Is it true that a foreigner cannot buy a real property in the Philippines? They can, but with some constraints.
While the Philippines is continuously gaining popularity among foreign nationals as an ideal place for business, even more are considering our country as a place in which to take up permanent residence. For citizens of another country who want to buy a property to live in, here are a few things you need to know.
First and foremost, can a foreign national purchase real estate in the Philippines? The answer is yes, but with a few restrictions. Unless the foreigner was able to acquire the property themselves or inherit it under the 1935 Philippine Constitution, these are the scenarios wherein they can buy real estate.
1. A foreign national can purchase not more than 40% of the units of a condominium project under the Condominium Act of the Philippines or Republic Act 4726.
2. A foreign national can own a condo unit or townhouse in the Philippines by setting up a corporation in the country, one that has foreign equity of no more than 40% and is formed by natural persons (60% of whom should be Filipino citizens) of legal age as incorporators.
3. A foreign national who marries a Filipino citizen can purchase a property, but said property will be under the name of the Filipino spouse. While the name of the foreign national cannot be on the property title itself, it can be included in the contract to purchase the property. Should the Filipino spouse pass away, the foreigner can either sell the property for profit, or pass ownership to their children or the relatives of the Filipino spouse.
4. A foreign national can, as an alternative, buy a house and lease the land on which it stands for 25 years, with an option to renew the lease for another 25 years.
5. A natural-born Filipino who has lost Philippine citizenship can still own up to a maximum area of 1,000 square meters of residential urban land, or up to 1 hectare of rural land as long as it will be used for residential purposes. In the case of married couples, the total combined area of their property must not exceed the stated maximum area.
6. A natural-born Philippine citizen who has become a naturalized citizen of another country can own real estate just like any other Filipino citizen if they apply for Dual Citizenship under Republic Act 9225.