PM dismisses concerns over foreign condo ownership plan

Image courtesy of Home Finder Bangkok

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin dismissed allegations that a government proposal to increase the foreign ownership quota in condominiums and extend land leases is akin to “selling off the nation.”

“It is about long-term leases, not selling land. It has nothing to do with selling the nation.”

Last week, the Cabinet ordered a study into raising the proportion of foreign ownership in condominiums from 49% to 75% and extending land lease terms for foreigners from between 30 to 50 years to 99 years at a maximum.

The proposal was not discussed in yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul mentioned that the Department of Lands is evaluating both the positive and negative aspects of the policy.

Anutin emphasised that the government aims to stimulate the economy and that the proposed changes would not exclusively benefit capitalists. He assured that the rights of Thai citizens would be safeguarded while the economy would receive a boost.

Caretaker Senator Somchai Swangkarn expressed concerns about potential conflicts of interest, suggesting that the proposals could benefit property businesses linked to Cabinet ministers, including the Thai prime minister, who previously led real estate developer Sansiri Plc before his political career. Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat defended the proposal.

Territory intact

“If the government increases condo quotas for foreign buyers and extends the leasing period on land for foreigners, the territory of Thailand still remains intact.”

While some worry about the potential impact on property prices, Julapun shifts the focus to people’s inability to access loans rather than the prices themselves.

The current government has introduced several policies to stimulate investment, enhance employment, and position Thailand as a global hub to attract foreign tourists. The administration also aims to attract skilled foreigners to reside in the country.

Although the government proposes increasing the foreign ownership quota in condos to 75%, voting rights for foreign owners would remain capped at 49%.

Local real estate executives have expressed their support for the proposal to extend land leases to 99 years, suggesting that this change would attract more foreign investment.

The Honorary President of the Housing Business Association, Issara Boonyoung noted that seven real estate organisations recently met with officials from the Department of Lands and other agencies to discuss changes aimed at encouraging foreigners to purchase real estate.

Applied selectively

He recommended that new foreign ownership rules be applied selectively in areas popular with foreigners, such as Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya.

President of the Agency for Real Estate Affairs, Sopon Pornchokchai, highlighted that lease periods for foreigners are limited to 50 years in Cambodia, China, Myanmar, and Vietnam, 30 years in Indonesia, and 60 years in Singapore.

He also noted the caps on foreign ownership of condominiums: 30% in Vietnam, 49% in Indonesia, and 50% in Malaysia.

Sopon proposed that foreign buyers should be prohibited from selling purchased condominiums for three years to deter speculation, reported Bangkok Post.

Business NewsThailand News

Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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