Indonesia real estate: COVID-19, relaxed foreign ownership laws and MotoGP are drawing property investors to tourist islands Bali and Lombok over Jakarta

Invest Islands eco-luxury villa. Photo: South China Morning Post

Indonesia’s moves to make it easier for foreigners to own property have been welcomed by the industry and end users alike. The Minister of Agrarian and Spatial Planning, Sofyan Djalil, whetted appetites when he reportedly told Indonesian property tycoons during a webinar in July that impending new rules would provide foreigners with similar ownership rights as locals. While that has not quite happened, the passing of the omnibus Law on Job Creation in October, which seeks to leverage foreign property investment as one of the pillars to reboot the nation’s economy after the pandemic, has made the pathway clearer.

Terje H. Nilsen, director of Seven Stones Indonesia, believes the government could not go so far as permitting foreigners to own freehold (or hak milik) title, alongside Indonesians, as this would undermine the constitution and agrarian law. However, the changes do allow foreigners to purchase using an HBG (or “right to build”) title, which Nilsen describes as a “game changer”. “This will encourage foreigners to choose Indonesia as a first or second home option,” he said. “Especially now, when more and more people work from home, they can do so in places which offer a superb lifestyle, great weather, spacious homes – both indoors and out – and where food and entertainment are still very cheap.”

Development company Invest Islands, with offices in Hong Kong, is also targeting local buyers for its Torok Hill Resort. Located on the south coast of Lombok, this project was recently named best upcoming hotel development in Indonesia at the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards and consists of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, all of which have private pools and views of the Indian Ocean.