Balikbayans and Philippine Real Estate Ownership

On February 4, 2009 by Lauren

The Philippine real estate market is being kept afloat by OFWs and Filipinos abroad, but can natural-born Filipinos who lost their citizenship, or balikbayans, own real estate property in the Philippines?

The Philipipne Law says yes, but there are several limitations to this:

1) The land may be acquired through donation, sale, tax sale, execution sale, or foreclosure.
2) The land can only be used for residential or business purposes.
3) If the land will be used for residential purposes, one can only own 1,000 sq meters maximum of urban land, or 1 hectare of rural land.
4) If the land will be used for business purposes, one can only own 5,000 sq meters maximum of urban land or 3 hectares of rural land.
5) A maximum of two lots that do not exceed the maximum limit in the total combined areas is allowed. The lots must be located in different municipalities or cities.
6) Either urban or rural lots can be acquired – not both.
7) For married former Filipinos, either one or both spouses may avail of this within the limitations above. This means that if both avail of property, the total area acquired by the couple must not exceed the maximum.
8) Transfeeres who already own urban or rural property for business or other purposes are entitled to be a transferee, so long as when added to those already owned, the property must not exceed the maximum.

Dual citizenship holders, however, are allowed full rights of real estate possession in the Philippines.

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