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Property in Thailand: Can Foreigners Buy?

Property for most Thai people, is simply somewhere to live - their home. Do not spoil it. Treat Thai people and their needs with respect, when searching for property in Thailand.

Can Foreigners Buy a Property in Thailand?

Foreigners - as individuals - can own a house in Thailand.

But, they cannot own the land on which the house sits!

There are complex laws relating to this and they are changing.

It is no use foreigners - farangs - feeling peevish about this.

The simple fact is, that if foreigners - with their greater spending power - were allowed to own 'property' and subsequently started buying up property, then house and land prices would soon be pushed so high that they would be out of reach of normal Thai people.

It has happened in the UK and other parts of the western world, where the free market allows wealthy people to buy property in much sought-after locations - often forcing prices out of reach of the local people.

This would not be fair to the Thai people, and it is doubtful - hoped - that no Thai government would relax this law.

Condominiums and Apartments

A foreigner can own a condominium outright. Absolute 100% in their own name - and freehold at that.

The only stipulation that might get in your way, is that the building in which the condominium is situated cannot be more than 49% foreign owned.

We are not quite sure as to whether the 49% refers to the asset value, or the actual physical size. More on this once we have a definitive answer.

Foreigners Owning Houses

Companies can own land, providing they meet stringent criteria. This can include houses. However, for the individual, there is no straightforward way of buying your house and the land that it is on.

Unless... Under Land Code Section No 96, you may buy up to one Rai of freehold land, on which you can build a house to live with your Thai wife. You also have to invest 40 million Thai Baht for five years in specified bonds and or funds.

Image of typical middle-of-range house in a Thai village estateThere is a loophole - of which the Thai government is aware - that allows a foreigner/farang to open a Thai company, which can then own the land.

The foreigner can only own 49% of that company, with Thais owning the other 51%.

The practice of allocating preference and other shares in order for the foreigner minority holder to have fuller voting rights, will not be allowed to continue we understand.

There are also lend/lease agreements that can be entered into. Seek Legal Advice. Sit down and have a coffee, and think hard.

Your Thai wife/husband can of course own property. Strictly speaking, the property has to be bought with the spouse's own money.

Depending upon area, the foreign spouse needs to sign a declaration to say that the money is indeed that of the Thai partner, and free of any influence by the foreign spouse.

It seems that there are various interpretations of this law, but in essence, it means that a foreigner can live in a house owned by his/her Thai spouse.

So - easily you can own a house. Owning the land that the house sits on, needs a bit of thought as to which route to go.

Yes - get legal advice. Then sit down and have a coffee or something else sobering, and think it all through properly.

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