Land ownership in the Philippines is strictly regulated and is restricted to Filipino individuals/entities. A company is defined as Filipino only if it has 60% Filipino board members. In addition, the Anti-counterfeiting Act imposes some restrictions on foreigners' ownership of land. However, foreigners can purchase residential (including apartments and villas), industrial and commercial buildings without owning land rights, with some exceptions:
The property was acquired before 1935;
If the foreigner inherits through natural succession or legal succession;
Less than 40% ownership in a condominium project;
Filipino citizens married to foreigners;
Originally a natural-born citizen.
They can also sign long-term land leases and enjoy the right to use the land.
The average purchase price of apartments in downtown Makati is about 198,333 Philippine pesos (about 4,000 USD) per square meter. In the outlying areas, prices average 127,500 pesos per square meter.
Apartments in central Quezon cost an average of 46,666 pesos (about 1,000 USD) per square meter, while apartments in the outlying areas cost about 25,200 pesos (about 550 USD) per square meter.
Apartments in downtown Manila cost about 133,888 pesos (about 2,900 USD) per square meter, while the average price in the outlying areas is about 70,250 pesos per square meter.
These prices are based on location, room type, and function configuration. In highly urbanized and commercial areas, prices are much higher than in other areas.
Apartments: This is the easiest way to buy. Foreigners can buy single apartment units, but only if 60 percent of the units in the building are owned by Filipinos. The owner must pay a monthly flat contribution and miscellaneous expenses for furnishings, upkeep, and maintenance, house inspection, association fees, etc.
Single-family Villas: Under the Investor Leasing Act in the Philippines, foreigners can enter into long-term leases with landowners. You can also buy a villa but have no rights to the land on which it is located.
You can choose the type of house according to your needs, including single-family house, townhouse, bungalow, multi-story house, villa, etc. Go through the house and evaluate its structure, ventilation, resale value, building quality, neighborhood, safety, etc.
Foreigners can buy Philippines land provided by a company or enterprise whose 60 percent ownership should be owned by Filipino citizens. However, the company/business must be registered with the Government Investment Committee. And must have the necessary permission to buy/sell, or act as an intermediary in real estate transactions.
Foreigners are allowed 1,000 square meters of land in urban areas and 2.5 acres in rural areas. Any real estate transaction may involve other fees such as stamp duty, capital gains tax, registration fees, etc.
Getting credit in the Philippines has become easier and faster. Different banking or brokerage services should be tailored to your needs and preferences. Talk to the bank staff about your eligibility for a loan and get details of the conditions you need to meet. All the necessary documents need to be provided along with the loan application, so it's wise to hire a qualified broker to handle the paperwork.
Buying property in the Philippines is a worthwhile investment, both financially and emotionally. It is a beautiful country with friendly people, fascinating geography and a wonderful way of life. It is important, however, that you have the right knowledge and do thorough research before you begin the process to avoid legal complications and risks.