Yes, apart from the fact that foreigners aren’t allowed to own land, which means that the only real viable option is to purchase on a long term lease. The longest lease allowable in Thailand is 30 years. Of course, it is possible to write an option into the lease giving the lessee the option to renew for a further 60 years. For most, 60 years is long enough. However, there is the risk that the lessee cannot renew the lease after 30 years, because they have snuffed it, or the lessor has snuffed it, or some other reason like the government decides not restrict the lease term to foreigners to, say, 10 years.

Thailand has a huge potential for growth in the retirement and holiday home industry. Massive. But of course, with xenophobia or just plain arrogance running so deep in the veins of the rich and powerful in Thailand, they don’t want to accept the fact that Thailand might be a better place with foreign influence.

Let’s not get carried away, most Thais would welcome a new law allowing foreigners to purchase land. It wouldn’t have to be the whole of Thailand after all, there could be zoning laws brought in the help boost development in certain areas and allow foreigners to purchase land in those specific areas only. Most Thais would see that there would be a new flow of money brought into their local economy, and that they would prosper from it. What is the government afraid of anyway by not allowing foreigners to purchase land. They can still control the use of the land, by restricting use to residential purposes only. Or simply allow foreigners with a retirement visa in Thailand or over a specific age to buy their dream house. Are they really afraid that a foreigner will own a house in Thailand??

What’s more, this increased development and cash flow into the local economy will result in new shops, restaurants and therefore jobs for the local Thais. The value of the land will increase in these ‘zoned areas’ which will also increase the value of the Thai owned land (all though let’s face it, if the government brought in a zoning law like this then the leading politicians would have bought up all the land themselves just prior!!).

One of my staff in Thailand comes from Rayong, and her aunt has a very old unused run down house in Rayong on a 1 rai piece of land. The house is about 500m from the beach, very near to Poi Pet the port going to Kho Samed Island. Overlooking green hills and fields, she only wants 2,000,000 Baht for the house and land. This is very affordable to a lot of people (some other houses for sale can be found at www.property-bangkok.com).

And why don’t banks lend to foreigners to buy property. Surely they can seize the property if the mortgage is not being paid. They have collateral already. Why, please can someone tell me why, can a Thai national with no money, no job, and no salary, get a mortgage in their name if they have a foreigner acting as guarantor, but the foreigner him/herself cannot get a mortgage??

Neil Simmons, a co-director for Ideal Homes Real Estate, has been living in Bangkok for nearly 7 years and worked in the real estate market in Bangkok for the past 4 years. The company website, http://www.property-bangkok.com, will give you an idea of what Neil does.