Without giving details about the time frame, Indonesian Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said that the government will soon allow foreigners to own luxurious apartments in Indonesia. This move would be the government’s latest move to boost the slowing economy. Currently, private foreign individuals cannot purchase property or own land in Indonesia. This prohibition has been in place for many years as Indonesian authorities were concerned that foreign ownership of Indonesian property and land would surge significantly.
5 December 2019 (closed)
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Today's Headlines Foreign Ownership
Real Estate Indonesia (REI) advises the Indonesian government to open up the country's property sector to foreign ownership as this is considered to benefit the Indonesian economy through the collection of taxes and foreign exchange earnings. According to Teguh Kinarto, vice-chairman of the REI's Central Board, the state can gain a lot of revenues through taxes, such as the property tax of 10%, luxury tax of 20%, as well as various other taxes. Currently, foreigners can only buy the right to use property in Indonesia, not the right to own.
Indonesia's central bank (Bank Indonesia) has approved Singapore's DBS Group to buy a maximum stake of 40 percent in Indonesia's Bank Danamon Indonesia, the sixth largest bank of Indonesia in terms of asset size. Last year, the DBS Group wanted to purchase a 67.73 percent stake, owned by Asia Financial Indonesia, in the bank but the purchase was delayed as Indonesian regulators wanted to limit foreign ownership in the country's financial sector due to fears of foreign domination.
Latest Columns Foreign Ownership
The Indonesian government set a 80 percent cap on foreign ownership in Indonesian insurance companies through Government Regulation No. 14/2018 on Foreign Ownership of Insurance Companies. Suahasil Nazara, Fiscal Policy Head at Indonesia's Finance Ministry, said foreigners can remain controlling a big stake (up to 80 percent) in the domestic insurance industry because it is believed that domestic insurance players still need the knowledge and capital that strategic foreign investors bring from abroad.
In the first two weeks of February 2018 foreign investors aggressively sold rupiah-denominated government bonds (in Indonesian: Surat Berharga Negara, or SBN) in the secondary market. Up to 14 February 2018, foreign investors sold IDR 18.69 trillion (approx. USD $1.4 billion) worth of government bonds in February.
Indonesia opened the property market to those foreigners who reside (legally) in Indonesia. However, it also set tough requirements regarding foreign ownership of Indonesian property. Moreover, it remains nearly impossible for expats to obtain a local mortgage to finance the purchase of property. Although local credit may actually not be attractive for foreigners as interest rates are high in Indonesia, it is interesting to take a closer look at why Indonesian banks reject to sell mortgages to foreigners and whether foreigners are actually enticed to buy property in Indonesia?
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