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Kim Camarse, KMC MAG Group's Associate Broker, discusses the rules of ownership for foreigners in the Philippines. Here are some of the common questions she answered:
1. If I am an expat or a foreign investor, can I own a condo in the Philippines?
Yes, expats can own a condo in the Philippines as long as the project or corporation who built and led the development is 60% Filipino owned.
For example, Sam, an American expat, wants to have a condo in Makati. Sam goes to Land Developers Inc., the company who built the project. If Land Developers Inc. is owned by 2 Filipinos and 1 Expat, it means that the condo building is 66% Filipino-owned and 33% foreign-owned. Therefore, Sam can buy a condo unit and register it to his name.
2. Aside from condos, can expats own land in the Philippines?
Unfortunately, foreigners are not allowed and entitled to purchase lands here. However, they can indirectly own a land or other types of properties by putting up 40% of equity in a Filipino-owned corporation.
3. If I am a former Filipino citizen who is now a naturalized citizen in another country, can I still buy and own properties in the Philippines?
Yes, you can own properties, but you have to apply for dual citizenship. If you do this, you will enjoy the same ownership rights as Filipinos and are no longer limited to owning a condo. You may now purchase lands, farms, and any other property in the Philippines.
4. Can a Filipino purchase a land on behalf of a foreigner and just transfer the name and title later on?
No, that is illegal. Under the Anti-Dummy Law, any Filipino proven to have bought property on behalf of a non-Filipino will be penalized. As I said earlier, foreigners cannot own land in the Philippines unless they become a Filipino citizen by naturalization.
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The rule of thumb in foreign ownership is that you may own condominiums, buildings and houses in the Philippines as long as majority is still owned by Filipinos. You can also allow your property to be rented or leased out but under certain conditions. Only Filipinos, including former Filipino citizens and Filipino-majority owned corporations are allowed to own lands.