Buying a House in the Philippines

Thinking of buying a House in the Philippine? If you plan to retire and live in the Philippines, you might be considering such a purchase. But if you are a foreigner, can you even buy a house in the Philippines? Do you have the legal right to purchase property here?


According to Filipino law a foreigner  CAN legally own a house or building but CANNOT own the land on which the house or structure is built.  However, it is legal for the Filipino spouse of a foreigner to purchase property in their name.  Only Filipino citizens can own land. However, there are some exceptions to that law i.e.,   if a corporation or partnership is formed that is at least 60% Filipino owned; the corporation can purchase land in the Philippines or if the land was acquired before the 1935 Philippine constitution.


Also,  Filipinos married to foreigners,  and who kept their Filipino citizenship may purchase property or buy a home in the Philippines. If an alien decided to rent or lease property, that is allowed by law as long as the initial contract is for 50 years and is renewable every 25 years. A foreigner can rent a lot and also legally own the house on the leased property.

Aliens are also allowed to purchase condominiums  and shares in condominium corporations up to 40 % of the total and outstanding capital stock of a Filipino owned or controlled condominium corporation.

However, there are misconceptions that a foreigner can own a house and lot in the Philippines. Those claims are  probably referring to those foreigners that have a condominium title to their property. The easiest solution is to be married to a Filipino and have the title to the property put in their name. That is the case with the home and property that my Filipina wife owns in Guimaras where we live.  I just have to be careful not to get her so angry with me that she boots me out of the house! So if you are planning to retire to the Philippines to live and are thinking of buying a home in the Philippines, it is possible to do  so  under some exceptions listed above.

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  1. rich pawly says:

    Yep, keep your asawa happy 🙂 you could always become a citizen. The whole corporation thing is sketchy at best. Philly has written about it previously, you are at the mercy of the “controlling” partners/s and they could boot you just the same.

  2. Dave says:

    HAVE to keep my asawa happy, Rich. Yeah, the corporation thing sounds complicated, and risky, from what you say. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Lance says:

    I read somewhere that a foreigner can own land in the Philippines if it is acquired through an inheritance, but I have not confirmed this.

    • Dave says:

      Hi Lance, yes, that is true, but certain restrictions do apply.

    • mildred says:

      through inheritance YES!

  4. Dave DeWall says:

    That’s true, Lance, under certain conditions.