Can a foreigner buy a property in the Philippines?

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These are all the questions that many usually ask. Could Foreigner buy land in the Philippines? Will they own 100% of the property when they purchase land here in the Philippines? Is buying a property in the Philippines easy for foreigners?

Yes, with a Condominium type property. They can own 100% of a property even without a Filipino or a local resident, as long as they purchase a condominium.

A foreigner can only get 40 percent of development on condominium development, and 60 percent of local investors on a condominium development base on the condominium act. If the condominium has exceeded the limit of 40% for foreign investors they are no longer permitted to purchase properties in the same property but are still eligible to purchase properties in other construction that have not yet exceeded the cap for foreign investors.

Unless the foreigner purchases property in the Philippine with a property form “estate,” he or she is expected to have a Filipino partner / spouse to purchase property in the Philippines, the majority of the percentage will be in the Filipino citizen because foreigners are not permitted to purchase any kind of estate in the Philippines.

Foreigners planning to purchase land through their spouses will only be able to purchase up to 1,000 square meters of urban land or up to 10,000 square meters of rural land.


Hiring the right and reputable people

To purchase a property successfully in the Philippines, it is necessary to work with specific professionals who can certainly aid in the buying process, such as a licensed real estate broker, and an attorney. These professionals will be required to help advise you on the property, ensure that you have checked and fulfilled specifications, and assist in the processing of important documents.

Getting a property or mortgage loans in the Philippines

So first of all — not every bank in the Philippines will grant a property or housing loan. In addition, the eligibility of a foreigner will also depend on the type of visa they have, and on their financial stability.

Applying for a visa

A Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV) will be required for foreigners intending to retire in the Philippines. There are five different categories: Classic SRRV, SRRV Smile, Human Touch SRRV, Courtesy SRRV, and Expanded Courtesy SRRV.

Transaction fees

There are many fees and taxes that foreigners would have to pay to be able to buy property. Those refer to:

  • Deposit/downpayment: 10% to 30% of the purchase price.
  • Documentary stamp tax (DST): 1.5%, and multiplied with the sales value or zonal value—whichever is higher.
  • Local transfer tax: apart from the stamp duty, expats will need to pay 0.5% to 0.75% of transfer tax, which is also multiplied with the sales value or zonal value or whichever is higher.
  • Rental income tax: resident foreigners need to pay a specific amount and percentage of the excess depending on their income bracket. Non-residents are taxed a flat rate of 25% with no deductions for maintenance fees or depreciation of a property’s value.
  • Real property tax: 2% in Manila and 1% in other provinces. The rate is multiplied by 20% of the appraised value for residential property, and 50% for commercial properties.
  • Registration fees: 1%
  • Notary fees: 1% to 2%
  • Real estate agent fees: 3% to 5%
  • Capital gains tax: 6%, imposed on the sales value or zonal value.
  • SRRV application fee: USD 1,400, plus USD 300 for every dependent.

Just like other countries, the Philippine property prices may vary and depend on the position of the city and the local economy. And it’s crucial not to hurry into making a purchase until you’ve done enough homework, consulted with the right experts, and all the required criteria have been met.


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