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Real Estate

Can a foreigner buy land in Thailand?

Easy answer, No.  There are always loopholes though, but you may or may not want to take advantage of them.  Here are the basics.

If you are a foreigner

  • You are allowed to buy, with some reservations, a condominium unit. 
  • You can buy a building but not the land it is on. 
  • You can hold a 30 year lease on certain lands and buildings. 
  • You can be a part owner of a company that can own property. 
  • You can invest B40 Million in Thailand and own up to 1 Rai of land.

The favorite loopholes

  • Put the land in someone else's name.  Quite often this turns out to be a Thai girlfriend, Thai husband/wife, or Thai friend.  The question is, would you place your life's savings into one of these people hands?  Many do.  Some are happy with the results, others not so happy.
  • Have a Thai company own the land (that you paid for) and they will give you a lifetime lease for the use of the land.  Anyone can open up a company offering this service.  Some will be honest and legal and others not.
  • Establish a corporation in Thailand and have the corporation buy the land/house.  The corporation may be owned only in part by you so you must be sure that you have majority voting rights that will assure that you retain the use of your land/house.

Is real estate a good investment in Thailand?

Any number of people who have come to Thailand with a background of buying and selling real estate abroad have been sadly confronted with the fact that real estate in Thailand and real estate in their home countries are quite different animals.

Normally a real estate investment goes something like this.  You by a piece of land or a house for a certain price, hold it for a period of time, it appreciates in value, and then you sell it for a higher price than what you bought it for.  It is just how things work, right?  Well, not necessarily.

Land, and especially houses, in Thailand sometimes act more like a car would.  It quite often depreciates in value. It's not because the house is worth less.  The appraised value may be higher than when you bought it, or at least that is what people will tell you.  The problem is that many Thais do not want to buy a "used" house or condo.  The same people who would rather buy a new car would rather buy a new house.  A "used" house just isn't something they would consider buying.

Dozens of real estate agencies will tell you what a great investment in Thailand would be.  Remember where their loyalties lie.

A house or condo may be "worth" a certain price but that doesn't mean that is the price you will be able to sell it for.  Now, if you can get a Farang, or Expat, to buy your investment then maybe you will get the price that the house is "worth".  Remember the definition of how much something is worth.  It is worth exactly how much someone else is willing to pay you for it.

Remember, any money invested in real estate is not liquid.  You will not have the freedom to just pick up and leave if that is what you decide to do.  And even if you sell the house, exchanging your money into another currency might be a problem.


We recommend starting out by renting (a condo, house, villa) and taking your time before you consider buying.  By waiting you will still be retaining any principle you might have invested and you will have time to decide if Thailand is really the place you want to live.

If you do elect to buy then be sure to contact a lawyer to make sure that your rights are protected.

We also recommend finding out what other people have encountered when they bought property in Thailand.  That you can do below.

Info on buying land

Personal Stories

Here are some website showing available Chiang Mai rentals with pictures of outside and in. Google city name + real estate for other towns.