Investing in Bangkok real estate can be a good idea if you go about it carefully. There are many reasons why investing in Bangkok real estate is attractive to the westerner. For one, the investor can have a little piece of land in a tropical paradise. For someone contemplating retirement, having a piece of Bangkok real estate to live out your golden years can be attractive indeed. However, owning Bangkok real estate oftentimes can be both risky and complicated. Bangkok laws are written in such a way that it makes land ownership difficult and in some cases impossible for a foreigner. There are some things you should know.
Bangkok has a very stable economy in spite of the global recession. One good reason that makes Bangkok real estate a good idea is because the Thai economy continues to be strong in spite of the recent global economical downturn. The Thai currency is also strong against other currencies. Overall prices in the country tend to be relatively stable and much cheaper compared to other nations. Also, development costs are much more affordable in Bangkok because labor and materials are cheap.
There are certain restrictions on property ownership in Bangkok. The most prominent restriction is the fact that a foreigner can own a building or condominium unit but cannot own the land it is on. There are ways to get around this but they can be complicated and risky. One way foreigners own land in Bangkok is to put it in the name of their Thai wife or girlfriend. This has can be a disaster if your relationship with the Thai lady goes sour because you could lose everything. Another way to get around this is by trying to get a 30-year lease on either land or structure. Some foreigners go into business here in Bangkok becoming part owners. Their corporation can own land and structures and then they do a 30-year self-lease. Finally, if you invest 40 million Thai Baht in Thailand, you can own a maximum of 1 rai of land. A rai is a unit of land measure in Thailand and is about 1,600 square meters.
Houses depreciate in Bangkok. In other countries, property such as houses appreciates with age but not in Bangkok. This is because Thai people like to buy houses and cars new. So, unless you sell the property to another westerner, you may have difficulty getting the price you want in order to make a profit on your initial investment.
It might be a good idea to rent while you check things out first. While it is not impossible to own Bangkok real estate, it may be more difficult and risky than you prefer. There are plenty of places where a foreigner can rent and enjoy Bangkok and not have to worry about complications of ownership. Renting will give you a chance to see how you like living in Bangkok and making it your retirement home. If, after a year or so, you decide that you really want to buy your own property, make sure that you consult a Bangkok lawyer to assist you with the process.