Thailand is considered by many as one of the most desirable locations to settle in for expatriates and retirees. Foreigners might be wondering if they are allowed to buy a house in Thailand. The answer to that question is foreigners cannot own land; however they do have the option to purchase condominium units and apartments.
There are property ownership regulations that Thailand imposes on foreigners to protect Thailand’s economic and social development. What follows is the three ways foreigners can buy a house in Thailand.
As previously mentioned buying a condo is one of the easiest ways for foreigners to own property in Thailand. Under Thai law, up to 49% of the unit area of any condominium may be owned by foreigners, and Thai nationals or Thai entities must own the remaining 51%.
The only requirement that foreigners need to meet to be granted a foreign freehold land title (or “chanote”) for a condominium unit is that the funds used to purchase the condominium must be transferred into Thailand from overseas.
Another advantage is that the majority of condominium developments that are open to foreign investment are built by publicly listed companies, which means that you can trust the developers themselves.
These companies have low possibilities of running into delays or financial difficulties during construction. Thus you do not have to worry about the progress of the property.
Another option that foreigners can consider is to acquire land on a leasehold basis. The maximum lease on land is 30 years in Thailand according to Thai law.
However, there is still the possibility to have a contractual agreement for two subsequent renewals which totals up to 90 years (30 + 30 + 30 years). If you are interested in applying for an extension, you can seek help from a qualified lawyer to prepare the necessary documents.
Although buying a leasehold property does not offer ownership, it does offer the leaseholder exclusive rights to the use of that property. The leasehold rights are registered on the chanote and registered at the land office. This is considered one of the easiest ways for a non-Thai citizen to enjoy the property.
Furthermore, a possible alternative to consider for foreigners to buy a house in Thailand is to set-up a Thai company for property acquisitions. However, this entire process needs to be set up correctly as the company must be a legitimate business.
This means that it needs to operate like a regular business whereby they have to generate revenue and have legitimate Thai shareholders. A foreigner may not own more than 49% of the shares; at least 51% of the shareholding needs to be owned by Thai Nationals.
Keep in mind that the Thai government and the Land Offices that oversee property transfers across the country do not encourage this practice. Authorities are concerned for the unauthorized use of “Nominee Thai Shareholders”, that are essentially “fake investors” used to facilitate property acquisitions.
This option is primarily used by investors to buy landed property such as villas or foreign developers interested in acquiring developable land plots.
We hope this article clears some doubts that you might have when it comes to foreigners buying property in Thailand. According to statistics, more than one billion Thai Baht is invested yearly in Thailand by international buyers.
This shows that many foreigners are still interested to invest in properties located in Thailand. If you're interested to purchase properties in Thailand, we have a comprehensive set of listings in Thailand which can help you to narrow down the search for your perfect home.