Buying real estate in Ivory Coast as a foreigner?

We've created a guide to help you avoid pitfalls, save time, and make the best long-term investment possible.

Buying property in Ivory Coast as a foreigner: a full guide

Last updated on 

All sources have been thoroughly verified for credibility. Furthermore, an industry specialist has reviewed and approved the final article.

buying property foreigner Ivory Coast

Everything you need to know is included in our Ivory Coast Property Pack

The Ivory Coast, renowned for its majestic scenery, rich cultural history, and hospitable locals, has become a popular destination for those looking to invest in real estate.

Nevertheless, navigating the complexities of buying property in a foreign country can be intimidating, particularly when it comes to the legal framework and regulations.

That's why this guide is here to help! We'll explain the property market in the Ivory Coast in an easy-to-grasp way, covering everything you need to know.

Also, for a more in-depth analysis, you can check our property pack for Ivory Coast.

Can you purchase and own a property in Ivory Coast as a foreigner?

In Ivory Coast, the real estate market for foreigners has specific rules and regulations that differ in some respects from those applicable to locals.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial if you're considering buying property there.

Firstly, as a foreigner, you can indeed buy property in Ivory Coast, but there are limitations when it comes to owning land. Generally, foreigners are allowed to purchase buildings and homes, but the acquisition of land is a more complex matter. The Ivorian government imposes restrictions on foreign land ownership, primarily for agricultural land.

In urban areas, it's more feasible for foreigners to acquire land, yet the process can be intricate and might require navigating through various legal channels.

The rights of foreign property owners in Ivory Coast differ somewhat from those of local citizens. For instance, the duration of land leases for foreigners is usually shorter compared to locals.

Additionally, the legal procedures and paperwork involved can be more demanding for foreigners, often necessitating the involvement of legal professionals to ensure compliance with all regulations.

Regarding the differences based on your country of origin, Ivory Coast does not typically discriminate against foreign investors based on their nationality. The rules for property acquisition are generally uniform for all non-citizens.

Although diplomatic relations and international agreements can sometimes play a role in facilitating investments for citizens of certain countries.

Residency is not a prerequisite for buying property in Ivory Coast. Foreigners, whether residents or not, can invest in the real estate market.

However, owning property does not automatically grant you residency rights. If you intend to reside in Ivory Coast, you would still need to follow the standard immigration procedures to obtain the appropriate visa or residency permit.

Regarding visas and permits, buying property in Ivory Coast does not require a specific visa or permit. But, if you plan to stay in the country for extended periods or involve yourself actively in property management, obtaining the right type of visa is important. A tourist visa would not suffice for long-term stays or business activities.

In some cases, purchasing property in Ivory Coast may require specific authorizations from governmental institutions. This is especially true if the property involves sensitive areas or large-scale investments.

There isn't a universally applied minimum investment threshold for buying property in Ivory Coast. The investment requirement can vary based on the type and location of the property.

Can you become a resident in Ivory Coast by purchasing and owning a property?

In Ivory Coast, there isn't a formalized program that grants residency solely based on real estate investment, similar to the "Golden Visa" schemes found in some other countries.

This means that purchasing and owning property in Ivory Coast does not automatically entitle you to residency.

However, investing in the country, including in real estate, can be a part of your overall profile when applying for residency. The Ivorian government, like many others, looks favorably on foreign investment as a contribution to the country's economy. But this investment is just one factor among many that are considered in a residency application.

To apply for residency, you would typically need to fulfill several requirements. These usually include providing proof of stable income, demonstrating that you can support yourself financially without being a burden on the state, and showing that you have no criminal record.

The specifics can vary, and it's important to consult with local authorities or legal experts to get the most current and relevant information.

Regarding the minimal investment, there's no set amount in Ivory Coast for achieving residency, as real estate investment is not a direct pathway to residency. The focus is more on your overall economic contribution and ability to sustain yourself.

The number of people who have gained residency through real estate investment as a significant factor is not clearly documented, mainly because real estate investment is not a standalone criterion for residency.

Most foreigners obtain residency through other means, such as employment, family ties, or long-term business activities in Ivory Coast.

The length of residency granted can vary. It might be temporary at first, requiring renewal after a certain period. It's not typically permanent residency immediately. You would usually need to live in the country for several years, maintain a good legal and financial record, and fulfill other criteria before you can apply for permanent residency.

As for citizenship, owning property in Ivory Coast does not directly lead to citizenship. The path to citizenship usually involves long-term residency, integration into Ivorian society, language proficiency, and other legal requirements.

The process is separate from your real estate investments and can be quite lengthy and complex.

Thinking of buying real estate in Ivory Coast?

Acquiring property in a different country is a complex task. Don't fall into common traps – grab our guide and make better decisions.

buying property foreigner Ivory Coast

Market indicators

You can find fresh and updated data in our pack of documents related to the real estate market in Ivory Coast.

If we check the the GDP per capita indicator, it seems that Ivorian people have become 12.1% richer throughout the past 5 years.

As the population gets richer, they will likely want to buy more real estate, and that can drive up prices later on.

Looking at the data reported by Numbeo, we can see that rental properties in Ivory Coast offer gross rental yields between 6.1% and 8.8%.

These strong rental yields not only provide attractive financial returns but also offer a reliable and sustainable investment opportunity for foreign investors.

To know more, you can also read our dedicated article: is it a good time to buy a property in Ivory Coast?

Daily life of an expat

The life of an expat in Ivory Coast can be an exciting and rewarding experience.

With its warm climate, vibrant culture and friendly people, Ivory Coast is a great place to live and work. The country is home to a diverse population of ethnic groups, all of whom bring their own unique and interesting customs to the country. Expats in Ivory Coast will find plenty of opportunities to experience the local culture, from the bustling markets of Abidjan to the more rural villages of the interior.

Ivory Coast is a great place to live for those looking to experience a different way of life.

Expats can expect to find plenty of work opportunities, with the country's economy being one of the most dynamic in West Africa. There are also plenty of leisure activities to enjoy, from the beautiful beaches of Grand Bassam to the vibrant nightlife of Abidjan.

Living in Ivory Coast can be a great opportunity for expats to learn more about the local culture and way of life. The country is also a great place to learn French, as it is the official language. Expats in Ivory Coast will find plenty of opportunities to meet other expats from around the world, and make new friends.

Overall, life as an expat in Ivory Coast can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience. From its vibrant culture and friendly people to its diverse range of work and leisure opportunities, Ivory Coast is a great place to live and work.

What are the best places to purchase a property in Ivory Coast?

This table summarizes some of the best places to buy a property in Ivory Coast.

City / Region Population Average Price per sqm (XOF) Strengths
Abidjan ≈ 4.4 million 500,000 - 1,500,000 Economic capital, cultural hub, business opportunities, vibrant nightlife
Yamoussoukro ≈ 300,000 300,000 - 800,000 Political capital, administrative center, Basilica of Our Lady of Peace
Bouaké ≈ 700,000 200,000 - 600,000 Second-largest city, trade hub, educational institutions, cultural festivals
San Pedro ≈ 250,000 200,000 - 600,000 Port city, economic activities, export of cocoa and coffee
Korhogo ≈ 240,000 150,000 - 400,000 Commercial center, cultural heritage, traditional crafts
Grand-Bassam ≈ 100,000 300,000 - 800,000 Historical town, UNESCO World Heritage Site, beach resort
Daloa ≈ 300,000 150,000 - 400,000 Agricultural hub, cocoa production, scenic landscapes

Do you need a lawyer to buy a property in Ivory Coast?

When purchasing a property in Ivory Coast, engaging a local lawyer can be essential to navigate the legal requirements and ensure a successful transaction.

One crucial document they can assist with is the Purchase Agreement (Contrat de Vente), a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller that outlines the terms and conditions of the sale.

The Ivorian lawyer can also help with conducting a Property Title Search (Recherche de Titre Foncier) to verify the property's ownership status and identify any potential legal issues or encumbrances.

Furthermore, they can guide you through the process of obtaining necessary permits and approvals, such as approval from the local Land Registry or relevant authorities.

They will ensure that all applicable taxes and fees, such as the Property Transfer Tax and Notary Fees, are paid correctly and in compliance with Ivorian laws and regulations.

What are the risks when buying real estate in Ivory Coast?

We've got an article dedicated to the risks associated with purchasing property in Ivory Coast.

When buying a property in Ivory Coast, there are a few specific risks to consider that are not common in other countries. For example, Ivory Coast has a history of political instability, which can affect the security of the property and the ability to access it. Additionally, there is a risk of corruption and bribery when dealing with government officials and local authorities. It is important to be aware of the local laws and regulations to ensure that the purchase is in compliance with them.

Another risk to consider when buying a property in Ivory Coast is the lack of a comprehensive land registry system. This means that there is no guarantee that the property being purchased is actually owned by the seller, or that the title is legitimate. It is important to conduct due diligence and research the property thoroughly before making a purchase.

Finally, there is a risk of fraud when purchasing a property in Ivory Coast. It is important to be aware of potential scams and to use a reputable real estate agent or lawyer to ensure that the transaction is legitimate.

real estate Ivory Coast

Everything you need to know is included in our Ivory Coast Property Pack

What are the documents needed for a real estate transaction in Ivory Coast?

When buying a property in Ivory Coast, the list of documents required include:

- A valid national identity card or passport

- A certificate of non-encumbrance, which is a certificate of ownership that guarantees that the property is free from any debt or liens

- A sales agreement, which outlines the terms of the purchase

- A deed of purchase, which is the document that transfers ownership of the property

- A tax clearance certificate, which is a certificate issued by the government to confirm that all taxes have been paid

- A completion certificate, which is issued by the local government to confirm that all legal requirements have been met

- A title deed, which is a document that confirms the owner's legal right to the property

We review each of these documents and tell you how to use them in our property pack for Ivory Coast.

How should you approach negotiations with individuals from Ivory Coast?

Here are some recommendations for negotiating effectively with locals when buying property in Ivory Coast:

  • Understand the concept of ""time"": Ivorians typically have a more relaxed attitude towards time. Be patient and avoid rushing negotiations or expecting prompt responses.

  • Embrace greetings: Greetings are highly valued in Ivorian culture. Begin each meeting with a warm handshake and a polite greeting. Learn a few local greetings like ""Yako"" (Greetings) to make a positive impression.

  • Respect hierarchical relationships: Ivorian society places importance on respect for authority and age. Show deference to elders and individuals in positions of influence. Use appropriate titles when addressing people.

  • Establish personal connections: Building rapport and trust is crucial. Spend time getting to know the person you are negotiating with and engage in small talk before delving into business matters.

  • Show interest in local culture: Demonstrate genuine curiosity about Ivorian culture, traditions, and history. This will help foster a positive relationship and create a more conducive negotiation environment.

  • Be mindful of non-verbal communication: Non-verbal cues, such as maintaining eye contact and nodding, are essential for effective communication in Ivory Coast. Displaying attentiveness and active listening will enhance your negotiation efforts.

  • Negotiate with patience: Ivorian negotiations often involve multiple rounds and a slower pace. Avoid rushing or applying aggressive tactics. Maintain a respectful and patient approach throughout the process.

  • Consider the concept of ""sankofa"": Sankofa represents learning from the past to inform the present and future. Understand the historical context of the property and its significance to the community, as it may impact negotiations.

  • Offer hospitality: Inviting your negotiation counterpart for a meal or engaging in social activities can help strengthen relationships and create a more favorable negotiation atmosphere.

  • Seek local guidance: Consider hiring a local intermediary or consultant who understands the cultural nuances and can provide valuable insights during the negotiation process.

Can foreigners obtain a bank loan in Ivory Coast?

In theory, it's possible for foreigners to obtain property loans in Ivory Coast, subject to certain conditions and requirements, although it remains a rare occurrence.

As a foreigner seeking a property loan in Ivory Coast, it is generally necessary to have a valid residence permit, demonstrate stable income, and meet the lending institutions' specific criteria.

Foreigners might try their chance for mortgages with banks such as Société Générale, Standard Chartered, and Ecobank in Ivory Coast.

Nonetheless, mortgage rates in Ivory Coast for a 20-year term range between 10% and 14%, posing significant barriers to borrowing money. As a foreigner, it's recommended to explore alternative financing options for a smoother borrowing experience.

What are the taxes related to a property transaction in Ivory Coast?

Here is a breakdown of taxes related to a property transaction in Ivory Coast.

Tax Description Calculation Who pays
Capital Gains Tax Tax on the capital gain from the sale of a property Varies from 0% to 30% on the capital gain, depending on the holding period Seller
Real Estate Tax Tax on potential rental income generated by the property 15% on the property's potential rental income Owner
Transfer Tax Tax levied on the transfer of real estate From 4% to 10% of the value of the property Buyer
Stamp Duty Tax on the execution of legal documents Around 1% to 1.5% of the transaction value Seller or Buyer

What fees are involved in a property transaction in Ivory Coast?

Below, you'll find a list of fees involved in a property transaction in Ivory Coast.

Fee Description Calculation Who pays
Land Registry Fee Fee for registering the property transfer with the Land Registry Varies between 0.1% and 0.5% of the property value Buyer
Notary Fee Fee for notarizing the property transfer documents 1% to 2% of the transaction amount, depending on the property value and complexity of the transaction Buyer
Real Estate Agent Fee Fee charged by real estate agents for their services Typically around 3% to 5% of the property purchase price Seller

Buying real estate in Ivory Coast can be risky

An increasing number of foreign investors are showing interest in Ivory Coast. However, 90% of them will make mistakes. Avoid the pitfalls with our comprehensive guide.

buying property foreigner Ivory Coast