Purchasing property as a foreigner in Thailand

Purchasing property in Thailand

There are three main options available to foreign property investors in Thailand.

The Thai 30 Year Lease

A foreign national can own land in Thailand through a registered leasehold. This lease is guaranteed in Thai law and can often be renewed; with the options written into the original lease contract and registered with the Land Office. Due to the safe and uncomplicated nature of this process it is often preferred by investors in land in Thailand.

The Thai 50 Year Non-Renewable Lease

This is a 50 year lease, guaranteed in Thai law.

Thai Property Freehold Option

Although under Thai law a foreign national cannot own freehold property in Thailand there are proven and effective ways for a foreign investor to own and control a Thai company which owns the freehold property.

Although the foreigner only owns 49% of the company shares, these shares are referred to as preferential shares and are worth 10 votes per share. The other 51% are owned by up to 6 Thai nationals, but as they are only ordinary shares, they equate to one vote per share.

The foreigner will also appoint himself as the legal and sole director of the company. Therefore the foreigner's investment is safe and has full control over the company and its assets. Ownership and running a Thai company does have certain responsibilities and tax implications so let these and the complete structure be explained to you in a language you understand by a legal professional.

Purchasing Property in Thailand - Legal Structure

Land Title Deeds

Astute investors should always be aware of the varying land title deeds that exist within Thailand.

CHANOTE or Nor Sor 4 Jor is the best type of land title for foreign investors. Land with a Chanote title have been accurately GPS surveyed and are linked to the national survey grid. They are also staked out by unique numbered posts set in the ground. Chanote titles are the most sought after. The transfer of the land title can be transferred within a matter of hours.

Nor Sor 3 Kor land titles are still legal documents of Rights of Ownership and are measured relatively accurately, but less accurately than the Chanote title. Transfer of ownership can take slightly longer.

Nor Sor 3 titles are the predecessor to Nor Sor 3 Kor title and the land survey is only recorded in relation to neighboring plots. Survey errors of up to 20% are not unusual. It is recommend a thorough re-survey of the land is undertaken before purchasing land under a Nor Sor 3 title.

There are many other forms of land title less recognized than Nor Sor 3 but these are basically a form of squatters' rights. You cannot obtain approval to build property in Thailand on land with these titles, and therefore they are not recommended.

Land Measurement

Land in Thailand is measured in Rai, Ngan and Taling Wah

  • 1 Wah = 4 sqm
  • 1 Ngan=100 Wah or 400 sqm
  • 4 Ngan = 1 Rai or 1600 sqm
  • 2.5 Rai=1 Acre
  • 6.35=1 Hectare 

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