Although China has opened its real-estate market to foreigners, not every foreigner is entitled to buy a house in Mainland China; only those who have worked or studied in the country for more than one year are eligible. Additionally, each eligible foreigner can only buy one residential property; commercial properties can only be purchased in the name of a company.


Foreigners must have worked or studied in China for a minimum of one year before buying residential houses. This law does not apply to foreigners of Chinese heritage or Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau residents.

Branches or representative offices of foreign entities in China can only buy non-residential properties in  registered cities.

Each Foreigner can only have one residential property in China. 

The real estate developers must have the Housing Sales to Foreigners Certificate (an approval paper from the local housing authority). Without the paper, it is illegal for them to sell apartments and houses to foreigners, so they will not be able to give you the property ownership certificate.

Documents needed

Valid passport and visa or Residence Permit. 

Proof that they have worked or studied in China for over a year, such as a valid Residence Permit, or a visa with an exit and entry stamp. 

A written promise that the foreigner does not possess other housing property in China. 

Branches or representative offices of foreign entities in China need to present the business approval document and registration certificate created when the office was first set up in China, and – if relevant – a written promise that purchased housing property is necessary for the work being conducted in China. 


The broker or real-estate agency will usually help with the paperwork needed to obtain the property ownership certificate for your house. 

If you are not familiar with the Chinese real estate industry, it’s a good idea to consult a lawyer or ask a friend who has the experience to ensure that there is nothing in the contract to be wary of. Buyers are required to pay three percent of the housing price as stamp tax, two percent maintenance tax, and 1.5 percent contract tax.

Source: GlobalTimes

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