How can Vietnamese transfer USD abroad to pay for house purchases?
Experts believe that no less than $8-9 billion flows out of Vietnam every year through different channels, despite Vietnam’s tight forex policy.
A report from NAR (National Association of Realtors) showed that in the last fiscal year, from April 2016 to March 2017, foreigners spent $153 billion to buy 284,455 real estate products in the US.
Of this amount, $3.06 billion, or 2 percent, was spent by Vietnamese. Since 2007, Vietnamese have been among the biggest realty buyers in the country, accounting for 1 percent, except in 2009 and 2012.
The information has stirred up the public. The question is not why Vietnamese are so rich to be able to buy houses in the US, but how they can transfer money abroad to make payment for house purchases.
Under the current regulations, individuals when traveling abroad must not bring more than $5,000.
Nguyen Tri Hieu, a banking expert, said on Tuoi Tre that SBV keeps strict control over the remittances abroad, while individuals only can remit money to pay for legitimate services such as study and healthcare.
To be able to buy houses in the US and remit money via banks, citizens have to make investments or set up businesses in the US. However, the number of these investors is modest. Therefore, Hieu thinks the money has been transferred through unofficial channels.
Dung, a woman in HCMC who has bought a house in Houston, Texas, when interviewed by Thanh Nien about how to transfer money abroad, said she did this through different channels. The majority of the amount of money was transferred through intermediary services with the fee of 1 percent.
She had to give money to service providers in Vietnam in advance and her partner will receive the money after 3-4 days. The service is a referral from her friends. Dung said there are many such money transfer rings.
“The money may be exchanged with kieu hoi remitters from the US, or with travelers and businesspeople who come to Vietnam,” she said.
Meanwhile, a HCMC-based company which gives consultancy on buying houses in the US said the company has a partner which provides kieu hoi services with branches in many countries, including the US. An executive of the company affirmed that the remittance of millions of dollars can be implemented through the company very quickly.
Besides, money can also be transferred under the mode of export contracts signed between Vietnamese and US companies. The fee for the service is 2-3 percent.
Le Hoang Chau from the Vietnam Real Estate Association said if the figure released by NAR is true, this means there are loopholes in forex management.
Luong Bang, VNN