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Learn more about the Laos house market through trends and average prices.
Laos, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is a socialist state in Southeast Asia. Located at the heart of the Indochinese Peninsula, it is the only landlocked country in the region. This beautiful and peaceful country has had a turbulent past. Although Laos is still one of the least explored nations in Southeast Asia, tourism numbers have been on the increase in the country in the last several years. With ever-rising visitor numbers under its new tourism slogan ‘Simply Beautiful,” tourism is now the biggest growth sector in the country. Its laid-back lifestyle and affordable cost of living have also made the country popular amongst expats.
With a population of just 7 million in a total area of 237,955 square kilometers, Laos is one of the least densely populated countries within Asia. The most populous city in the country is its capital, Vientiane, with over 700,000 of the country’s population are living within its area. Unlike most other capitals in Southeast Asian countries, Vientiane offers a laidback atmosphere, perfect for those who want to enjoy a peaceful, relaxed vibe. Visitors can find a plethora of French-inspired architecture, including Patuxai, which is the Laotian version of Arc de Triomphe. Other famous attractions are the sacred monument of Pha That Luang, Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan), and the Vientiane Night Market that takes place along the Mekong riverfront.
Besides Vientiane, Luang Prabang is also a popular destination for international visitors. This small but vibrant town is located in the heart of mountainous Northern Laos. Due to its fascinating fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structure with those built by the European colonial authorities between the 19th and 20th centuries, the town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is famous for its gorgeous little European style cafes located along the scenic banks of the Mekong River, gorgeous temples, and natural beauty. Some of the most popular attractions are the Buddha Caves (Pak Ou Caves), the Royal Palace (Haw Kham), Mount Phousi, Mekong River, and Kuang Si Falls.
Besides Vientiane and Luang Prabang, other popular destinations in Laos include Vang Vieng, Huay Xai, Si Pan Don Islands, Bokeo Nature Reserve, and Nong Khiaw.
Houses types can be divided into several categories, including the one-story brick house (bungalows), two-story or more detached houses, shophouses, and townhouses.
The most popular house types in Laos for foreigners are three to five-bedroom two-story detached houses or bungalows with large gardens, which can be found in many areas around the country. This type of property offers its residents lots of privacy and space. Although there are traditional detached houses and bungalows in the country, most foreigners choose to live in contemporary modern houses, which are constructed using modern materials.
Townhouses are also available in Laos. These are single-family houses that share one or more walls with other units that are independently owned. Like in other parts of the world, townhouses in Laos are rows of uniform homes, usually with two stories or taller.
A shophouse is a structure that consists of shops on the ground floor and residential accommodation upstairs. In terms of style, buyers can choose between contemporary, modern houses, traditional Laos-style houses, or French-inspired houses.
Living in Laos is affordable, but do not expect it to be super cheap. The county has come a long way in terms of economic development in the last 2 decades, which has led to an increase in prices and rents. In general, the cost of living is about the same, or just slightly less than in Thailand, and a little more expensive than Cambodia or Vietnam.
The official currency in Laos is Lao Kip (LAK), and 1 USD is equivalent to 9,103 LAK. However, the exchange rate can depend upon the whim of the establishment or vendor, so always pay attention. Thai Baht or US dollars are often accepted and sometimes preferred in the country. When paying with US dollars, the vendor may give Lao kip back as change. ATM machines can be found in major tourist areas and cash is king in the country and always ensure that you carry some cash on your person.
Theravada Buddhism is the predominant religion of Laos, which accounts for about half of the country’s population. Around two-fifths of the population follow non-Buddhist local religions. Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, and Baháʼí Faith are also practiced in the country. However, while the country’s constitution provides for freedom of religion, in theory, the government restricts the right to practice.
There are about 86 languages used by Laos’ various ethnic groups. However, Lao language, also known as Laotian, is the official and most widely spoken language in the country. Laos identified French and English as minority languages.
Foreigners planning to relocate to Laos cannot do so on a tourist visa. There are different visa categories that allow foreigners to live in Laos, depending on the reason for your relocation, including a 30-day business Visa (NI-B2), as well as longer-term visas for expats and their dependents (C-B1), diplomatic staff (D-A1), and officials (S-A2).