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Bangkok Real Estate – House and Land

EasyHomes Bullet Investing in Bangkok Real Estate, 2014 and Beyond – Part 3/8

Bangkok House Investment Options for Foreigners

Home keySo far in this series on foreign investment in Thai real estate, we have looked at the advantages of investing in Bangkok property. We reviewed the individual types of housing opportunities and the formats for purchasing condos, apartments, houses, and land in the Thai capital. In this piece we will briefly look at the procedures involved for acquiring a townhouse or detached house in city.

Be Wise! Optimize Your Purchasing Decision

It’s advisable to seek advice from a Real Estate Agent or legal representative before buying property in Thailand. Although legal disputes are rare for foreigners purchasing real estate in Bangkok or beyond, getting professional guidance will place you in a much better position to optimize your purchasing decision. Additionally, a thorough property due diligence should always be conducted prior to securing any deals.

The “Grounded Property” Issue Explained

Unlike buying a condo, a townhouse or detached house is more complicated for the foreign investor.  This is because there’s land involved in the purchase, and that means the property is “grounded.” Under the rules of land ownership in Thailand, foreigners are prohibited to own land outright. However, there is a way around this for those wanting to invest in grounded property.

In the Name of a Thai Registered Company

The most common approach used by foreigners wishing to buy land in Thailand is through the name of a Thai registered company. This is typically set up and managed by the foreigner. However, a non-national can only own 49% of the company, while the other 51% of shares must be in Thai hands.

What usually happens is that the 51% of Thai shares is divided between several different shareholders. This means the foreigner is the majority stakeholder and consequently has the majority vote on all company decisions. The format and preparation involved in setting up the company is done in such a way that the Thai shareholders are not able to contact each other, and therefore their voting right and control over the business is minimal at best.

Other Alternatives for Acquiring Land in Thailand

There are some other, less conventional ways for foreigners to obtain land in Thailand.

  • Board of Investment (BOI) – foreigner invests cash into Thailand
  • Marriage to a Thai National
  • Leasing

If you would like to know more about the above alternatives, please contact us.

Selling Your “Grounded Property”

As and when foreign owners want to sell their Bangkok Townhouse or detached house, it’s comforting to know that this is a fairly simple and cheap process, and certainly more straightforward than Thai nationals selling to one another. Land Taxes in Thailand must be paid upon the sale of any type of property in the Kingdom. These taxes are:

1. Stamp Duty (Land Tax) – 2%
2. Withholding Tax – 1.5%
3. Business Tax (if the property has been owned for less than 5yrs) – 3.3%

However, if the property is held by a company, then the foreign owner only has to sell the business to the new buyer. This is a simple and inexpensive administrative exercise that involves little more than changing the shareholder’s details, that is, the foreign shareholder sells his 49% stake to the new owner, thus avoiding all of the above taxes.

The Conclusion

Although organizing the ownership of a townhouse or detached house in Bangkok/Thailand may seem troublesome at first, it does have its advantages. Furthermore, it is cheaper to sell grounded property on than it is for foreigners selling Thai condos that they own outright.


If you would like to have your say on “Bangkok Real Estate – House and Land Purchase” please leave your comments below. Alternatively, you can contact us direct.

About Amorn S

Amorn Suramongkol is passionate about Thai real estate and writes useful and informative articles for aimed at helping Bangkok's expats find homes and settle in to the capital.

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