Vietnam to allow foreigners to buy property

Hanoi – Vietnam has passed a law allowing certain categories of foreigners to buy apartments beginning in 2009, the first time the Communist country has allowed non-citizens to own real estate, the government website announced Friday.

The country’s National Assembly approved the new law Thursday, with 88 per cent of deputies voting for it.

Foreigners eligible under the law can only buy apartments in developments approved for foreign residency, not houses or land. Ownership will be for a term of 50 years, by which time the foreign owners must sell or transfer the property.

Real estate developers said the law was likely to give a much needed boost to Vietnam’s property markets, which have softened recently after explosive growth in 2007.

‘It could have a 20 to 30 per cent impact in terms of rising prices,’ said William Badger, a manager at Leonidas Management, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based real estate company Tung Shing Group. ‘You’re talking about people with money in hand, so we would imagine that a lot of people will want to buy.’

‘Similar laws have been passed in China, Thailand and Malaysia,’ said Misha Chellam, assistant to the chairman of Hanoi-based developer Vietnam Land. ‘Each time in those countries when a law like this was passed, it significantly boosted demand.’

Those eligible to buy apartments include foreign firms purchasing housing for staff, and four categories of individuals. These include foreigners working at Vietnamese firms, foreigners married to Vietnamese, foreigners with special skills needed by Vietnam’s economy, and foreigners who have been awarded medals or other honors by the government.

It was not immediately clear how much the new law would differ from current law allowing foreigners to obtain 50-year leases on property in Vietnam. Normally in Vietnam, new laws are followed by decrees and circulars clarifying how the law will be implemented, and developers expect that the move from lease to ownership will grant foreigners additional security.

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/business/news/article_1407074.php/Vietnam_to_allow_foreigners_to_buy_property

Vietnam warns of hand, foot and mouth disease spreading among children

HANOI, Vietnam: Vietnam has warned health officials nationwide to be on the lookout for an infectious disease that has killed 12 children in the country this year, a health official said Friday.

So far, Vietnam has reported about 2,800 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease, a common childhood illness that typically causes little more than a fever and rash, said Nguyen Huy Nga, director of the Preventive Medicine Department, under Vietnam’s Ministry of Health. Nga did not give the number of cases from previous years.

About 400 of those cases have been blamed on enterovirus 71, or EV-71, one of several viruses that cause the illness. EV-71 can result in a more serious form of hand, foot and mouth disease that can lead to paralysis, brain swelling or death.

Neighboring China has been particularly hard hit by the virus this year, with more than 25,000 cases among children and 43 deaths.

In Vietnam, state media quoted Trinh Quan Huan, vice minister of health, as saying the situation is becoming more complicated with the virus spreading in the north of the country.

The disease is usually characterized by ulcers in the mouth, rash and blisters on hands and feet. Since it mostly sickens children and is easily spread, the ministry has ordered that kindergartens should be closed for two weeks if at least two cases are reported.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/05/23/asia/AS-MED-Vietnam-Child-Virus.php