One aspect of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) that has created confusion is land ownership. Given that the AEC will provide for free flows of capital, services and goods, some people have assumed that AEC nationals will also be able to buy land anywhere in the region. This is not the case. All countries in Asean place restrictions on land ownership and these will continue under the AEC.
Nonetheless, as the AEC draws closer, we are seeing a trend toward the relaxation of property laws which is a natural consequence of the increasing investment flows within the region.
In 2011 Laos changed its laws to allow foreigners to purchase land from provincial and capital authorities — under certain conditions and with a minimum investment of US$500,000. Meanwhile, Indonesia and Myanmar now allow long-term leases of 50 years or more in certain circumstances, while Vietnam offers leasehold land for terms of up to 50 years; however it does not allow private land ownership.
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