How do ASEAN nations stack up in allowing foreigners to own a piece of their land or property?

We compiled a survey of how foreigner-friendly ASEAN countries are when it comes to property ownership and here are the results indicated by the following colour codes:


The ASEAN country with the friendliest policy towards foreign ownership of property is Malaysia followed by Vietnam; while the Philippines and Singapore are quite friendly with some restrictions. Four countries share the distinction of having severe restrictions – they are Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. And finally, the least friendly nations – Laos and Brunei.

Results are based on the current scene (in law and in practice) and may change in the near future as countries tweak their property laws governing foreign purchasers. With the exception of Brunei and to a certain extent Singapore, most ASEAN countries are trending towards having more open policies towards foreign purchasers. As AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) nears, it is anticipated that the freer movement of goods, services and people then will prompt governments there to further review their policies.


malaysiaMalaysia has arguably the most liberal foreign property ownership laws among ASEAN. Foreigners can own 100% of the property, can buy as many properties as they want (including freehold), can buy any type of property (except a few types) and can sell at any time to anyone [subject to real property gains tax (RPGT)].

Foreigners can’t own the following:

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