Lao property developers call for condominium law

Vientiane (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Local and foreign property investors are requesting the government to consider passing a condominium law that would allow foreigners to own apartment and condo units, saying this would accelerate growth of the property market.

Local investors have already drafted such a law, which they submitted to the government two years ago.

But the law relates to many sectors of government so it will take a long time to review the draft and collect input, Managing Director of, Mr Houmphan Saiyalath, told Vientiane Times recently.

Among the Asean member countries, only Laos and Brunei lack a law of this kind. But Brunei is a very rich country and is governed by a prince so such a law may not be necessary there, he added.

It would be a good idea for Laos to have a condominium law because it would encourage more foreigners to invest in high-rise condos here.

Mr Houmphan said that in other Asean countries, Cambodia for example, there was a law on foreign ownership which allowed foreigners to own property, meaning foreigners came to the country and spent millions on high-rise condos.

Laos has attempted to persuade foreigners to do the same here but the government has prioritised special economic zones. Outside of these zones investors are bound by the Investment Promotion Law.

Foreigners have the means to buy land and build high buildings so property developers have asked the government to consider the introduction of laws and policies in keeping with present-day circumstances.

Developers are hoping the law will be passed so they can go ahead with the construction of high-rise condominiums, Mr Houmphan said.

The construction of high-rise buildings is regulated by the Construction Law which states that buildings near government offices and major tourist attractions shall not be more than 26 metres high.

Existing tall buildings rely on long-term rent according to the Land Law, Mr Houmphan said.

It is essential that Laos integrate with other Asean member countries and the modernisation of the international real estate market is an important part of this. Every country in the bloc has a real estate association except Laos and Brunei.

Last year Laos and Brunei were invited to be observers at the Arena Convention and Exhibition organised by the Asean Real Estate Network Alliance (ARENA).

ARENA, which was established in 2016, is a grouping of national real estate associations in the Asean region. The coalition was founded by the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents, Institute of Estate Agents of Singapore, and the Philippine Association of Real Estate Board Inc. in 2012.

“It was a great opportunity for Lao real estate to get access to a regional platform. Once we set up our own real estate association, it will help us to join the group,” Mr Houmphan said.

“We will be able to get up-to-date information about real estate developments in the region, and will be able to transfer customers to each other.”

“And it will encourage more foreigners to invest in the property market in Laos,” he added.