Navigating the process of buying or renting a house or condominium in Thailand is one of the biggest challenges that expats face. Thailand’s strict laws place restrictions on what foreigners can buy or rent that can be confusing if you’re not familiar with them. These restrictions sometimes give the country a bad reputation for expats looking for a new place to call home. But with just a little research, it’s actually very easy to buy or rent a home in Thailand.
Foreign Property Investment in Thailand Rules
The only restriction that might affect your plans to buy a house in Thailand is the law that foreigners cannot own land outright. But there are even exceptions to this rule, for individual buyers looking to buy into certain areas for residential purposes only. In order for your request to even be considered, you’ll have to prove that you have some hefty investments in government bonds or other specified assets that are proven to be beneficial to the Thai economy.
Renting a House or Condo in Thailand
Foreigners may not be permitted to own land outright in Thailand, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to lay down your roots in this beautiful country. If you’re not interested in jumping through the hoops required to buy land as a foreigner in Thailand, renting is a much simpler option.
While there are still some restrictions, it’s much easier to rent a house or condominium. The Thai government has specified that a percentage of each condominium or apartment complex must be owned by Thai natives, and the rest are open to foreigner buyers. That percentage is the magic number that anyone looking to buy property in Thailand needs to know.
49% The Magic Number
The magic number is 49 percent. In any condominium complex, 49 percent of units can be rented to foreigners, and the other 51 percent must be filled by native-Thai owners. That means, for instance, if a complex had 100 units and all of them were full, at least 51 of the units must be filled by Thai natives, and the other 49 would be available to foreigners. But if all 100 units were not filled, at least 51 percent of the units that were rented out would need to be rented to Thai-natives, or else the unit would be violating the government regulations.
The magic number is especially important in cities, because expats tend to choose them over rural areas. Bangkok is especially popular with foreigners, and complexes in downtown Bangkok often hit the 49 percent mark fast. Luckily, there are lots of affordable new developments being built in and around the downtown area.
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