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Buying Real Estate in Thailand as a Foreigner

Transcript of the above video:

In this video we are going to be discussing foreigners and the purchasing of real estate in the Kingdom.

First things first: People should be well aware by this point if they have been watching this channel for any period of at all, and those who have not I strongly recommend checking out some of the other videos on here where we discussed this stuff specifically, but foreigners are heavily, heavily restricted from purchasing real property here in the Kingdom of Thailand, specifically land. Thai authorities very much believe in the restriction of ownership of real estate in Thailand to Thai Nationals and for this reason I am making this video mostly to provide some insight into the methodologies by which a foreigner can enjoy some property ownership and we will discuss a little bit more about how that come about. But the first thing to take away from this video is it is heavily restricted. Now there is a lot of misnomers out there about how foreigners cannot own land in Thailand. That is not strictly speaking true. A foreigner can own land in Thailand but it is subject to the consent of the Minister of the Interior so the Minister of the Interior has to sign off on a foreign national owning real property here in the Kingdom. As those watching can probably imagine, this isn't something that happens with any great frequency and so as a practical matter it is best to think that foreigners effectively cannot own real property in here in the Kingdom.

That being said, there are some exceptions to this, most notably condominiums. There is another video on this channel which goes specifically into how foreigners can buy condominiums here in the Kingdom of Thailand, but suffice it to say foreigners can own condominiums here in the Kingdom.  There are certain restrictions most notably 49% or less of the overall unit capacity of condominium has to be, 49% or less must be reserved for foreign ownership.  So foreigners can only own up to 49% of a given condominium unit so if the hundred units foreigners can only own 49 of them.

There are going to be those out there who state that use of Thai companies or various Thai corporate structures, that ownership of real property can be undertaken. Yes there are ways in which structures can be set up which effectively a foreign national can have ownership, well ownership is the wrong word, enjoyment of Thai real estate. That being stated, the spirit of the law is such that it should be restricted, unless there is a circumstance where the Minister of the Interior has signed off. In these structures which are utilized to circumvent that, those entering those should know that they are entering at their own risk. There is always the risk that certain corporate structures can be deemed to simply be being used to circumvent the relevant law on the restriction of foreign ownership in Thailand and they could in theory be dissolved. There could be all sorts of consequences where an individual may lose a substantial investment due to an incorrectly set up, or I should say perhaps, an imperfect corporate structure and frankly in my opinion most all of these corporate structures are imperfect. There is no way to guarantee through corporate structuring, the enjoyment of land rights by a foreign national in the Kingdom of Thailand. It is simply not possible.  That being said, you will often see or hear of people that are effectively doing it, they are enjoying the use of Thailand notwithstanding the fact that they are a foreigner because they utilize some structure. I am not going to comment specifically on anything of that nature, but basically in my opinion everything that lies in that realm sort of lies in the spectrum of varying degrees of certainty with respect to one's ability to continuously control and enjoy such real estate. The other thing to take away from this video is, there are long-term leases in Thailand and notwithstanding the fact that foreigners may not be able to actually own real estate in the Kingdom, Thai authorities have seriously been considering the extension of long-term leases.  So currently, there's 30 years leases for residential and 50 year leases for commercial property; 50 year leases in certain circumstances, 30 years is kind of the rule of thumb.

That being said, then you can get into the issue of things like renewals and automatic renewals etc. I am not going to go into all of that here. Suffice it to say there are long-term lease options and Thai authorities are considering longer-term lease options in order to make the Kingdom more attractive for foreign investment. Where that ultimately goes remains to be seen but I think it stands to reason we may see some laxity or easing up in the lease rules, but moving forward I don't think it gets particularly prudent to assume that we are going to see any changes to the rules with respect to foreigners owning real estate in the Kingdom of Thailand.