Should I Buy Beachfront Property in the Philippines?
The Philippines is an incredibly beautiful set of islands set in the idyllic South Pacific. They are far enough away from mainland Southeast Asia that they don’t attract a horde of tourists every single year, yet they contain some of the most beautiful, pristine beaches in the world. The tropical climate on the islands gives it an amount of biodiversity found few other places in the world. There is also world class diving, coral reefs, and any number of other water sports you would like to take part in, including kite boarding and surfing.
There are over 7,000 islands to choose from in this country, but only about 2,000 of those islands are inhabited. The islands are split into three major groups, Luzon, Mindanao, and Visayas. Luzon is the northernmost set of the islands, and contains the largest island, which is home to the capital of Manila. Visayas contains the middle group of islands, and Mindanao is the southernmost group of islands. With so many islands in such an idyllic location, beachfront property in the Philippines is not hard to come by. However, there are several obstructions to owning property in the Philippines.
First, despite the fact that there are many locations for eco-tourism, diving, and other water sports, not to mention great weather, the Philippines has received a lot of bad press. It’s in the middle of a volcanic fault line known as the “Ring of Fire” making volcanic eruptions in certain areas a relatively common affair. Depending on what islands you’re on, there are also typhoons that hit the islands, sometimes in devastating form. If you can deal with everything Mother Nature throws at you, the Philippines also have their share of political troubles. Since being colonized by the Spanish, the country has been predominantly Catholic, but there is a small Muslim majority on some of the islands that stirs up trouble from time to time. Perhaps the most important flaw holding people back from owning land in the Philippines is the corruption present in the government. Despite recent efforts to tackle this, the Philippines is consistently one of the worst countries in the world for corruption, which will limit your ability to own the land, and also to sell or rent it.
If you decide that even with these troubles, owning beachfront real estate in the Philippines is worth it, there’s another obstacle in your way. Foreigners are not permitted to privately own land in the Philippines. Unfortunately, there is no way for you to directly own any Filipino beachfront property. What foreigners can do is control up to 40% of the equity in a domestic company that owns land. These companies are generally joint venture development projects that are run by Filipino individuals and build condos and other apartment blocks. This is because the lease holding is much easier and more straightforward for the condos. Instead of just owning 40% of a piece of land, leaving you out maneuvered if your Filipino business partner decides to pull a fast one, Foreigners are allowed to own individual condos in a complex, provided that they don’t own more than 40% of the total amount of units.
The Philippines is a great area with some of the beast beaches in the world. Unfortunately, the country also has many problems it needs to tackle. Whiles these issues don’t make the country completely unstable, serious issues like corruption make owning property a risk because your rights to it may be violated by the highest bidder to a certain government official. On top of this, foreigners can not directly own land in the country making it more difficult to acquire beachfront properties. With all this taken into account, while the Philippines has a great atmosphere, great people, and great beaches, it may not be worth investing your hard earned money into the country and instead keeping it as a vacation destination, especially when there are so many other great places to own land in the world.