Buying property in Thailand as an Australian.

Roberto Efflandrin

With its pristine beaches, vibrant street markets, and rich tapestry of traditions, Thailand has long held an irresistible allure for Australians seeking an exotic escape. Sometimes that allure becomes so strong that the prospect of buying real estate might cross the mind.

This article will explore the Thai property market, answer this key question and provide some extra information about delving into this prospect.

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This article is purely for general information purposes and is not to be taken as financial advice. We recommend that you obtain independent financial advice before making any form of investment.

Can Australians buy property or real estate in Thailand ?

Yes, Australians can legally buy property in Thailand, but this is only limited to two specific types of properties. These property types include condominium apartments in a residential building and units known as condotels in commercial buildings.¹

If you are looking to buy land, you are out of luck, as foreigners are not allowed to buy land under their name in the Kingdom of Thailand.² For this article we will focus on buying personal property purchases only.

What is reciprocity when it comes to buying property in different countries

Reciprocity or a reciprocity agreement is a formalised arrangement that allows citizens of each country involved to enjoy equal benefits when visiting each other's countries. Some countries can have reciprocity agreements for many things including healthcare, free-trade, residency rights or property ownership. Unfortunately, there is no reciprocity agreement between Australia and Thailand when it comes to property or real estate ownership.

What’s the property market like in Thailand?

The property market in Thailand slowed dramatically during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when it came to foreign investment. SInce then, it has seen a steady rise again, however global economic pressures are slightly slowing down the market demand.

This is set to change though with the market size projected to rise from $51 Billion USD in 2023 to $65.67 billion USD by 2028.³ WIth this number in mind, as an Australian looking for a lucrative foreign market to jump into, Thailand may be just what you are looking for.

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Property prices for different types of property in different locations

Now to look at some of the property prices to expect around the country in some of the more popular cities.

Cities/RegionCondo typeCost (AUD)
Bangkok1 bed⁴$12,500+
2 bed⁵$24,000+
Phuket Town, Phuket2 Bed beachfront⁶$315,000
Patong, Phuket2 bed Penthouse⁷$765,000
Chiang Mai1 bed⁸$120,000
Pattaya1 bed⁹$179,000
Koh samui1 bed sea views¹⁰$371,000

As seen on 15 September 2023

How to find property to buy in Thailand

Condominiums are not too hard to find in the larger cities or more popular provinces such as Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai or Pattaya. If you do want to initiate the process, visiting some popular agency sites are a great way to check out the market.

List some popular agents in Thailand and other ways to find properties for sale

With its large population, there is alot of local and international agents to choose from across all regions of Thailand. Here are some of the most popular agencies.

  • CBRE Thailand
  • SEA Property
  • Shinyu Real Estate
  • Pearl Property Pattaya
  • Forbest Properties
  • PBRE Real Estate
  • CMP Realty
  • RE/MAX Thailand
  • Knight Frank Thailand
  • Colliers International Thailand

You could try these real estate marketplaces too to check out the market before you travel to Thailand

  • FazWaz
  • Siam Real Estate
  • Realestate.com.au

How to choose the right property to buy in Thailand. What to consider

When contemplating the right property to purchase in Thailand as an Australian, it's essential to navigate your options wisely as scams are common. Here are some key things to ponder.

Your preferred location

Begin by identifying the city or region in Thailand that aligns with your preferences and lifestyle. This means whether you’d like to be close to the beach, mountains, or have easy access to the islands.

Your ideal property specifications

Determine the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you require in the property. As you are limited to condos and apartments, the size of the apartment matters..

If you need or want extra amenities

Is a swimming pool, gym, or any other features that can come in newer apartment buildings important to you.

Your budget

Having a clear budget range will narrow down your options and help you determine if Thailand has the property options you are looking for. Its important here to give some lee-way for additional expenses that could be incurred such as taxes, maintenance fees, and legal costs.

The intended use for the property

Make sure your intended use for the property is going to align with Thai laws and applicable to suit your immigration status in Thailand.

Can you get a mortgage in Thailand as an Australian

Generally speaking, it is quite difficult for Australians and foreign citizens to get a mortgage with a local Thai bank. You would have to meet certain conditions for a bank to give you a mortgage to buy a local property. These include:

  • Be a permanent resident in thailand or proof of at least a 1-year work permit
  • Be married to a Thai national and have a valid marriage certificate

If you don’t fulfil the above criteria, then it is recommended to apply for an international loan in Australia.¹¹

Documents needed for buying a property in Thailand as an Australian

Once you’ve found a property and are ready to make an offer, knowing what some of the required documents involved can help speed up the process. Some documents you will need to gather yourself or be ready to accept from the seller are¹²:

  1. Your Australian passport and other forms of identifications
  2. FET or foreign transaction form for purchases over $50,000 USD
  3. The land title deed
  4. Thai house book or a tabien baan
  5. Property Sale Agreement

Your chosen real estate or lawyer will be able to guide through the specific document requirements for your purchase.

What are the legal requirements for buying property in Thailand as an Australian

One thing to keep in mind is Australians can only buy condos in residential buildings that have less than 49% foreign ownership. Personal properties must also be purchased at the equivalent property price in Thai Baht.²

Land ownership is governed by the Land Code Act that has strictly imposed laws against foreigners owning land in Thailand. If you do have your heart set on something more rural or want to explore ways to own both land and property together, there are a few things to look into.

  • You can organise a long term lease-hold up to 30 years
  • You could buy through a Thai Private Company you set up
  • If you have a Thai spouse, you could list the land under their name

To discuss these options, it's recommended to hire a local lawyer well versed with foreign property ownership.²

What are the taxes and fees usually levied on property purchases in Thailand

There are a few taxes and fees that are required on top of the property price. These fees are usually taken on by either the buyer or seller of the property. Some of the fees include²:

  • A property transfer fee of 2% is required by the buyer
  • Stamp duty fee of 0.5% required by the seller
  • Withholding tax of 1% required by the seller
  • Business tax of 3.3% required by the seller

When buying an apartment or condominium in a residential building, you may have to contribute to the general upkeep of the communal type spaces of the building. These fees are known as a common area maintenance fee.¹³

Steps to take to buy a house in Thailand

Although we have covered a few of the steps throughout this article, here is the complete list of steps to buy real estate in Thailand as a private Australian buyer:

  1. Find and hire a skilled local real estate agent who understands your chosen region
  2. Consult a Thai property lawyer before signing any contracts
  3. Verify property ownership, clear titles, land history, and rights of access at the Land office.
  4. Make an offer and negotiate the price with the seller.
  5. Have a property lawyer review the Purchase and Sales Agreement (PSA)
  6. Make a deposit and include a protective clause in your offer contract
  7. Settle the remaining balance or set up how you are going to pay
  8. Register your name on the title deed at the Land Office

And just like that, you’ll have the keys to your new place in Thailand.

Avoiding scams when buying a property in Thailand

One thing to know about Thailand is that even without buying property, scams are commonplace. So it’s important to follow these tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Partner with an reputable real estate agent
  • Check out the property's history, ownership documents, and titles at the local Thai land office
  • Get a trusted local lawyer
  • Always visit the property yourself to confirm it matches what's advertised online
  • Don't be swayed by shady offers and always compare prices with the local market.
  • Avoid hefty upfront payments without proper documentation.
  • Get the lowdown from local expats or residents for insights from others who've been through property transactions.

It is always best to also do some research about common property scams in Thailand before you start the process.

What else to keep in mind

Buying a property anywhere, even in Australia comes with a whole range of commitments. It's imperative that before you commit to buying a property in Thailand, you are well aware of the local laws, customs and ongoing fees of property ownership.

Wise for sending large amounts

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Wise is a specialist in sending large amounts overseas, securely. The added bonus is that with a sliding fee scale, the more you send, the more you save. The exchange rate is always based on the mid-market rate, like the one you’d see on Google.

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You’ll need to keep in mind how much your receiving bank will accept in one transaction, check with them first before making the transfer.

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This article is purely for general information purposes and is not to be taken as financial advice. We recommend that you obtain independent financial advice before making any form of investment.

Sources:
  1. Silk Estate types of properties
  2. Thai Law land ownership
  3. Mordor Intelligence property market
  4. Fazwaz Bangkok condo
  5. Fazwaz Bangkok two
  6. Fazwaz Phuket town
  7. Fazwaz Patong
  8. Fazwaz Chiang Mai
  9. Fazwaz Pattaya
  10. Fazwaz Koh Samu
  11. Siam Legal mortgage
  12. Samui Real Estate documents
  13. Siam Legal condo fees
  14. Eligibility is subject to verification of customers' identity

Sources checked on: 02 September 2023


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