March 31, 2016

Expats’ Guide to Owning Land in the Philippines

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  • The Philippines is slowly becoming a good place to both settle down and invest in. Opportunities for business are everywhere; with that comes the need to have a place to live.

    land1OWNING LAND? That’s a no-no. But there are ways around it./IMAGE Nerissa Dela Cruz via flickr

    Philippine laws, however, make it impossible for foreigners to own real properties (i.e. land) in the country; however, all is not lost. There are still ways for expats to stay in the country without the need to suddenly turn Filipino:

    1. Buy a condo. Condominium living is on the rise… literally. Condos can be found in almost every major city in the country. Foreigners can buy units and shares in condominium corporations as long as it doesn’t exceed 40% of their total stocks.

    2. Marry into a Filipino family. Inheritance is another way of owning real property in the Philippines. If your Filipino spouse dies, you become the natural heir to anything he/she owns. The same applies to your children.

    3. Buy a really old piece of land. By law, any land acquired by a foreigner before the 1935 constitution is fair play. This includes inheriting the land, regardless of your citizenship.

    4. Get a lease. Though foreigners cannot own land, they can own anything they build on real property they get via lease. The land has to be leased for 50 years, which can be renewed every 25 years.

    5. Former natural-born Filipino citizens can still own land. You will be limited to 1,000 square meters for urban land and one hectare for rural lands, but at least you still own it.

    These are your best options. For businessmen, however, the usual route is to setup a corporation that is 60% Filipino-owned. This route, however, presents problems; in particular, your corporation has to be setup in such a way that it will not violate the Anti-Dummy Law1.

    Source: Hoppler,, HLURB, Your Home in the Philippines blog
    Image grabbed from Nerissa Dela Cruz via flickr

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