Indonesia to allow foreign buyers

Indonesia looks set to follow in the footsteps of Vietnam by relaxing foreign property ownership rules.

Media reports have suggested the Indonesian government will draft new rules before the end of this month that will allow foreigners to own luxury apartments, subject to a number of restrictions.

Strictly speaking, foreigners are not allowed to own property in Indonesia currently, Sofyan Djalil, the coordinating minister for Economic Affairs, told media in Jakarta on Thursday however similarly to a foreigner owning land in Thailand, it is possible to get around the current laws in Indonesia using local citizens as proxies or through a long-term lease.

The new law, which could come into effect in as little as a few months, is aimed at boosting economic conditions in the country.

“If people from developed nations want to retire here or spend their winters here, then that will create jobs and boost spending power,” Djalil told reporters.

“It will make the property market live again.”

The government is expected to allow foreigners to buy luxury apartments only, and not landed property, he said.

No details of the minimum foreign buying limits, such as those which exist in some states in Malaysia, have been released.

Thailand, and its real estate agents and developers, will need to monitor this move closely, and determine whether Indonesian luxury property will present a more attractive and cost-effective option for buyers and investors who only want to buy property in Southeast Asia – with no specific country in mind.