Thailand is often seen as a beautiful and intriguing place by foreigners and this perception is largely correct. Because of the attractive culture and the incredible scenery it comes as no surprise that many expatriates have the desire to own their own real estate in Thailand. In this article I will explore how an expat can own a Thai real estate.
As a foreigner, the easiest way to invest in Thai real estate is to purchase a condominium.
This is because of the 1979 Condominium Act which enabled foreigners to completely own condominiums anywhere in Thailand. After this act was passed, any condominium that was registered with the land department designated 49% of its units to foreign buyers. The 51% of units are left to local Thai buyers which ensures that the majority of condominiums remain in the hands of locals.
Although the Condominium Act allows for foreigners to own a condo 100% outright, it does not allow for foreigners to own a detached house or townhouse. A foreigner usually cannot own Thai land and since townhouses as well as detached houses come with land that is underneath or around them, foreigners are unable to gain the same type of ownership that they are able to obtain with condos. There are two potential ways to circumvent this problem.
One way is to have a serious relationship with a local Thai person. If you are in a stable relationship or are married to a local Thai person, then you will be able to put the house or townhouse in the Thai person’s name and therefore own it together. This also helps in obtaining financial assistance from Thai banks for the mortgage or any other loans. Thai banks will often refuse to lend money to foreigners even when the foreigner has a significant work record in Thailand. By having a Local Thai person as a spouse or significant other, one is able to get around this obstacle. It is however illegal to participate in a relationship with a local Thai entity with the sole purpose of owning a property and the Thai authorities are doing all they can to prevent such practices.
The second option is to start a company in Thailand. Although you will only be able to own 49% of the company’s shares, the rest of the shares will be split among a number of local Thai people so that the majority of the shares will be owned by you. This means that a majority of the control over the company is in the foreign director’s hands. This option is often chosen by foreign investors who do not have any significant relationship with a local Thai person. If this option interests you please follow this link for more information.
The best way to get around the problem of land ownership is to sign a renewable long term lease. Although this method does not guarantee complete ownership security, it does offer a substantial amount of security and it is a very popular method among expats who are looking to own land in Thailand. The terms of long term lease agreements vary but they are generally taken out for a 30 year period upon the initial signing.
Of course, buying a condominium remains the easiest and most straightforward method of owning Thai real estate. If you are interested in buying a condominium in Thailand visit www.huahinpropertylisting.com and explore the various options that they have to offer.
It is entirely possible for a foreigner to own Thai real estate. There are obstacles that will need to be circumvented depending on where you want to live and what you want to live in but these obstacles should not deter anyone from pursuing this option. Owning Thai real estate is entirely within reach if you are willing to take the necessary steps.