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Reform urged for foreigners to invest or buy condos in Thailand

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Industry people are urging Thailand to simplify rules for foreigners to invest and buy condos. (via Fire in Thailand)
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The vice-chairman of the Board of Trade of Thailand is calling for amendments to the restrictions and processes for foreigners to buy condos and invest in the country. He said the process is unnecessarily complex, and steps need to be taken to improve procedures and conditions if Thailand’s plan to lure wealthy pensioners is to gain any traction.

He called for the money transfer procedures in particular to be revised as they can involve forcing condo buyers to transfer their money out of Thailand into their home currency and then back into Thailand again in order to show the required foreign exchange transaction to the Lands Department. For buyers who have businesses or families in Thailand, this is an unnecessary burden.

Most countries don’t care about money coming into their country, just money going out, so the vice-chairman suggested Thailand’s rules are overbearing. He also argued against the sentiment that Thai people consider foreign ownership of property in Thailand to be treasonous, though Thais can buy property overseas without the same stigma.

He stressed that Thais and foreign buyers are rarely in competition as the homes and locations desired by foreign pensioners are usually different to the desires of Thai buyers. In fact, a senior research fellow at the Thailand Development and Research Institute suggests that without foreign investment in the property sector the economy may struggle.

Skilled labour shortages, 1.5 trillion baht of debt, and slowing Thai population growth all hurt the housing market, but Thailand attracts foreigners like digital nomads seeking to relocate or pensioners seeking to retire in the country. Long-term foreigners pump money into the Thai economy, stimulate employment and invest in the country.

Thailand is aiming to generate 800 billion baht of investments from 80,000 rich pensioners and 10,000 other wealthy people, plus an additional 270 billion baht in taxes. The government’s overall plan has set its sights on bringing in 1 million foreigners, each of which is expected to spend 1 million baht per year to generate 1 trillion baht annually.

The plan is to set up a service centre for long-term residents to help them clear all the complexities and hurdles for foreigners to buy condos and invest in Thailand now. The research fellow suggested also increasing the amount of medical support available if Thailand is luring in many older foreigners. They expect the scheme to pick up in the first or second quarter of 2022.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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