If you are a retiree looking to stretch the money you’ve saved and want to live in Southeast Asia, you should be able to find very affordable properties to buy in Laos. Although you cannot own the land a house is built on if you are a foreigner, you can buy the house itself with land use rights. The land may not be yours, but the house will be. The price you pay for housing will depend on where in Laos you wish to reside and the type of house you purchase.
Available Housing in Laos
There are many types of housing options in Laos and in some of its major cities, such as Vientiane or Pakse. Vientiane is the largest city in the country and its capital, so there have been some investments by the government and foreign businesses to improve the housing situation. The country has a rich French Colonial history, but under the previous Communist regime, many of the houses and buildings were not well cared for and some are falling down.
Fortunately, there have been many new housing developments. If you are considering retiring to Laos or moving there because of business, you should be able to find a property you like. In Sisattanak, one of the districts in Vientiane, you should be able to find reasonably priced housing when you do an online search. Although many sites will show pictures of the structures, they may only show a street view and you will need to see the house in person.
It is wise to contact a local real estate agent about any houses you may be interested in buying, especially the luxury homes available in the capital city. Unless you know the city you’re moving to, a local agent can help locate homes in good neighborhoods for you. They can also make appointments for you with the landlords to view the homes, negotiate the terms of the lease, and put you in touch with bankers, contractors and moving companies in the area when you are ready to move into a house.
Many retirees choose to live in Vientiane because of its conveniences and its proximity to Thailand. You only have to cross the Mekong River to get to NongKhai, Thailand, where there are better shopping opportunities and access to better medical facilities. In addition, if you wish to take short trips from Vientiane, you can reach Bangkok by air in about an hour and Kuala Lumpur in about two and a half hours.
One thing you will have to get used to is walking, taking a taxi or using public transportation to travel throughout the country. Along with land, foreigners are not allowed to own motor vehicles, even if they happen to be married to native Laotians. Fortunately, public transportation is readily available in cities like Vientiane.
It will take some adjustments to live in Laos, but the people are generally generous and welcoming to foreigners. You will find many housing options, from traditional wooden structures to mansion-like Western housing, as well.