Investing in real estate is one of the most lucrative ways to spend your money, as it gives the assurance of higher returns in the future. As a non-Thai national, you can buy property in Thailand; however, you cannot have the ownership of the freehold land in your name. Although the building structure can be legally registered and owned in your name, the freehold land title must be registered in the name of a limited company or a Thai national.
So what is there for you as an expat? Well, there are plenty of options, and you can still own property in Thailand.
Here are your five options to own Thai real estate.
#1 Leasing a land or property
One of the easiest options to own property in Thailand is to lease a piece of land or an apartment. In simple words, leasing property is a prepaid rental agreement between you and the real owner of the property. You can lease property for thirty years, which can be renewed up to 2-3 times depending on the owner or developer. However, a carefully worded contracted is recommended and hiring a lawyer is your best bet at this point.
Visiting sites like Thailandflat.com can help you contact a whole host of genuine real estate developers, buyers, and sellers in Thailand.
#2 Buying a condo
The most straightforward way to own a property in Thailand is owning a condo. According to the Thai Condominium Act of 1979, foreigners can buy a condo, given that 51% of the total unit space belongs to the Thai nationals and the rest 49% to the expats. For example, if there are 100 condos in a real estate project, the foreigners will be left with 49 units, whereas 51 units will be made available to the Thai nationals.
#3 Board of Investment (BOI Investment)
Under section 96 of the 1999 Land Code Amendment Act, the Board of Investment allows foreigners to own up to 1600 sq. Meters (approximately 1 rai) of the freehold land. This is the most uncommon type of ownership but possible. However, it will require you a total investment of around $12 million US (40 million Thai baht) to acquire the property. On the other hand, the land you will be owning should only be used for residential purpose.
#4 Structured ownership
A company of an expat may grant Right of Superficies in favor of the expat, giving him/her the right to own the structures situated on the land personally. Under this scenario, the foreigner can be registered as the rightful owner of all the constructions without owning the property. The ownership can be conceded for 30 years, which can be renewed upon request.
#5 Having a Thai wife
In order to legally purchase land in Thailand, you can marry a Thai woman. Under the Thai Property Law of 1999, a foreigner with a Thai spouse can lawfully own land in Thailand. However, it is under the Thai spouse’s name the land must be registered at the land department. On the other hand, the foreigner must need to declare that the money used to purchase the land was the money given by the Thai spouse and not foreigner’s.