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How to make a good property investment in Indonesia

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Everything you need to know is included in our Indonesia Property Pack

Whether you're in the market for a tropical villa in Bali, a modern condominium in Jakarta, or a lucrative rental property on the pristine beaches of Lombok, Indonesia presents diverse real estate options to cater to your investment preferences.

However, making a property investment in this country can be challenging, especially with all the new laws and regulations involved.

We're committed to breaking down everything you need to know in a way that's easy to grasp, making it simpler for you. If you have any lingering questions, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Also, for a more detailed analysis, you can download our property pack for Indonesia, made by our country expert and reviewed by locals.

How is investing in real estate in Indonesia?

Is Indonesia an attractive destination for property investment?

Indonesia, with its sprawling archipelago, presents a unique and attractive landscape for property investment.

The reason people are drawn to Indonesian real estate lies in its diversity and potential for growth. The real estate market here is dynamic, which is evident from the consistent demand for properties, especially in urban and developing areas.

A notable data point underscoring this dynamism is the steady increase in property values in major cities like Jakarta, Bali, and Surabaya.

Looking at the historical performance, the Indonesian real estate market has seen a general upward trend, especially in the past decade.

There have been fluctuations, as with any market, and Indonesia was not immune to the impacts of global economic crises. However, the market has shown resilience and has bounced back, often with renewed vigor.

The types of property investment that tend to perform well in Indonesia vary by region. In Bali, for instance, there's a high demand for vacation homes and villas due to its status as a major tourist destination.

Jakarta, being the capital, sees a high demand for both residential and commercial properties, catering to a more urban and business-centric crowd. Budget-wise, Indonesia offers a wide spectrum, from affordable housing projects to luxury real estate, catering to a broad range of investors.

One very specific and positive aspect of Indonesian properties, especially in areas like Bali, is the integration of traditional architectural elements with modern design.

This blend of traditional Balinese architecture with contemporary luxury offers a unique investment opportunity, quite different from what you might find in other countries. It appeals to investors and buyers looking for something that captures the essence of Indonesian culture and aesthetics.

Regarding safety and stability for investment, Indonesia offers a relatively secure environment. The country has been working to improve its legal and regulatory framework to protect and encourage foreign investment.

While there are certain regulations specific to foreign investors, the overall climate is conducive to investment.

Understanding Bahasa Indonesia, the local language, is beneficial but not a necessity for property investment in Indonesia. In major cities and tourist areas, English is widely spoken, and there are plenty of real estate agents and legal professionals who can facilitate the investment process for non-native speakers.

However, a basic understanding of the language and local customs can enhance the investment experience and help in navigating the nuances of the Indonesian property market.

What are the trends forecasts for the real estate market in Indonesia?

The Indonesian housing market has been experiencing a notable shift in recent years, influenced by a variety of factors.

As you consider investing in this space, it's essential to understand these dynamics and how they might shape the future.

Firstly, there's been a growing demand for affordable housing in Indonesia. This surge is primarily driven by the country's burgeoning middle class and urbanization trends. Cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bali have seen increased demand for residential properties, particularly among young professionals and families.

This trend suggests a potential rise in the real estate market, especially in urban and suburban areas.

Another key factor is the Indonesian government's commitment to infrastructure development. Significant investments in roads, public transport, and utilities often boost property values in the surrounding areas.

For instance, the development of mass rapid transit systems in Jakarta has already increased the appeal of nearby residential properties. This kind of infrastructure growth could indicate a positive trajectory for real estate values, particularly in areas slated for future development.

However, there are also political and economic factors that could impact property investments. Indonesia's economic stability, fluctuating interest rates, and currency valuation play crucial roles in the real estate market.

A stable or growing economy usually bodes well for real estate, but any economic downturn or political instability could lead to market volatility.

Moreover, government policies and upcoming legislation are critical to monitor. For example, Indonesia has had restrictive property ownership laws for foreigners, which, if relaxed, could significantly increase foreign investment in real estate.

Additionally, any changes in tax laws, land acquisition, and building regulations could either stimulate or hinder market growth.

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What types of property can you buy in Indonesia? What are the prices and yields?

If you need a detailed and updated analysis of the prices, rents and yields, you can get our full guide about real estate investment in Indonesia.

Investing in property in Indonesia presents a variety of options, including residential, commercial, and land investments.

As an investor, you can certainly consider building a property, but it's important to be aware of the legal and regulatory landscape. Foreign ownership is subject to certain restrictions, but options like leasehold properties are available.

In terms of residential properties, prices vary widely between cities and regions. Jakarta, as a major urban center, tends to have higher property prices compared to other cities.

The average cost for a decent residential property in major cities could range from USD 100,000 to USD 300,000, depending on location, size, and amenities.

The ratio of renters to owners in Indonesia is influenced by urbanization and economic factors. In major cities, there is a significant rental market, with many people opting to rent due to affordability and flexibility.

The buy-to-let market is quite active, attracting both local and foreign investors. The rental yield potential, especially in urban areas and tourist hotspots, can be quite attractive, often ranging from 5% to 8% annually, depending on the location and type of property.

Rental demand in cities is generally high, driven by the urban workforce and the student population. Locations near business districts, universities, or major attractions are particularly in demand.

The impact of tourism on the property market is notable, especially in areas like Bali and Jakarta. Short-term rental demand spikes during peak tourist seasons, affecting both demand and pricing. Properties in tourist-friendly locations can fetch higher rental rates on a short-term basis, making them appealing for investors looking at Airbnb-style rentals.

Reselling property in Indonesia can vary in ease. In high-demand areas, properties can be resold relatively quickly, while in less popular areas, it might take longer.

The typical holding period for investment properties ranges from 5 to 10 years. This period allows for appreciation in property value, especially in developing areas or in response to infrastructure improvements.

Capital gains prospects are generally positive, with estimates ranging from 10% to 20% over a holding period, depending on the location and market conditions.

However, these are estimates and can be influenced by economic factors, political stability, and changes in property laws.

Which regions in Indonesia offer the best investment opportunities?

Foreigners often look towards Indonesia as a desirable location for property investment, attracted by its natural beauty, culture, and growing economy.

The kind of foreigners who are typically drawn to Indonesia include retirees, investors, and expatriates working in the region. Each group has different priorities, such as seeking a peaceful retirement haven, a profitable investment, or a comfortable living environment close to work.

In Indonesia, popular regions for foreign property investment vary based on budget and purpose. Bali has always been a top choice due to its stunning landscapes and vibrant culture.

However, it's important to note that Bali, while offering a high quality of life, can be expensive in terms of property prices. Despite this, the potential for rental income, particularly in tourist-heavy areas, remains high.

On the other end of the spectrum, areas like Lombok and the Gili Islands are becoming increasingly popular. These regions offer a more budget-friendly option compared to Bali, yet still provide beautiful scenery and a growing tourist market.

The lower initial investment in these areas could potentially yield high returns as their popularity continues to rise.

Jakarta, as the capital city, is another key area for investment. It attracts a different kind of investor – those looking for urban property, often for commercial purposes or rental to expatriates and locals.

The property market in Jakarta can be volatile, but the high demand in certain areas, especially near business districts, makes it a potentially lucrative investment.

For future predictions, areas around Yogyakarta and Surabaya show promise. These cities are experiencing economic growth, leading to increased demand for housing. Their cultural significance and developing infrastructure make them attractive for long-term investment.

Property prices and rental demand in these regions are expected to rise as they become more integrated with the broader economy and as tourism expands.

However, there are regions to be cautious about. Areas with political instability, frequent natural disasters, or lacking in infrastructure should be approached with caution.

Additionally, some regions have strict property ownership regulations for foreigners, which can complicate investment. It's essential to thoroughly research and understand these regulations before investing.

Here is a summary table to help you visualize better. If you need more detailed data and information, please check our property pack for Indonesia.

Region Attractions Typical Investors Investment Considerations
Bali Stunning landscapes, vibrant culture Retirees, investors High property prices, high rental income potential
Lombok and Gili Islands Beautiful scenery, growing tourist market Budget-conscious investors More affordable, potential for high returns
Jakarta Capital city, urban property Commercial investors, rental to expatriates Volatile market, high demand near business districts
Yogyakarta and Surabaya Cultural significance, economic growth Long-term investors Increasing property prices and rental demand
Politically unstable or disaster-prone areas N/A High-risk investors Approach with caution

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Who can invest in real estate in Indonesia?

Investing in property as a foreigner in Indonesia

Investing in housing property in Indonesia as a foreigner comes with specific regulations and restrictions you need to be aware of.

Unlike local citizens, foreigners have different rights when it comes to owning property in Indonesia.

Firstly, as a foreigner, you cannot own land in Indonesia in the same way as a local citizen.

The most common way for foreigners to invest in property is through a leasehold agreement, not a freehold ownership. This means you can lease the property for a certain period, typically ranging from 25 to 30 years, and this can often be extended.

However, outright land ownership is not possible under Indonesian law for foreigners.

The regulations do not vary much based on your country of origin, but your residency status in Indonesia does play a role. You don't necessarily need to live in Indonesia to purchase and own property, but having a residence permit can make the process smoother.

A tourist visa is usually not sufficient for property investment; it's better to have a residency status like a KITAS (Limited Stay Permit Card) or KITAP (Permanent Stay Permit Card).

When it comes to inheritance and selling the property, there are additional layers of complexity. You can pass the leasehold property to your heirs, but they must also comply with the Indonesian property laws applicable to foreigners.

Similarly, selling the property to another foreigner is possible, but the same restrictions apply to the buyer.

Regarding the documentation required, you will need a Tax ID number (NPWP) in Indonesia. This is essential for all property transactions and tax purposes.

Also, you might need specific authorizations or permits from local government institutions depending on the location and type of property you are investing in.

Having a local bank account is not strictly necessary, but it can facilitate transactions and payments related to your property. Payments for property are typically made in Indonesian Rupiah, and while some transactions may involve foreign currencies, it's more common to use the local currency.

Finally, when it comes to taxation, as a foreign property owner, you are generally subject to the same tax rates as Indonesian citizens. This includes property taxes and income tax if you earn rental income from your property. It's important to stay informed about your tax obligations to avoid any legal issues.

Residency and investment in Indonesia

In Indonesia, there isn't a direct investment visa program that allows you to gain residency solely by purchasing property.

Unlike some countries that offer 'Golden Visa' programs for property investors, Indonesia's immigration policies don't provide a straightforward path to residency or citizenship through real estate investment.

However, there are ways to stay in Indonesia for extended periods, which often involve business or retirement visas.

For business visas, you typically need to be involved in an Indonesian company or start a business in Indonesia. This route can eventually lead to a temporary residency (KITAS) and, after several years, to a permanent residency (KITAP).

The process involves substantial financial investment and compliance with various legal and regulatory requirements.

For retirees, Indonesia offers a retirement visa, which allows people over 55 years old from certain countries to live in Indonesia, provided they meet specific financial and insurance criteria. This visa is usually valid for a year and can be renewed. It's important to note that owning property in Indonesia doesn't automatically grant you residency rights.

Foreigners often face restrictions on property ownership, typically needing to set up a leasehold arrangement rather than a freehold ownership.

Regarding citizenship, Indonesia has stringent requirements. Residency through business or retirement visas doesn't automatically lead to citizenship.

To apply for citizenship, you usually need to have been a permanent resident for a considerable period, among other requirements, such as proficiency in the Indonesian language and an understanding of the country's culture and history.

It's crucial to consult with legal and immigration experts in Indonesia for the most current and detailed advice, as immigration policies can change and vary based on individual circumstances.

The number of people who have used these routes for residency is not readily available but is relatively limited compared to more straightforward investor visa programs in other countries.

Remember, the process is complex, and each case can be quite unique.

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How to get started to invest in real estate in Indonesia?

What is the step-by-step process to buy property in Indonesia?

We'll give her a brief overview. However, there is a detailed and dedicated document to the buying process in our property pack for Indonesia.

Purchasing a property in Indonesia involves a multi-step process that begins when you make an offer on a property you're interested in.

It's important to know that this process can vary slightly depending on whether you're a local or a foreign buyer, as there are specific regulations for foreign property ownership.

Once you've made an offer and it's accepted, the next step is usually the due diligence process. This is a critical stage where you check the legal status of the property, ensuring there are no outstanding legal issues, debts, or other encumbrances. It’s here that many buyers encounter complications, especially if they are not familiar with the local property laws and regulations. This phase can be quite intricate, involving various legal documents and checks, and is often where errors can occur.

Following due diligence, you'll typically sign a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA), which legally binds both parties to the transaction. At this stage, a down payment is usually made. This is another critical step, as the SPA outlines all the terms and conditions of the sale, including payment schedules.

The final step is the transfer of the property title and the final payment. In Indonesia, the title transfer is done at a local land office and often involves a notary. This part of the process can be time-consuming, as bureaucratic procedures in Indonesia can be lengthy and sometimes unpredictable.

Regarding the duration, the entire process from finding a house to obtaining full ownership can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The timeline largely depends on the efficiency of the due diligence process, negotiations, and the speed of the bureaucratic processes.

Regarding language, while it’s not absolutely necessary to speak Indonesian to navigate the process, it is highly beneficial.

Many legal documents and negotiations will be in Indonesian, and understanding the language can help you avoid misunderstandings. It’s common for foreign buyers to engage local lawyers or real estate agents who can assist with language and cultural nuances.

Speaking of cultural norms, it’s important to be aware of them as they can significantly impact the buying process. For instance, in some areas, local community approval might be required before a sale can proceed. Failing to understand and respect these norms can lead to complications or even derail a transaction.

Looking for property in Indonesia

Please note that there is a list of contacts (real estate agencies, lawyers, notaries, etc.) and websites in our pack of documents related to the real estate market in Indonesia.

In Indonesia, people use a variety of methods to search for houses.

One of the most common ways is through online housing portals. These websites list a wide range of properties, allowing you to filter your search by location, price, and property type. Some of the popular online portals include and These platforms are user-friendly and often provide detailed information about each listing, including photos and contact details.

Real estate agents also play a significant role in the property search process. Many people prefer working with agents because they provide access to listings that may not be publicly available and can offer valuable insights into the local property market. Agents typically have a portfolio of properties and can help match your requirements with available listings. It's common for buyers to approach agents directly or get referrals from friends or family.

Social media platforms, like Facebook groups, are increasingly becoming a popular way to find properties in Indonesia. These groups often have listings posted by both agents and private sellers, providing a wide range of options. Additionally, local forums and community boards can be valuable resources, especially in certain areas or for specific types of properties.

When it comes to working with a real estate agent, it is generally recommended, especially for those unfamiliar with the local property market.

However, not all agents are equally reliable. It's important to look for agents with a good track record and positive reviews from previous clients. A red flag to watch out for is an agent who pressures you into making quick decisions or who is not transparent about their fees.

In terms of accessing property listings, while many listings are available online directly to buyers, agents often have access to a broader range of properties, some of which may not be listed online. Working with an agent can therefore provide you with more options to consider.

The role of buyer's agents and seller's agents in Indonesia can differ. A buyer's agent works in the interest of the buyer, helping to find properties that meet the buyer's criteria and assisting with negotiations and paperwork. A seller's agent, on the other hand, represents the seller and focuses on marketing the property and securing the best possible deal for the seller.

Real estate agent commissions in Indonesia are not standardized and can vary. It’s common for commissions to be negotiable, and they typically range from 2% to 5% of the property’s sale price. Traditionally, it is the seller who pays the agent's commission, but this can vary depending on the agreement made between the parties.

When dealing with real estate agents in Indonesia, it's important to be clear about your requirements and budget from the outset. Don't hesitate to ask questions about their experience, the properties they have access to, and the terms of their commission. It's also wise to negotiate the agent's fees before finalizing an agreement.

Remember, a good agent should prioritize your interests and guide you through the process with transparency and professionalism.

Buying property in Indonesia

Negotiation is a common and accepted part of buying a house in Indonesia.

Buyers often negotiate the selling price, and it's quite usual to ask for a discount. The amount of discount you should ask for can vary widely, depending on factors like the property's condition, location, and how long it's been on the market. Generally, buyers start by offering 5% to 10% below the asking price, but this can vary. It's important to base your offer on a realistic assessment of the property's value, taking into account similar properties in the area.

Conducting due diligence is a critical step in the property buying process in Indonesia. This involves verifying the legal status of the property and ensuring that there are no outstanding legal issues. To conduct a title search and ensure clear title ownership, you need to check the property's history, its current ownership status, and whether there are any liens or encumbrances against it. This is typically done by examining the property's land certificate and checking with the local land office.

Hiring a lawyer or a notary is not mandatory for conducting these checks, but it is highly recommended, especially if you're not familiar with Indonesian property laws. A lawyer or notary can help ensure that all legal aspects of the transaction are handled correctly and can assist in interpreting and verifying legal documents. The cost of hiring a lawyer or notary in Indonesia can vary, but it is generally a small percentage of the property’s value, and it's worth the investment for the expertise and peace of mind they provide.

As for specific documents and paperwork, there are several required for the purchase of property in Indonesia. These include the land certificate (Sertifikat Tanah), a tax payment proof (SPPT PBB), and a sale and purchase agreement. Obtaining these documents involves coordinating with the seller, the local land office, and potentially your legal representative. The land certificate is the most important document, as it proves ownership of the property.

The official transfer and registration of property ownership is a key part of the purchasing process. Once all terms are agreed upon and the payment has been made, the property's title is transferred to the buyer. This process involves updating the land certificate with the buyer's details, a step conducted at the local land office. The buyer, seller, and often their legal representatives must be present for this.

The updated land certificate, along with a deed of sale, is issued, officially transferring ownership. This process also involves paying a transfer fee and taxes, which are typically the responsibility of the buyer.

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Financing a property in Indonesia

Financing property investments in Indonesia as a foreign investor can be challenging due to the regulations and financial systems in place.

Typically, foreign investors have limited options when it comes to obtaining loans from Indonesian banks. This is partly because Indonesian banks are often hesitant to provide loans to foreigners due to perceived risks. As a result, many foreigners either pay in cash or obtain financing from banks in their home countries or international banks that operate in Indonesia.

When it comes to the payment timeline, generally, a deposit is paid when you sign the initial agreement or Letter of Intent to purchase the property. This shows your commitment to the purchase. The deposit is typically a percentage of the total sale price, usually around 10% to 30%. The full price of the house is usually paid at a later stage, often upon the signing of the official Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) or when the transfer of title takes place.

Getting a loan as a foreigner in Indonesia is relatively rare and can be a complicated process. For the few who do manage to secure a loan, the interest rates can be higher compared to those for local buyers, reflecting the higher perceived risk by lenders. The average interest rates can vary, but they are generally higher than what you might expect in Western countries.

Closing costs and fees associated with buying property in Indonesia can add a significant amount to the overall cost. These costs include notary fees, transfer taxes, and agent fees, if applicable. Notary fees are typically around 1% of the property’s sale value, and transfer taxes can be around 5% of the sale value. These costs are usually borne by the buyer.

When buying a house in Indonesia, you'll also need to consider taxes. The tax you pay when buying a house is known as the Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD), and it's calculated as a percentage of the purchase price or the market value of the property, whichever is higher. The rate can vary but is typically around 5%.

Property tax rates in Indonesia are relatively modest. Property owners are required to pay an annual land and building tax (Pajak Bumi dan Bang

unan, or PBB), which is usually around 0.5% of the government-assessed property value. This value is often lower than the market value. Capital gains tax is another consideration if you decide to sell the property in the future. The capital gains tax rate is generally 20% of the profit made from the sale for non-resident taxpayers.

In addition to these, there may be additional fees and costs to consider. For example, if you hire a lawyer or a real estate agent, their fees will add to the overall cost of the transaction. It's also important to factor in the cost of due diligence, which might include hiring professionals to conduct property inspections or legal checks.

When purchasing property in Indonesia, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of all the costs involved, not just the purchase price. This ensures that you are financially prepared for the entire transaction and helps avoid any surprises along the way.

Additionally, it's advisable to seek guidance from local experts, such as real estate agents, lawyers, and financial advisors, who are familiar with the property market and legal requirements in Indonesia, especially given the complexities involved in property transactions for foreigners.

What are the risks and pitfalls when buying property in Indonesia?

Investing in property in Indonesia presents various risks, some of which are unique to the country and particularly relevant to foreign investors.

One of the primary risks is the complexity and restrictions around property ownership for foreigners. Foreigners are not allowed to own freehold property; instead, they can acquire property under a leasehold arrangement or through a nominee structure, which carries its own risks.

The leasehold typically lasts for a set period (often 25 years, extendable up to 80 years), after which the property must be relinquished unless the lease is renewed. This limitation can impact the long-term value and sale potential of the property.

A specific pitfall that foreign investors often overlook is the issue of land zoning and use. Indonesia has strict regulations on land use, and a piece of land might be designated for a specific purpose, such as residential, agricultural, or commercial use. Foreign investors sometimes purchase land without thoroughly checking these regulations, leading to legal issues and difficulties in developing or utilizing the property as intended.

Another unique challenge is the prevalence of customary land rights (known as "adat" rights). In some areas, local communities have traditional rights over land that may not be clearly documented. Foreign investors might buy property assuming clear legal title, only to find out later that there are traditional claims on the land, leading to disputes and potential loss of investment.

Environmental risks are also a significant consideration in Indonesia, a country prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and flooding. These environmental factors can affect property values and should be a key consideration in the investment decision-making process.

Unfortunately, there have been cases where foreign investors have suffered losses due to natural disasters impacting their properties, underscoring the importance of understanding and mitigating these risks.

Regarding insurance, foreign property owners in Indonesia can access various insurance options to protect their investment. These include property insurance, which covers damage to the building and contents, and natural disaster insurance, which is crucial given the country's environmental risks. Liability insurance is also recommended to protect against claims arising from injuries or accidents on the property.

To mitigate these risks, investors should conduct thorough due diligence, often with the assistance of local legal and real estate experts. This includes verifying land titles, understanding zoning laws, and being aware of any traditional land rights. Investors should also consider environmental assessments and choose locations less prone to natural disasters.

In case of conflicts or disputes, Indonesia's legal system provides avenues for resolution, but the process can be lengthy and complex. Foreign investors have access to legal recourse through Indonesian courts, but they should be prepared for potential challenges, including language barriers and differences in legal procedures. Some investors choose to include arbitration clauses in their contracts as a more efficient means of resolving disputes.

It's also important to note that while there are legal protections in place for foreign property buyers, the reliability and effectiveness of these protections can vary.

This variability further underscores the need for comprehensive due diligence and professional guidance throughout the investment process.

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Readers are advised to consult with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions. We do not assume any liability for actions taken based on the information provided.