Most National Assembly members on October 24 agreed that the amended Housing Law should allow more foreigners to be eligible to buy or own houses in Vietnam.

However, they also agreed that strict regulations must also be implemented to prevent them from cornering the market.

Under the proposal, foreign individuals and organisations allowed to stay and operate in Vietnam can own houses belonging to housing projects for the period outlined in their investment licence. Organisations or individuals can own houses for a period of up to 50 years.

The duration can be extended and they can also lease their houses to other people.

However, foreigners will not be allowed to buy houses in certain areas. The number of houses or apartments that they can buy in an area or block will also be limited.

Many NA members said there should be stricter requirements on the time they reside in Vietnam and methods of payment to prevent fraud. Payments must also be made through credit organisations with permission to operate in Vietnam.

The amended Law proposes that "any foreigner who is allowed to enter Vietnam and is keen to own a house in the country will have the right to buy and own it".

Others called for stricter requirements on ownership to guarantee national defence and security and avoid foreigners taking control the domestic housing market.

NA members also discussed the need to establish a development fund for affordable housing, but are still divided on the issue.

In the afternoon, the NA also discussed draft revisions to the Law on Real Estate Business.-VNA