Buying property in Thailand — Bangkok in particular — is an attractive proposition. The luxury-property sector is booming and prices are far cheaper than those you’ll find in Hong Kong. However, there are certain factors, listed below, you need to be aware of before you consider making a purchase. And be sure to consult an attorney — laws change all the time, after all.
- Foreign citizens are generally forbidden from owning land in Thailand, so many overseas buyers opt for the simplicity of buying a condominium. It’s permitted as long as no less than 51 percent of the total area of all units in a residential project is owned by Thai citizens.
- If you wish to buy or build a stand-alone home, you’ll need to obtain a 30-year lease from the landowner. Alternatively, you can form a limited company in Thailand with a combination of foreign and Thai ownership, although no more than 49 percent of the shares can be foreign owned; such a company has the right to own land.
- A foreigner is permitted to own land — up to one rai (1,600 square metres) — if he or she provides a minimum of 40 million baht to invest in specified Thai businesses and has received approval from the Ministry of the Interior.
- Most buyers from Hong Kong purchase new, off-plan developments, for which the procedure is straightforward: select condo, pay HK$20,000 booking fee, pay a 10 percent deposit within the following two weeks, pay another 10 percent deposit after signing the sales and purchase agreement, then pay the remainder once the property is finished and the transfer of ownership is made by the developer.
- If you want to buy a property with cash, you’ll first have to transfer the total amount in Hong Kong or US dollars to a bank account in Thailand before continuing the process. If you wish to get a mortgage, chances are you’ll need to apply for an international bank loan from the likes of UOB, ICBC or Bank of China.