HOW CAN YOU BUY THAI REAL ESTATE AS A FOREIGNER?
With the passage of time, investing in Thai realty, namely Bangkok, by foreigners has become more of a common occurrence than ever before. Much of this trend may be accrued to the growth of ASEAN economies in 2015 as well as the BTS and MRT train systems.
With property prices increasing and economy booming as a product of the above mentioned phenomenon, investing in Bangkok realty by expats must be done now while conditions are optimum.
One of the most favoured types of properties expats are seen investing in are condominiums and for a good reason. Owing to the Thailand Condominium Act of 1979, foreigners have been given the right to claim complete ownership of condominiums anywhere in Thailand, with each construction allowed a 49% quota of foreign investors by the Thai land department.
Even though foreign owned condominiums make up 17% of the Bangkok condominium market, there are a few hurdles, mainly financial, that one must overcome in an informed way to invest successfully. With banks in Thailand seldom lending money to Foreigners, they will, in all likelihood, need to bring in their finances form their home country/bank in which they have a financial record.
Some foreign nationals like the expat-teachers that have carved out a sizeable niche for themselves invest in town-houses or detached homes that facilitate living with a family and pets. Marrying a Thai national, starting a family and working in this land for many years fuels these expats’ needs of investing in these larger realty units, however they do come at a cost.
Since foreigners aren’t allowed to buy land in Thailand, which town-homes or detached homes would normally require them to do, there are two options to work around this – Option One, and this just applies to foreign nationals who have married a Thai. Trust plays a big part in this option as it gives you the choice of purchasing the land on your spouse’s name, which would open up the opportunity to get a bank loan from a local Thai bank. Option 2, Start a company and purchase land under it. With foreign investors allowed 49% stake in any Thai company and the remaining shares get normally divided among a handful of Thai locals in comparatively smaller denominations who are usually unaware of the other partners’ identities and lack voting rights as well. This results in the foreign investor holding the reigns of the company and in other words his fate with regards to his/her future in Thailand.
Taking everything above into account, it is always advisable to consult reputed lawyer and realty agent in the country you wish to invest in to help you make the most informed decision. Having said that, the above options may be appealing to some while some may find them sketchy, do actually work, with many foreigners calling Thailand their second home if not their first for decades.