Thailand has been a magnet for holidaymakers for many years and overseas property buyers are now also looking to this beautiful Far Eastern destination to buy.
Overview of the property market in Thailand
- Prices of Thailand property are very reasonable and the cost of living is low
- Wide range of properties, prices and locations for those buying property in Thailand
- Exotic climate and some awe-inspiring beauty in its islands, mountains and rural landscapes
- Some restrictions on foreign ownership
In Bangkok, the country has one of Asia's busiest capitals, and a thriving commercial centre. Elsewhere, there are some excellent beach resorts, golf courses, hundreds of islands and mountain, rural and jungle retreats.
There is a wide range of Thailand property and prices vary enormously across the country. The cost of living is generally low and it is generally a safe and welcoming country for visitors. There is also culture, magnificent natural beauty, delicious cuisine and great weather. Though there are some restrictions on property ownership in Thailand, tourism is at least as popular as ever, not just from Europe but also from Australia and the rest of south east Asia. It is not exactly a short hop from Britain but you will never find anywhere quite like Thailand very close to home - and more and more overseas property buyers are considering the trip worthwhile.
Choice of property in Thailand
Most visitors will enter Thailand via Bangkok, a sprawling city of perhaps 15 million people and a long-established gateway for business in the Far East. Its commercial districts still thrive and there is a great deal of Bangkok property construction being undertaken here and a wide choice of apartments and condominiums available. This type of property is by far the most popular for overseas property buyers in Thailand, not least due to legislation forbidding foreigners from owning land there.
Two of the most popular coastal areas on mainland Thailand are Pattaya and Hua Hin. Pattaya lies to the south east of Bangkok, about 160 kilometres (100 miles) outside the capital. It has two main beaches and over 20 golf courses within an hour of the town. Hua Hin is an altogether quieter area, located 200 kilometres (130 miles) south of Bangkok. It is the Thai royal family's summer residence. It has a long sandy beach and the region is subject to strict development restrictions, though quality golf and beach properties are being built in this picturesque region.
In the north of the country, the city of Chiang Mai is becoming increasingly modernised while retaining much of its ancient charm. Thailand's second city is much smaller than Bangkok and but combines the commercial and shopping opportunities expected of a modern city with the serenity afforded by over 300 temples and its proximity to some of the most popular tourist activities - jungle tours, elephant treks and some of Thailand's most breathtaking rural locales. Golfers will also find a number of excellent courses in this region.
Thai islands have been some of the country's most visited tourist destinations and have attracted some of the most intense property buying interest too. Phuket is perhaps the best-known destination and its numerous excellent beaches and some truly stunning (and expensive) hillside properties are understandably in demand from foreign property buyers. It is by no means the only island worthy of property hunters' attention - Phi Phi, Koh Samui and Koh Chang, to name but three, can also offer a beautiful location for a holiday property in Thailand.
The property market in Thailand
The bloodless military coup of September 2006 contributed to a slowdown in property price rises in Thailand. The new regime clamped down very firmly on some of the loopholes in Thai law regarding foreign ownership of property in Thailand. Though they did not introduce any new laws, they began to scrutinise property transactions involving overseas property buyers, who are not allowed to own land, though within certain limitations they are legally able to own property in Thailand.
The somewhat arbitrary nature of periodic clampdowns since has undermined confidence in some potential overseas property buyers and property price appreciation in Thailand has slowed as demand has diminished. However, with patience and good legal assistance, property buyers should not be put off looking to buy Thailand property. It is especially important under these circumstances that you seek the best possible independent advice before and during the property buying process.
The capital is an important commercial centre in south east Asia and there are good opportunities for property rentals in Bangkok. The latest figures suggest around an 8 per cent annual return here. Property prices and the cost of living are generally highest in the capital, though there is a supply of jaw-dropping multi-million pound properties in Phuket. Even in the popular resorts, prices are generally very affordable for British property buyers and build quality for new property developments is up to European standards.
Tourism in Thailand comes not just from Europe but also from Australasia and other south eastern Asian countries, and high quality property in any popular location should offer owners a reasonable return. Though tax on rental income is not high, Capital Gains Tax is 30 per cent, the highest rate in the region.
Hot spots to buy property in Thailand
Hua Hin has become a a very popular second home destination recently so there is a huge choice of Hua Hin property for sale. New developments are springing up rapidly so you are spoilt for choice when looking to buy.
Koh Samui as a semi-mature property market and boasts more five and six star resorts than any other in the world. Prices of property in Koh Samui went up by up to 50 per cent in 2007.
Property in Pattaya has risen in value by 70 per cent to 80 per cent, due largely to to a very limited supply of high quality apartments. Pattaya is a rising star in the international yachting scene so property prices look set to continue to rise
Property in Phuket is popular with buyers looking for both rental income and capital growth. But property prices are among the highest in the country. Coastal development is spreading quickly but inland properties overlooking golf courses are becoming more popular.
Some information contained herein may have changed since it was first published. HomesOverseas strongly advises you to seek current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional.