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Liberalized Land Ownership Ahead?

President SBY Calls for Thorough Study of Possible Change in Law to Allow Foreign Land Ownership.

(3/2/2009) The Jakarta Post reported on February 18, 2009, that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the National Land Agency and members of his cabinet to "conduct an in-depth study" into the feasibility and effects of changing current law to allow foreigners the direct ownership of a home in Indonesia. Current law explicitly forbids land and property ownership by non-Indonesians. In the past, efforts to liberalize those rules to allow foreign land ownership have been thwarted by the Indonesian Constitutional Court who have consistently ruled such measures would violate the 1945 Constitution.

A Radical Change of Course

Hinting a change to the current property ownership rules could be contemplated, President Yudhoyono said: "The government has no objection to this, provided it will benefit the people and make the country's climate more conducive to foreign investment." The President's comments were made at the inauguration of 114,000 units of low-cost housing in Lamongan, East Java.

The President's spoke in response to questions raised by members of the Indonesian Real Estate Association (REI) during a Presidential dialogue held with housing developers and homeowners.

Teguh Satria, the Chairman of REI has called for a 70-year home ownership facility for foreigners as a means of making Indonesian real estate competitive with ownership rights available to foreigners in competing markets in the region, specifically in Singapore.

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