vietnam, you will probably need to hire a property manager to handle the investment and deal with tenants on your behalf.

Does Vietnam have a real estate investment visa?

Vietnam does not have a residency by investment program available for buying property. You will have to seek other means of obtaining residency rights if you wish to stay in the country for the longer term.

A work permit can be obtained quite easily if you are employed by a Vietnamese company, for example as an English teacher. Vietnam also offers a 90-day tourist visa which should be able to get you around 6 months of access to the country in a year across a couple of separate visits.

Other countries in the region that do offer real estate investment visas are Thailand and Cambodia.

How to research buying Vietnamese property

You can have a look around on property for sale websites such as Dot Property or Fazwaz.

However, our recommendation would be to get on a plane and visit Vietnam for yourself. Travel around the country and get a feel for the areas you may be interested in buying or living in.

Inspect condos for sale, talk to real estate agents, and talk to lawyers. We can assist you in this process if you would prefer.

Thanks for reading.