Foreigners Will Be Forbidden To Buy Land In Iceland

29.1.2013
Words by Paul Fontaine
A bill submitted by the Minister of the Interior would greatly limit how much Icelandic property a foreigner could buy.

RÚV reports that Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson believes that it is currently too easy for wealthy foreigners to buy large swaths of Icelandic land. In order to prevent this, his bill would require any foreigner wishing to buy land to have legal residence in Iceland.

"What is happening is wealthy foreigners are coming here," Ögmundur told reporters. "Buying up land and laying our building laws to waste."

Ögmundur emphasised that the bill is directed at wealthy foreigners who intend to buy larger properties; foreigners would not be forbidden to buy a summer cottage in Iceland, for example.

Vice Chairperson of the Social Democrats Dagur B. Eggertsson told reporters that he believes the bill goes against the government policy of trying to attract foreign investors. He added that he does not believe the bill will have the support of parliament.

When asked if the bill is in any way inspired by ongoing case of Chinese entrepreneur Huang Nubo, Ögmundur pointed out that he has already been denied the ability to buy land in Iceland.

"But it is quite right that [this bill] will make things complicated for men like him," Ögmundur added. "Wealthy men like him, who want to buy land in Iceland."

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