If you're an expatriate with a dream of owning property in the Philippines, you may have wondered about the legalities and possibilities. The good news is that while foreigners are generally prohibited from owning land, there are legitimate avenues to make your property ownership dreams a reality.
In this guide, we'll provide you with insights into the various options available to expats and non-Filipino citizens, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the legal framework and opportunities to own property in the Philippines.
1. Possess land before the 1935 Philippine Constitution
If you or your family had the foresight to acquire land before the 1935 Constitution came into effect, you're in luck. The rights you obtained prior to this landmark document are still valid today, allowing you to maintain ownership of those properties. It's a remarkable advantage that sets you apart in the property ownership landscape.
2. Inheritance or hereditary succession
Inheritance is another way for foreigners to own property in the Philippines. The 1987 Philippine Constitution permits foreign citizens to inherit land from Filipino citizens, enabling you to become a legal property owner through this avenue. If you have familial ties to the country, this could open up unexpected opportunities for property ownership.
3. Purchase a condominium unit
The Philippine Condominium Act allows foreign nationals to acquire and own condominium units within the country. It's important to note that foreign ownership is restricted to a maximum of 40% of the total units in a condominium project. With this in mind, you can embark on the exciting journey of finding the perfect condominium unit that suits your needs and preferences. Suntrust Properties have some amazing offerings that you can view here.
4. Buy property through a local corporation
Forming a local corporation provides another avenue for foreigners to own land in the Philippines. By establishing your own corporation and adhering to the 60/40 ownership rule (where 60% must be owned by Filipino citizens and 40% by foreigners), you can indirectly acquire and manage property through your corporation.
5. Marriage to a Filipino citizen
Marrying a Filipino citizen can give you the privilege of purchasing land in the Philippines. However, it's important to note that the land title will be under your Filipino spouse's name, while your name can be included in the contract or deed of sale.
6. Natural-born Filipino foreigner
If you were born a natural-born Filipino but later acquired foreign citizenship, you still have the opportunity to own land in the Philippines. The 1987 Constitution acknowledges the right of natural-born Filipinos who hold dual citizenship or have acquired foreign citizenship to retain ownership of land. However, there are restrictions on the size of land that can be acquired for residential or business purposes. This provision enables you to maintain your connection to your Filipino heritage while enjoying the privileges of your dual nationality.
Remember that property laws may evolve over time, so staying updated is crucial. At the end of the day, it’s still best to seek professional advice from experts well-versed in Philippine property laws to ensure compliance and so you can make informed decisions.
With all this in mind, you can confidently explore the diverse real estate opportunities available in the Philippines. From breathtaking beachfront properties to vibrant urban spaces, the country offers a range of options to suit your preferences.