Thailand is one of the most popular countries for real estate buyers in Asia. It’s not strange as it has a developed tourism industry, plenty of visa options available, and a climate and cuisine that suit most people’s taste.
Giving you an example, in Hua Hin alone you can find 3,500 – 5,000 Swedish residents while in Ho Chi Minh City there are only a couple of hundred Swedes. These figures clearly show that Thailand excels when it comes to attracting tourists and other countries still have some miles to go.
In this article, we will focus on the regulations that foreigners have to comply with when buying real estate in Thailand. There are property types that aren’t available to foreigners, depending on how you acquire the units.
Let’s start and review a brief overview of the requirements that foreigners have to meet when buying real estate in Thailand.
Requirements for Foreigners to Buy Property in Thailand
It’s comparably easy to buy real estate in Thailand by Southeast Asian standards. In Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam, for example, foreigners cannot purchase freehold property which is available in Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
Another benefit of buying real estate in Thailand is that you have multiple visa options if you want to stay in the country long-term. If you want to know more about the options, I recommend you reading my separate article about visa options available for investors in Asia.
In short, there are few requirements in place for foreigners who want to buy strata-titled located in condominium projects. These units often come in the hundreds or thousands and with facilities that outperform local standards.
Due to the increased quality of facilities and a wider range of available amenities, the condominium projects are guarded by security staff 24/7 and have swimming pools, parking, stores, restaurants, cafes, and sometimes even karaoke rooms and co-working spaces.
To cover the expenses for the commonly shared facilities, each resident has to pay a monthly management fee that is generally around USD 100. The fee can be higher though depending on the standard of the project.
Foreign Ownership Regulations of Thailand Property
Foreigners can only acquire 49% of the condominium units available in a condominium project. With that said, no regulations are stipulating that you can only buy new units directly from developers or that you need Thailand as your domicile.
Worth mentioning is that you can buy physical structures such as villas but you cannot own the land on which these are built upon. This might bring a concern to buyers, of course, as you cannot control the land that your unit is built on.
If you want to acquire land, you can either do so by setting up a local company or buying the property with the help of a local partner. This can be risky and you must do sufficient due diligence beforehand.
Americans have a benefit when buying real estate in Thailand in the sense that they can own more than 49% of a Thai limited company. Thus, they can be the majority of stakeholders which can bring a greater sense of security.
With freehold terms that run into ‘perpetuity’, we can confidently say that Thailand it’s moderately easy to buy real estate here. Just assure that you work with a credible agent that has a reputable track record and doesn’t offer guaranteed rental income schemes that seem too good to be true.
Can foreigners buy condos in Thailand?
Yes, as mentioned, foreigners can buy up to 49% of the units in a given condominium project. You can also buy established (second-hand) units as long as the foreign quota isn’t filled if you buy from a local.
Condominiums are by far the most popular when foreigners decide to buy residential real estate in Thailand for dwelling purposes. I recommend you look for units built by reputable developers that have launched a dozen projects at least in the past.
Names that come to mind include Sansiri, Ananda Development, Supalai, AP Thailand, and Magnolia Quality Development Corporation (MQDC), for example.
Can foreigners buy houses with land in Thailand?
Foreigners can buy houses but not own the land on which these structures are built. As houses come with a higher price tag in general, many foreigners opt-in for condominiums instead.
Can I get a long-term visa in Thailand?
Thailand has different visas available for foreigners who wish to reside in the country long-term. The below options should be of interest:
The Thai Investment Visa
This visa allows you to stay in Thailand indefinitely. You just have to renew it yearly. To become eligible for the visa, you have to invest/deposit a minimum of THB 10 million (around USD 300,000) in any of the following assets:
- A newly built condo (value of min. THB 3 million)
- Government or state-enterprise bonds
- Deposit money into a Thai bank account
The Retirement (O-A) Visa
The same as it goes with the Thai Investment Visa, this visa allows you to stay in Thailand indefinitely but you have to renew it yearly. The following requirements apply:
- Minimum age: 50 years
- Deposit THB 800,000 in a local bank account
- Income or pension of at least THB 65,000 per month
- Yearly income and deposited amount to reach min. THB 800,000 annually
- Have a clean criminal record, both in your home country and in Thailand
- Provide medical certificate
- The Privilege Entry Visa (The Thailand Elite Visa)
With this visa, you “pay” a substantial fee to be able to stay in Thailand for 5 – 10 years. The prices range from THB 500,000 – 2,000,000 and have no age restrictions.