An introduction to foreign ownership in Thailand

foreign ownership in Thailand

This article is a special contribution to Thailand Property from Mike Wall, author of Buying a Condominium Unit in Thailand

Thailand welcomed nearly 33 million visitors in 2016, with some of these guests revisiting the Kingdom on multiple occasions, eventually falling in love with its climate, culture, people, flora and fauna. Some even decide to buy a property in the country as a bolt hole with the possibility of ultimately retiring here. However, foreign ownership in Thailand can be complex. 

An expatriate with little or no family ties may be able to retire wherever he or she wants. However, when considering places to retire there are several aspects that have to be checked about the intended location including:

  • Climate?
  • Cost of living?
  • Language?
  • Security?
  • Political stability?
  • Availability of suitable accommodation?
  • Income tax regime?
  • Quality of life?
  • Quality, availability and cost of medical facilities?

No country is perfect in meeting all of the above requirements. When considering retirement in Europe, Spain has been the most popular destination. In Asia, Thailand ticks most of the boxes.

So, where to live? House or condo? Many choose a condominium unit due to lower living costs. However, the purchase process is far from simple due to the fact that foreigners are unable to own Thai land or property outright. The process requires the assistance of various professionals. Often, the buyer is signing documents without knowing what they are signing.

There are many possible permutations involving foreign ownership in Thailand, whether for occupation, renting or investment. There are many costs, including official fees and taxes payable to the Government. The recurring costs of living in a condominium unit such as water, electricity and management fees will also need to be considered. How these are calculated and who manages them on behalf of owners are the responsibility of the Condominium Corporate Board (CCB). It’s important that a unit owner should be familiar with their CCB.

A checklist of questions which a buyer should ask about the unit purchase whether it be ‘off plan’, new or second hand can be a valuable tool. In my new book, I cover this and many other topics that are aimed at giving a foreign buyer a better understanding of the entire condo buying process.

About the author

Having operated his own company in Southeast Asia for many years, Mike Wall and his family retired to Thailand in 2011. To supplement retirement income, they purchased several condo units. Since retiring Mike has been writing technical books and training modules and set about writing a book entitled ‘Buying a Condominium Unit in Thailand’. It is now available on and in hard copy from the author at: