Investing in Thailand Property: The Ultimate Guide

Bangkok City

Last updated April 15th, 2024.

A greater number of foreigners buy property in Thailand than any other country in Asia. There are several reasons why Thailand is the most popular choice among real estate investors worldwide.

Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand shares borders with four other nations and thus has served as a regional business hub for centuries.

Thailand’s strategic location made it an ideal buffer zone between colonial France and Britain during the 19th century. In turn, Thailand stayed neutral at the time, making it the only country in Southeast Asia that wasn’t colonized by western powers.

Nowadays, Thailand and its property market can still reap rewards from its geographic position… but in different ways than before.

The nation’s capital of Bangkok is barely an hour-long flight from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Asia’s frontier markets rank among the world’s fastest growing countries and Thailand acts as a main international gateway into them.

Likewise, Thailand’s borders give it easy access to cheaper labor along with an additional 200 million consumers nearby. This central location supports long-term investment thesis of buying property in Thailand.

Frontier markets such as Cambodia and Vietnam help support Thailand’s manufacturing base with their low cost of labor.

In exchange, Thailand is a major source of cross-border trade and investment into its neighbors. The relationship is mutually beneficial and creates synergy.

Thailand’s economy doesn’t solely depend on its neighbors for growth in its real estate market though. A domestic population of 70 million people contributes to the nation’s prominent middle class, and in turn, has led to rising property values.

Not only that, but Thailand ranks among the world’s biggest exporters of electronics and vehicles.

If you open up your computer and read the label on your hard drive, it will probably have a sticker saying “Made in Thailand” on it. That’s because Thailand is one of the world’s top producers of hard drives and memory.

Besides manufacturing, exports, and tourism, Thailand boasts an important real estate and hotel sector.

Indeed, Bangkok ranks among the most heavily touristed cities on the planet is one of Asia’s most popular place to buy real estate as a foreigner.

Such factors have led to steady, consistent growth since the 1980s which transformed Thailand into one of Asia’s most dynamic countries.

Naturally, this general economic success story extends to the Thai real estate market as well. Thai consumers are increasingly capable of purchasing new condos and homes for sale in Bangkok, Pattaya, and Hua Hin.


Hong Kong Skyline

Thailand’s capital of Bangkok is the most visited city in the entire world with more than 20 million annual tourist arrivals during a normal year.

Buyers, sellers, and renters from all over the world are becoming a part of Thailand’s real estate sector whether they’re working as an expat or are one of the thousands of foreign retirees living here.

Like everywhere else though, Thailand has its share of problems. A military coup seized power nearly a decade ago, and is effectively still in place.

Freedom of press rights aren’t the greatest, to put it lightly, while the Thai educational system lags behind regional peers.

But there are also many bright spots. The country is rather friendly towards foreign investment and almost anyone, even tourists, can open a Thai bank account in under 30 minutes.

Foreign property buyers deal with less bureaucracy in Thailand than most other places in developing Asia.

Here’s an example: Thailand ranks 21st out of 190 countries in the newest Ease of Doing Business ratings, gaining ground on competitors Singapore and Malaysia.

In addition, the country claims a strong reputation of bouncing back from tough times. There’s actually a name for it among economists: “Teflon Thailand”.

Over the past hundred years, 13 coups occurred in Thailand along with many recessions. Yet things still ended up better than in any of its four neighboring countries, perhaps with the exception of Malaysia.

Thailand appears to always be undergoing drastic change. If history is any guide though, the nation will remain competitive and the Thai property sector will outperform far into the future.

Our guide about Thailand property includes the cost of real estate, best neighborhoods to buy a house, investment visas, and several other topics.

Can Foreigners Buy Real Estate in Thailand?

The business environment in Thailand is not as open as some other countries in Southeast Asia. Foreigners may only own up to 49% of almost any company… unless you’re an American citizen.

Americans can own 100% of a firm under the Thailand-US Amity Treaty, making it one of the few situations where owning a foreign company as US citizen is actually helpful.

Nonetheless, the process of forming a company under the Amity Treaty is bureaucratic and requires approval from multiple government agencies.

On the side of real estate ownership, foreigners can only own a condo unit above the ground floor in a building.

The building’s total foreign ownership can’t exceed 49% of all floorspace, but in practice, few condos in Thailand even come close to approaching this limit. 

Technically, Thai law permits foreign ownership of landed property if you are investing at least 30 million Baht (about US$900,000 as of 2024). But it requires special approval, and in practice, there are barely any cases where permission was ever granted.

Some people will tell you that you can purchase land in Thailand through a nominee structure. However, unlike in Cambodia, this is illegal and the Thai constitution specifically forbids it. The government has recently cracked down on Thai nominee structures.

Buying and Selling Thai Condos Off-Plan

Condo units are often sold by property developers in Thailand before or during the construction period.

Buyers enjoy steep discounts when purchasing a condo off plan, while the developer obtains easier access to loans along with the ability to say their project is “selling out”.

It takes between three to five years for a condo building to finish construction, starting from the time sales first begin. Because of this, there’s a market in buying Thai condo units off-plan and selling them at a profit once the building is closer to completion.

You can freely transfer the right to buy a condo unit in Thailand – even if the building is still under construction. It’s not necessary to wait until the project is complete before offloading your property, or at least its sales agreement.

To reserve a unit and sign the contracts, you normally just need to make a down payment of 10% along with another 10% gradually over the course of a few years. Usually, installments are payable on a monthly basis.

Across a period of several years, property values can appreciate significantly. There have been cases of people buying Thai condominium units off-plan and selling the contracts years before completion at premiums above 100%.

Off-plan purchases also come with inherent risks though. The worst-case scenario is that you must abandon the contract, losing your down payment and any installments.

That could theoretically happen if, for example, Thai property values fall substantially or you don’t have enough liquid cash available to complete the transfer.

While the second scenario would be ones’ own fault, the first happened en masse during the Asian financial crisis.

Property Tax in Thailand

Fortunately, anyone owning a condo in Thailand barely pays any annual property taxes – maybe a thousand baht or so per year. 

Remember though, any condominium owner must pay annual management fees for the building’s upkeep, electricity, staff, cleaning, and other expenses.

Granted, management fees aren’t the same thing as a property tax. Still, that’s money you must pay every single year when owning Thailand property. Condo management fees are also the single largest recurring cost you’ll have to pay as an owner.

The precise cost of a management fee depends on your building’s size, density, and standards.

If you’re buying a mid-range Thai condo, expect to pay about 500 baht per square meter annually as a general rule.

When transferring property, there’s a 2% fee based on its government appraised value (which should be lower than the price you paid for it). Typically, half that fee is paid by the buyer and half by the seller.

A stamp duty of 0.5% must also be paid upon transferring any real estate in Thailand. Stamp duty is usually paid by the seller.

However, if a property is sold within 5 years of being acquired then a “Specific Business Tax” of 3.3% is payable. If a specific business tax is payable, then stamp duty does not need to be paid and you’ll instead owe that higher 3.3% fee.

If you choose to rent out your property in Thailand, rental income taxes are extremely low as there are many deductions. Your exact amount of tax payable will depend on any deductions allowed.

More often than not though, rental tax isn’t greater than 5% and sometimes far less. If you ask most local landlords, they will probably say they don’t calculate or pay the tax and no one ever bothers them.

Is Buying Property in Thailand Safe?

Thailand has rather strong property ownership laws (at least compared to most other places in the region) and a secure, computerized title system. So you shouldn’t have any issues with the government.

If a problem is going to come up at all, it’s going to be from the condo developer, real estate agent, or seller.

There are about two dozen large property developers in Thailand with a solid reputation and many completed projects under their belts. You likely won’t have major issues with developers of this type.

But you’re in more dangerous territory if you’re dealing with smaller companies. Any condo company in Thailand should have at least a completed project or two that was built to good standards with satisfied customers.

I strongly recommend getting a third-party inspector after your property is built and ready to be transferred. It’s rare for a condo unit to be transferred in perfect condition with absolutely no problems at all.

Thai inspectors will know what to look for and can add value worth far more than what you’ll pay for their services. If the inspector finds defects, the condo developer will fix them free-of-charge.

Almost all condo developers offer a warranty period of at least a year or two. Yet they are more eager to fix problems if you bring them up when money is still on the table, before transfer occurs and the deal is finalized.

Best Places to Invest in Thailand Real Estate

Thailand is a rather large nation of almost 70 million people. As such, there are hundreds of cities, towns, and resort areas that you can purchase real estate in.

Keep in mind that foreigners may only own condo units which leaves out smaller towns and villages for non-Thai property investors. Regardless, you have many options elsewhere in Thailand.

Bangkok, a city of more than 16 million people, is the capital of Thailand and the largest city in mainland Southeast Asia. If anything happens of business, economic, or political importance, it goes through Bangkok first.

Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city, also isn’t a bad place to buy real estate. But while a lot of foreigners are scooping up condos in resort destinations like Pattaya and Phuket

We think investors in the Thailand property market should completely avoid tourist areas for reasons discussed further below.


Mid-Levels Escalator

The ever-expanding skyline of Bangkok and its Sukhumvit area, as seen from above central Lumpini Park.


For centuries, Bangkok acted as a main entry point for foreign traders and businessmen into Southeast Asia. While the city has obviously changed since the 1700s, its status as one of Asia’s most important cities remains.

Bangkok is so large that several of its neighborhoods have their own “sub-markets”, each with their own norms, occupancy rates, prices and outlook.

Centrality and access matter more than anything. So buying a property in Bangkok’s suburbs, like Bangna or Don Mueng, is completely different than buying in a prime-city center area such as Lumpini.

It’s not practical to cover every one of Bangkok’s neighborhoods in a single article. Thus, only a select few areas will be mentioned. General rules do exist for buying property in Bangkok though.

Land and houses which are located close to a BTS station will be worth a premium. In fact, you’ll pay double or triple that of a similar property which isn’t near mass transit.

Condos for sale next to the MRT subway line are also worth a premium, albeit not quite as much when compared to a BTS station.

As a general rule, condo units located 100 meters or less from a transit station in central Bangkok aren’t likely to be sold for below 200,000 baht per square meter.

When a condo is 500 meters away from a mass transport station, the price is reduced by around half. Yet this premium vanishes altogether for homes in Bangkok located more than a kilometer away from a BTS or MRT station.



Perhaps the most expensive place to buy real estate in Thailand, Lumpini Park and its surrounding areas (Wireless Road, Ratchadamri, and Soi Langsuan) are ranked as some of the richest neighborhoods in Bangkok.

New condos on Wireless Road, for example, are known to reach prices as expensive as 500,000 baht per square meter.

The reason for Lumpini’s high real estate values? The neighborhood is incredibly central, yet also rather quiet and leafy.

Streets are well-manicured while Lumpini Park, inner Bangkok’s largest green space, adds a sense of calm which is difficult to find elsewhere in the CBD.

Lumpini is located at the intersection of several prime areas despite its relative serenity. Namely, the business districts of Silom and Sathorn, the commercial center of Siam, and the dining/lifestyle options on Sukhumvit.

Wireless Road’s plethora of embassies help make Lumpini safe, less noisy, and spacious too. The American, Vietnamese, and British embassies among others are all nearby which means property in Lumpini is always in demand.

You won’t have any problems finding Michelin starred restaurants or brand-name stores in Lumpini either, making it one of Bangkok’s best places to live… even if it’s not exactly filled with local character.

Mid-Levels Escalator

King Power Mahanakorn, formerly the tallest building in Thailand, is located in Bangrak district, right between Silom and Sathorn roads.

Silom and Sathorn

Sathorn and Silom districts are where most of Thailand’s top banks and other financial institutions are headquartered. It’s known as the “Wall Street of Bangkok”.

These areas are popular with both wealthy locals and expats who work here. As such, condo prices in Silom are high as it serves as Bangkok’s main central business district (CBD). Most property for sale in Silom to cost at least 200,000 baht per square meter. 

Expats living in Sathorn and Silom enjoy easy access to the rest of the city center though. A wide variety of international restaurants and other amenities are always within easy walking distance.

Real estate values in Silom’s northern borders, especially the part that’s located north of Narathiwat Road, contains some of the most expensive houses for sale in Thailand.

If you’re seeking lower housing prices in Silom and Sathorn, property becomes cheaper west or south of the Narathiwat intersection, further away from the district’s BTS stations.


Sukhumvit Road

Sukhumvit is one of the longest roads in the world. It not only extends from Bangkok’s core to its outer suburbs, but eventually runs all the way to the Thai-Cambodian border.

However, Sukhumvit is more famous for its portion that lies in downtown Bangkok. Specifically from Nana up to Soi Ekkamai and its BTS station.

That strip of Sukhumvit is certainly Bangkok’s most popular expat area. Countless restaurants cooking up everything from Argentinian steaks to Georgian khachapuri helps support Thonglor, Asok, and Ekkamai’s “hi-so” reputation in the Thai property market.

Moving further southeast along Sukhumvit towards On Nut and Phra Khanong, these Thai neighborhoods become very local. You can own a condo located in outer Sukhumvit for under half the price of those in its “downtown” section.

With all that said, suburban Bangkok’s condo market is experiencing an oversupply of one-bedroom units. So you’ll probably do better buying a larger unit downtown.


Mid-Levels Escalator

Victory Monument is one of Bangkok’s most crucial transport hubs and a centrally-located area. Buying real estate in this neighborhood has become increasingly popular.


Ratchathewi is arguably Bangkok’s most central district, geographically speaking. This neighborhood is conveniently located north of Bangkok’s commercial hub of Siam, and east of Dusit, the nation’s political center.

The airport rail link’s terminal station is at the intersection of Sri Ayudhya and Phyathai Road, while three different BTS stations span across the district.

Despite these factors which contribute to an ideal location for inner-city living, real estate prices in the Ratchathewi district are slightly lower compared to other core locations in the Bangkok property market.

Residential and commercial occupancy rates in Bangkok’s Ratchathewi district are some of the highest in the whole city as well.

Numerous hospitals in the area which employ thousands of doctors and other highly-paid professionals, are to thank for the ease of rental in this prime neighborhood.

The vibe of Ratchathewi is a lot more local and you won’t find as many expats as you would in Sukhumvit or Silom. Yet it’s close to government offices like the United Nations and is just a stone’s throw from elsewhere in central Bangkok.

Victory Monument, and nearby Soi Rangnam in particular, is Ratchathewi’s most desirable residential area. The King Power Complex is the biggest duty free mall in Bangkok, and stands as the focal point of Soi Rangnam.



Some foreigners, retirees and second home owners in particular, choose to live on Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River. You can enjoy scenic views from luxury condos located on the riverside.

Generally, the west side of the Chao Phraya has lower prices. This is because of easier access to Bangkok’s central business district (CBD) from the eastern side.

Residents living on the river’s west side also must either drive across a crowded bridge or take a boat in order to get to Bangkok’s city center.

Bangkok’s riverside area boasts huge malls, hotel branded residences, and some of the city’s tallest buildings. However, occupancy rates along the river were already low even without the additional housing supply.

In the meantime, both the public and private sectors are attempting to rejuvenate the riverside by pumping billions of baht into development. Time will tell whether it can bring the city’s river back to life.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city, yet it’s significantly smaller than Bangkok with around 2 million inhabitants.

As such, the sheer variety of condo projects you would find in Bangkok (remember: foreigners can only own freehold condos in Thailand) doesn’t exist in Chiang Mai.

Most local buyers here live in houses or other low-rise structures. While condos for sale in Chiang Mai do exist, they’re relatively few and far between compared to Bangkok or even Pattaya.

Nonetheless, houses in Chiang Mai still remains a popular choices for retirees and digital nomads in particular. Even though you’re unlikely to have well-paid tenants working for multinational companies here.

Also, the Chiang Mai real estate market is arguably better for Airbnb, hotels, and short-term rentals than Bangkok is.

Buying property in Chiang Mai means you’re dependent on tourism, though rental yields are slightly better here than most other cities in Thailand.

If you’re willing to put forth additional effort and don’t mind the extra hassle from being in the accommodation industry instead of just a landlord, Airbnb can help achieve higher rental returns.

Pattaya & Phuket

Our guides usually don’t include any of the destinations we don’t recommend investing in.

Yet due to the popularity of buying real estate in Pattaya and Phuket, we’ll give an opinion on these cities as a foreigner. Even if our opinion isn’t positive.

People oftentimes come to Thailand as tourists, visit Pattaya and Phuket (among other places), and decide to buy a condo in one of these two cities.

There’s nothing wrong with buying real estate in Thailand’s most popular beach areas if you want to live here.

Don’t be mistaken though: buying a condo in Pattaya or Phuket is not the best way to invest in Thailand.

Perhaps you won’t actually lose money buying a house in Phuket – granted investment loss is a distinct possibility as well.

Mostly, the reason why we don’t suggest buying real estate in Phuket or Pattaya is that resort areas are too subject to “flavor of the month” and the tourism industry’s whims.

Southeast Asia enjoys plenty of beaches. The sole factor distinguishing Hua Hin from Kui Buri, a quieter beach 50km south of Hua Hin, is where people chose to live and vacation.

Pattaya/Phuket have off-seasons and are often plagued by low-occupancy rates. They lack the staying power of Bangkok which hosts multinational companies and a steady flow of well-paid expats.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with buying a condo in Phuket or Pattaya if you’re primarily seeking a second home and want to live in it.

But the main purpose of an investment is to make the highest returns possible with the least amount of risk. Doing otherwise, or mixing lifestyle purchases with your investments in an attempt to “do both at once”, is a mistake.


Mid-Levels Escalator

If a wealthy Thai who lives in Bangkok buys a weekend home, it’s most likely located in comparatively quiet Hua Hin. Not any type of property in Phuket or Pattaya.

Hua Hin

With everything said about Pattaya and Phuket above, most of those things don’t apply to Hua Hin. Perhaps you’re wondering why.

Hua Hin is much less built up than other Thai resort cities. It will probably stay that way due to the nearby Royal Palace. Most importantly, it’s also a lot better fed by local demand.

The wealthy locals (there are more than you might think) love buying houses in Hua Hin.

Thai buyers are less likely to own real estate in Phuket which is further away from Bangkok, or Pattaya which is way too rambunctious.

Quite simply, if Chinese and Russians stopped vacationing in Pattaya then its property market would die. Hua Hin boasts a type of sustainability and domestic growth that other Thai beach destinations don’t.

Hiring Real Estate Agents in Thailand

Locals don’t always use real estate agents in Thailand. Instead, they often buy property either though developers directly or find resale units through mutual friends or online forums.

To a certain extent, realtors who list Thailand property for sale are a “western service”. They exist to make things easier for foreign buyers who don’t speak Thai while taking a percentage of the sales price as commission.

That’s perfectly fine if you’re new to the market and need help. Just keep in mind that if you’re an investor, you’re immediately losing a few percentage points worth of profit when using Thai real estate agents.

Consider hiring a lawyer, not a realtor, if you need clarity regarding the transfer process. You’ll pay an attorney a fixed fee rather than a percentage of the total purchase amount as commission.

If you’re buying directly from a condo developer, there’s usually no reason to find a real estate agent or lawyer if the company is reputable (specifically, if it’s a public developer listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand).

Remember: it’s their job to sell you a condo unit in a country where realtors aren’t always used. A good developer in Thailand will take care of the transfer process and everything else for you.

Thailand Property Investment Visa and Residence

It’s possible to get a one-year investment visa, renewable indefinitely, through buying a condo in Thailand worth at least 10 million baht.

Foreigners can also qualify for a Thai investment visa by purchasing stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or a combination of any of those assets.

In fact, I’ve applied for and received a Thai property investment myself. Bangkok serves as an excellent regional base which allows easy travel to frontier markets such as Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

Admittedly, Thailand’s 10 million baht investment visa isn’t the best residency program in Asia. Malaysia’s MM2H visa program is quite frankly less expensive, simpler, and grants you more benefits than residence in Thailand by comparison.

Meanwhile, you can live in a place like Cambodia indefinitely and get a visa there for only about $300 per year through forming a company.

Yet I didn’t go through the visa program purely for investment reasons. I bought property in Thailand because I enjoy spending time here.

Thailand is convenient hub considering my job is, along with the sheer amount of time I spend travelling in frontier markets.

Is Buying Thai Real Estate a Good Idea?

Thailand’s strategic location places it barely an hour flight away from four of Asia’s fastest growing countries. Specifically, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Such a fact not only makes Thailand a great base for the Southeast Asia region, it also benefits the Thai economy itself by letting them “piggyback” on less developed, faster-growing neighbors.

Property in Thailand might not have the best capital appreciation prospects in Asia (we believe this title belongs to Cambodia). With that said, the real estate market has proven resilient in the past ten years or so.

Furthermore, the Thai baht is one of Asia’s top performing and least volatile currencies, fluctuating even less than established currencies such as the Singapore dollar over the past decade.

Thai property values, along with the nation’s currency and economy, has a rather low tendency to crash in a recession too. That makes it ideal for risk-averse investors who nonetheless seek exposure to emerging market assets.

Likewise, Thailand’s real estate market held its ground during the most recent financial crises.

It’s notable that house prices in Bangkok doubled in certain areas of downtown, including Ratchathewi and Thong Lor, over the past decade.

Thailand’s economic future will be very interesting: that’s for sure. Thankfully, the nation claims a history of bouncing back and reinventing itself, standing true even during times more uncertain than now.



What's the Cheapest Place to Buy Property in Thailand?

Foreigners can legally own condo units in Thailand. Therefore, your purchasing options are limited compared to locals. Condo developments are generally located in major cities only.

That said, it's possible to find small 1-bedrom condos for as cheap as 800,000 baht in distant suburbs of Bangkok, Pattaya, or Chiang Mai.

Can Foreigners Buy Property in Thailand?

Yes, foreigners can legally own condos in Thailand on a freehold basis. Buying land isn't possible as a foreginer though, and it's not truly possible to own a house in Thailand if you aren't a Thai citizen.

Can You Buy Land in Thailand?

It's only legally possible to buy land in Thailand if you're a citizen. Nominee structures set up for the purposes of owning land as a foreigner are illegal in all forms.

How Much is a House in Thailand?

Like anywhere, the cost of housing in Thailand has a wide range depending on what you're looking for. It's possible to spend below 1 million baht for a small house in a rural area. On the other end of the spectrum, penthouses in Bangkok are commonly sold for about 150 million baht.

Is Making an Investment in Thai Property a Good Idea?

Prices in Bangkok, Phuket, and elsewhere in the country rose dramatically in the 2010s. Yet nowadays, the general sentiment is that there's an oversupply in many areas of the Thai real estate market.

High levels of consumer debt, especially compared to nearby countries in Asia, are a major constraint on the ability of consumers to affford houses in Thailand.

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