Purchasing a home in their homeland is a dream that many overseas Filipinos have. These properties may be part of their investment plan set in place to earn a passive income, or simply a place to go home to when returning to the Philippines. What are the laws involved for Balikbayans looking to purchase property in the Philippines and did you know about the Balikbayan Program of the Philippines?
The Balikbayan Program
It has been 30 years since the inception of the Balikbayan Program that was introduced with the intention of enticing overseas Filipinos to visit the Philippines. This Balikbayan privilege extends to persons with the following status:
- Filipino citizen who has been constantly out of the Philippines for at least ONE year from the last recorded date of departure.
- Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)
- Former Filipino citizen now holding a foreign passport with Filipino citizenship naturalized.
Balikbayans who are eligible for the status have these following benefits made available to them as well as their spouses and children:
- Travel tax exemption
- One-year Visa-free travel to the Philippines
- Duty-free shopping of sum up to USD$2,000
Balikbayans seeking to purchase property in the Philippines have to abide by certain limitations as per the laws of the government. Despite the restrictions, Balikbayans generally are allowed to buy and register land bought in the Philippines under their own name. However, there are limitations to how much they are able to purchase.
For Filipinos who hold dual citizenship are able to purchase as much lands as a Filipino citizen under the Dual Citizenship Law of 2003.
How much can Balikbayans buy?
When purchasing land for residential use, Balikbayans can only buy a maximum of 1,000 square meters for urban land and 1 hectare for rural land. If the land is being purchased for commercial purposes (business or investment), the limitations are capped at 5,000 square meters of urban land and 3 hectares for rural land.
Land should be used appropriately
The land that has been bought for the purpose intended can ONLY be used as such. For example, if a person buys rural land that is supposed to be for commercial use, they cannot use it for residential purposes.
Buyer and spouses
In cases whereby a both spouses seek to purchase land in the Philippines, the total unit of land should NOT exceed the limit as stated above.
Preferred Places To Invest In
A recent poll conducted by the New Perspective Media Group in the United Arab Emirates region revealed that 80% of Filipino workers (OFWs) stationed there are interested in purchasing property in the Philippines within the next year.
The survey also revealed the top 10 preferred locations in the Philippines that these OFWs are interested in investing in. Manila leads the list with a majority of the votes at 53%, followed by Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Davao, Cebu and Iloilo; Bacolod, Pampanga and Bulacan rounds up the ten, coming in 8th, 9th and 10th place respectively.