Foreign ownership of Thai land, but with many conditions


A rai of land in Thailand is all up to you, whether you are a foreigner, have a lot of money or are going to be staying in Thailand for a long time.

Plans to sell freehold land to foreigners are gaining momentum and are expected to become law by the end of this year. It is part of the Thai government’s intention to attract ‘high-spending’ foreigners as part of its economic recovery plans after the two-year ‘Covid pause’.

The four groups, often touted, include people with enormous wealth, wealthy retirees, those who want to work remotely in Thailand (but on a minimum income), and specifically skilled professionals.

Thailand’s land department says the offer will be made to foreigners “who are eligible” and meet the criteria set by the Ministry of Interior and “must invest at least 40 million baht for at least three years”.

Until 2026, the Thai government aims to attract over 1 million qualified (wealthy) people to Thailand, attracting an estimated additional income to the country of 1 trillion baht.

Some of the global issues – the war in Eastern Europe, climate change, the current Covid Zero policy in China and the crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong – play into the plan to attract the world‘s wealthy to relatively stable shores of Thailand. Russians, Ukrainians, Chinese (mainland and Hong Kong residents) are already buying.

Brennan Campbell, CEO of FazWaz.com, says there has been a noticeable increase in sales of Thai properties to wealthy foreigners over the past 7 months.

“We have seen growth in buying from high-end buyers from Hong Kong, China and Russia, among many other countries. The Thai property market appears to be the big winner from some of the instability in d other parts of the world.

But the proposal has drawn mixed reactions from a number of Thai spokespersons, hinting at possible problems with the new foreign ownership proposal.

Sanan Angubolkul, president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, says there should be additional requirements.

“Foreigners with the privilege must purchase first-hand land and property only and resell it only to Thai nationals and purchases must be made in designated areas.”

Pornpana Kuaycharoen, founder and coordinator of Land Watch Thai, asks the question… “who really benefits from this policy?

“They are rich people. Those who already own the majority of land in the country will profit from selling it to investors and will further exacerbate the problem of unequal land ownership in Thailand.

“As many Thais still do not own land, why should we allow foreign investors to take more land from the country?”

Other scholars point to the need to update Thai property and corporate laws to avoid the unintended consequences of such a policy.

And many Thais on social media have questioned the Thai government’s U-turn on selling freehold properties to foreigners, even if it is limited to a single rai.

“I think there will be so many loopholes in these laws that we will end up selling out Thailand without even knowing it.”

“We should find ways to improve our economy without selling Thailand in a big sale.”

“These buyers will just invest and not live here. They don’t care about Thailand.

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