There are various form of real estate property in Thailand which includes condominium, house, land and villas. Despite the fact that a lot of foreigners are interested in investing with real property in Phuket Thailand, Thai law restricts foreign land ownership. Foreigners are not allowed to purchase land under his name, but can only own the structure built upon the land. Thus, attempting to own a real property in Thailand can be challenging. A reputable law firm can present options available for a foreigner who are interested on buying real property in Phuket, Thailand.
Condominium in Thailand
For a foreigner, the easiest way of acquiring a real estate property in Phuket Thailand would be buying a condominium unit. Foreigners are allowed to purchase condominium units in Thailand as long as they would comply with the distribution of ownership over the condominium building; must pay for the condo with a foreign currency; and be able to obtain a certificate from the local bank.
As per Thailand law, the ownership ratio of the condo units must be 51% Thai-owned and 49% foreign ownership. This means that 51% ratio of the total number of condo units in a condo development must be owned by Thai nationals, while the foreigners can collectively own only 49% of the total number of the spaces of the whole units.
Buying a Condominium in Thailand is governed by the Condominium Act B.E. 2522 (Amended 2008) which highlights the following:
- To be enforceable, an Agreement to Sell a Unit or a Contract of Sale of a Unit must be executed in accordance with the form of the Agreement or Contract set forth by the Minister of Interior and must be advantageous to the party buying the unit.
- The ownership of the condominium unit is indivisible. The owner has the ownership in the personal property which is his own and has the joint ownership in the common property such as the land on which the condominium is situated.
- Ownership in the common properties is according to the ratio of the price of each condominium unit and the total price of all units.
Who are eligible to own or buy a condominium in Thailand:
- All foreigners permitted to have residence in the Kingdom under the immigration law;
- Juristic persons as provided in Section 97 and 98 of the Land Code and registered as juristic persons under Thai law;
- Juristic persons which are aliens under the Announcement of the National Executive Council No.281 dated November 24, B.E. 2515 and have obtained promotion certificate under investment promotion law;
- Aliens or juristic persons regarded by law as aliens who have brought in foreign currency into the Kingdom, or withdraw money from Thai baht account of the person who has residence outside the Kingdom, or withdraw money from a foreign currency account.
Process of purchasing a Condo Unit in Thailand
The purchasing foreigner should have 2 bank accounts: one from overseas and a bank account in Thailand. The money to be used should remain in such foreign currency. The foreign currency must be transferred into Thailand and converted into Thai Baht within Thailand. A Foreign Exchange Transaction Form (FETF) must be filed for large foreign currency transactions. The bank shall then issue a certificate that it indeed the money is transferred from a bank overseas and that the purpose of the transfer of money is to purchase the condominium unit. The FETF must be presented at the Land Office on the day of transfer of ownership.
On Owning Land
Unlike condominiums, owning a land in Thailand is restricted to foreigners. However as a foreigner, you may own a land by being a minority shareholder in a Thai company; or by being a majority shareholder in a foreign company which was granted with land-holding privileges by the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI).
Freehold Through a Thailand Company
By registering a majority Thai company, foreign land ownership is possible. Companies registered in Thailand with majority Thai ownership are permitted to purchase and own land. If you are a minority shareholder in a legitimate Thai company you may own real property in Thailand through that company.
Foreign Companies with BOI Incentives
Foreign companies may be granted BOI incentives including permission to own land in Thailand. While these incentives are not available for foreign land holding or development companies, they are available for some property intensive businesses like hotels.
If the two aforementioned are not probable options, foreigners can also acquire land in Thailand through leasehold or a long term land lease up to 30 years.