Living in the Philippines

Real Estate in the Philippines

Here are some rules and regulations about real estate for foreigners in the Philippines:
It might have come to your attention before: A foreigner can not really own a piece of land in the Philippines in his own name. Still, you will meet a lot of foreigners in the Philippines, who at least seem to own a piece of land. How does that work?

  • The easiest and probably most common way is to buy a piece of land in the name of your Filipina wife or husband. If you are not sure about your wife, make an additional rental contract with her with an attorney over 25 years! I personally know some people who's house and land was sold in the Philippines, while the foreigner had to go to his home country for 6 month or so to work. When he came back, the land, the house and the money for it was gone. The wife however was still there, bad luck for this guy.
    Note that Filipinos, who change their citizenship to some other country, can only buy residential land up to 1000m² or up to 1 hectare of farmland.
  • A foreigner can own a piece of land which he heritage from his/her Filipino spouse for the rest of his life.
  • A foreigner can own up to 40% of a condominium project, while the remaining 60% have to be on Filipino side.
  • You can own a unit in a condominium, but only 40% of the units in any given condominium might be sold to foreigners.
  • A company (cooperation) can own land in the Philippines but also here, 60% of the shares have to be on Filipino side. Same as mentioned above, you can still let the Filipino shareholders sign a blank "Deed Of Sale", in which they sell you their shares.
  • A foreigner can own a building, but not the piece of land where the building is put on. So you can rent the land for 25 years* (which should be enough) and build a house on it which you own.

* Private Land you can lease for 25 Years with option of another 25 Years, commercial land can be leased by foreigners for 50 + 25 years.

Now you have to decide by yourself, which option suits you best. Make sure to make any "Rental Contract" or "Deed Of Sale" with an attorney.