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Laos is a small country in terms of population, but big in terms of land area.
With one of the highest economic growths in SEA and landlocked by a number of other growing countries in the region, it will continue to grow over the years.
Still, it’s somewhat more difficult to invest in property, at least compared to a majority of its neighbors.
In this article, I explain the essentials you need to know when investing in Laos property, for example, about ownership regulations, taxes, where you should buy and more.
Can foreigners buy property in Laos?
Buying property in Laos is not as easy compared to many of its neighboring countries.
You can buy and own physical structures (including houses). This is how properties are often advertised: you simply buy a house with a leasehold agreement of the land that will cover you for a time period of up to 30 years, sometimes with an opportunity of renewal up to 99 years.
If you’re lucky, the property is built within an SEZ (Special Economic Zone) which gives you the right to lease the land for up to 75 years, straight away.
Problems when buying a strata-titled property
But there’s a krux for strata-titled properties (condos):
The problem lies within the fact that Laos don’t have a separate law on strata-titled property. Those are existing in all other countries in Southeast Asia.
Without a separate law on strata-titled property, there’s no clear separation of ownership of the land and the physical structure.
In the end of the day, the lessor of the land owns the physical structure as well.
So, when the lease period expires, the land and everything above it goes back to the lessor, unless the leasehold period is renewed.