» » At local level, there’s no clarity for would-be Viet Kieu home buyers

VNRE - Revisions to the Housing Law allowing Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese) to buy houses freely in Vietnam are not yet in effect, owing to tardy promulgation of implementing instructions.

Decree 71, which guides the implementation of the Housing Law, declares that from August 8, 2010, Viet Kieu who have not given up their Vietnamese nationality can possess houses just like Vietnamese citizens, i.e, they can buy as many villas as they wish.

Other people of Vietnamese origin, even if they have explicitly given up their nationality, have been accorded the same right to home ownership if they make a direct investment in Vietnam, have distinguished themselves in some way, have special skills, or who have married a Vietnamese citizen who lives in Vietnam.

However, it seems that the ‘open door’ is still shut.

Viet Kieu buy houses in other people’s names

There’s been no substantial change in the number of Viet Kieu who have bought houses in Vietnam.

Nguyen Ngoc My, head of the Overseas Vietnamese Businessmens’ Club, says though the general instructions on Viet Kieu rights to purchase homes went into effect on 8 August, local authorities are still awaiting a circular stipulating the detailed procedures for house purchases. The circular is supposed to be issued at the end of September.

My says that Viet Kieu businessmen typically have bought houses under other people’s names. “I myself feel discouraged,” he adds, “because I bought an apartment earlier this year, but I still have not got the deed in hand. I hope the situation will improve after September, when the circular is promulgated.”

Ngo The Vinh at Vinh Gia Real Estate says that in actual fact, Decree 71 will not change the situation much. Many Viet Kieu prefer to buy and register houses under the names of relatives, so that they will not be troubled by tax liabilities or other obligations.

Red tape persists

The Ministry of Construction calculates that 70 percent of the four million Viet Kieu retain their Vietnamese nationality. Before the new decree took effect, after nine years of allowing certain Viet Kieu to purchase houses in Vietnam under the predecessor Decree 81, only 140 Viet Kieu had purchased houses in their own names.

Dr, Nguyen Quang Tuyen at the Hanoi Law University says the new Decree 71 is unlikely to trigger a surge in demand for villas and apartments. “Never underestimate the amount of red tape something like this can generate,” he explains.

Huynh Dang Nhut, a Viet Kieu living in Hanoi’s Tay Ho District, told Thoi bao Kinh te Vietnam that when he heard the Government now allows Viet Kieu to possess houses in the country, he returned to Vietnam to buy a villa. However, the local authorities refused to issue ownership certificates, saying that he could not present necessary documents.

“I was told to wait until circulars are enacted by the concerned ministries,” he said. So, what did Nhut do?

Nhut revealed that he purchased a 2000 square metre plot in Dinh Cong urban area in the name of a cousin. He built five villas there which he is leasing for several hundred million dong per month.

Source: VnEconomy/ Vietnamnet.

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