The city of Chiang Mai has long been a destination for tourists to Thailand looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Visitors to this northern capital enjoy wandering ancient temples and monasteries by day, and relax in modern, luxurious hotels by night. With fewer visitors than Bangkok, Chiang Mai has almost wholly retained its Thai culture and atmosphere.
Thailand as a whole receives more than thirty-million tourists each year, with more than eight million visiting from China, according to a report from Reuters. The culture, sights, and laid-back nature of Chiang Mai is popular with more than just tourists; the city has also become a hotspot for expats looking to lay new roots and investors looking to buy real estate in and around the city.
DRAWING CHINESE INVESTORS
In Chiang Mai, the percentage of tourists and expats from China is even higher, though the reason for this high number is an interesting one; in 2012, “Lost in Thailand,” a Chinese comedy film, hit theatres, and led to an increase in Chinese tourism to the northern region of Thailand. According to Thailand’s Department of Tourism, the film caused a massive increase in tourism from China to Thailand. Between 2012 and 2013, experts estimate that the number of Chinese visitors to northern Thailand increased by as much as sixty percent.
Following this increase, Chinese investors looking to stay ahead of this new market trend began snapping up property in Chiang Mai, so much so that real estate experts in the city have stated that around eighty percent of all foreign customers are now from China, consisting mostly of Chinese business owners who opened up trading firms or manufacturing plants within or near the city. These businesses specifically target the growing Chinese expat community.
These Chinese investors are mostly interested in buying condominiums and detached houses. They then market these properties mainly to Chinese looking to move to the area. The price of condos for sale or for rent in Chiang Mai remain lower than the prices in Bangkok and elsewhere in the country, making them even more popular for expats looking to relocate.
REAL ESTATE GROWTH
The increase in demand for affordable Chiang Mai real estate has led to a large number of new properties cropping up around the city. Real estate developers such as Sansiri, Land & Houses, Quality Houses, Pruksa Real Estate, and Property Perfect have all begun investing in Chiang Mai in recent months. According to an article in The Nation, a popular independent newspaper in Thailand, Quality Houses has already developed or is currently developing five residential properties, while Property Perfect is developing its first detached house project in the city to keep up with the growing Chinese demand.
STAYING AHEAD OF DEMAND AND A RISE IN COSTS
Even with the increase in available properties, demand is expected to continue to grow, which also means a likelihood of rising property costs. Buying and investing in Chiang Mai now means staying ahead of the increase. The city is great for Chinese looking to join the growing expat community, as well as for those from other nations around the world looking to enjoy all that this gentle city has to offer.
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