Why buy property in Thailand?
Thailand has long been known as a white-sanded paradise, although its beaches exist in complete contrast to its equally renowned cities, which are bursting with vibrant colours, excitement and culture. Over recent decades, the country has transformed itself from a mere stop-off for backpackers into a luxury holiday location covered with five-star hotels, golf resorts and spas.
However, the past few years have seen global economic crises hit Thailand hard, stalling capital growth entirely in what was once of the world's most attractive overseas property hot spots. Recent political unrest in the country hasn't helped, with the Foreign Office advising travellers to visit Thailand with extreme caution.
But while some investors have left Thailand in search of higher returns elsewhere, there remains a core following of Brits who love the place too much to relinquish their future as a regular visitor or resident. With this support for Thai tourism and property, there are high hopes of a strong recovery once the country's political situation has stabilised.
What's Thailand's property market like?
The threat of natural disasters and terrorist attacks in Thailand has done little to deter tourists over the years, but growth in the overseas property market now appears to have stalled significantly. Difficult trading conditions and ongoing social unrest have had a major impact on investment potential and could see the country's progress unravelling unless a solution is found soon.
Property prices have risen over the years, bringing them pretty much in line with more established locations, but rental potential is strong, thanks to Thailand's still-considerable popularity with British tourists.
Popular areas in Thailand in which to invest
Foreign investors in Thai property are usually divided between the bustling capital city of Bangkok and the serene beaches of Thailand's southern coast. The country's second city Chiang Mai, dubbed the 'gateway to China', is also expected to attract overseas investment in coming years due to the construction of a new highway that will connect it with Kunming, the capital of China's Yunnan Province.
Meanwhile, the Thai islands have been developed more with holidaymakers in mind, with luxurious resorts to attract more up-market clientele and property prices to match. Those on a limited budget should avoid highly sought-after hot spots like Phuket and Pattaya.
The property-buying process in Thailand
When buying in Thailand, it is not common for offers to be made until a solicitor has carried out all of the relevant searches. When given the legal go-ahead, buyers are generally required to pay a ten per cent deposit until the purchase agreement is executed. This is completely refundable should the deal fall through – provided the investor is not at fault.
A final contract will be signed on the date outlined in the preliminary agreement and the outstanding balance will need to be paid, along with the applicable taxes, at this point. The purchase is then completed by registration of the deeds with Thailand's Land Department.