Real estate sector to propose allowing foreigners to buy houses as alternative to buying land in Thailand

Construction News

Real estate sector to propose allowing foreigners to buy houses as alternative to buying land in Thailand

Thai real estate business operators will propose that the government allow foreigners to buy houses on up to 0.16 hectares (one rai) of land, as an alternative to the right to buy the land on which it sits, for residential purposes, as defined in the Interior Ministry’s edict, which has met with resistance from nationalist groups.

Meesak Choonharatchote, president of the Thai Real Estate Association, said yesterday (Friday) that real estate organisations, which include the Thai Condominium Association, the Housing Business Association and 14 other associations, as well as the Thai Chamber of Commerce, will meet on Thursday to discuss the controversial foreign land-ownership issue.

He said that the meeting is expected to come up with an alternative proposal, to be sent to the government for consideration. The proposal is to allow foreigners to buy houses in Thailand, but that there should be limits on the sizes of the houses and prices, on top of the requirement that they hold long-term residential visas.

Moreover, he said foreign house-owners will have the right to vote at meetings of the housing unit’s management body, but not the full rights granted to Thai nationals, said Meesak.

He also noted that the edict, recently issued by the Ministry of Interior, to allow four groups of foreigners with long-term resident visas to buy 0.16 hectares of land in Bangkok, Pattaya, other municipal areas and specific areas with strings attached will not benefit the Thai economy, because such a policy is unlikely to boost liquidity in the economy.

The edict has met with fierce resistance from Thai nationalists, with some of them having accused the government of “selling off” the country to foreigners.

In the USA, UK and the EU, among other places, however, there is no citizenship requirement for the purchase of land for residential purposes. In Australia, residency may be an advantage, but not citizenship.