Planning your expat retirement in the Philippines

Planning your expat retirement in the Philippines

Planning your expat retirement in the Philippines

The Philippines’ popularity as an expat destination is now growing apace, with many recent arrivals deciding to buy their own homes.

As its economy strengthens and more foreigners decide to make the country their forever home, the Philippines real estate sector is becoming busier year by year. Unlike in many other Southeast Asian countries, owning a home is relatively straightforward and there are a huge number of attractive cities and smaller towns strung out along the archipelago’s stunning coastlines. The people are welcoming and friendly, and English is spoken almost everywhere, making major transactions such as buying home easier as a result.

The country’s constitution makes foreign land ownership illegal, but it’s possible to negotiate a long term lease of up to 50 years and it’s perfectly legal to own the house itself. Other options include buying a home in the name of your Filipino citizen spouse. For expatriates who prefer the convenience of a condo-based lifestyle, apartments can be legally bought in condo complexes holding no more than 40 per cent foreign ownership. Most sizeable expat communities are located in major cities and in popular seaside locations such as Cebu.

If you’re planning to purchase a home, you’ll need reputable professionals guiding you every step of the way, including a registered, licensed real estate agent and a reliable attorney experienced in property law for foreigners. Housing loans can be had from major banks, dependent on visas and proven financial stability. Would-be expats planning a retirement in the Philippines will need to apply for one of the five categories of the country’s Special Resident Retiree Visa. Requirements are specific, and are best researched on the Philippines’ visa pages.

Property prices depend on location as well as the local economy, with homes in rural areas and the more far-flung islands considerably cheaper than those in Manila and its nearby islands. Cebu is a popular tourist destination a well as being a favourite for Western expat retirees, and the cost of living in general is low enough to plan a retirement dependent on your home country state pension. One serious advantage for active retirees is that expats are allowed to start a business or work. Safety concerns are occasionally made much of in the media, but the only regions to totally avoid due to civil unrest and terrorism are the Sula archipelago and Mindanao.

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