Foreign buyers flock to Thailand’s tropical condos: Chinese and Russians lead

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Foreign buyers such as the Chinese and Russian are dominating the condominium scene, turning Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket into international real estate playgrounds.

A staggering 10,703 units, raking in a jaw-dropping 52.3 billion baht, exchanged hands in the nine months leading up to September, marking a whopping 38% surge from the previous year, according to the Real Estate Information Center, a body overseen by the state-owned Government Housing Bank (GHB).

Leading the charge, Chinese buyers seized a lion’s share, snapping up 4,991 units valued at an eye-watering 24.7 billion baht, accounting for a staggering 47% of the total transactions, as reported by the centre using property registration data. Not far behind, Russians clinched a distant second with 962 units, while the United States and Taiwanese buyers claimed the third and fourth spots.

The coastal haven of Chon Buri province emerged as the hottest spot, with almost 42% of condos finding new owners. Meanwhile, Bangkok, the bustling gateway to Thailand, notched up 37.5% of foreign apartment sales, solidifying its status as a prime destination for international investors.

According to Wichai Wiratkaphan, acting director at the information centre, the allure of Thai condominiums remains irresistible to foreign buyers.

“The purchase is for both investment and as a second home in Thailand.”

With optimism in the air, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin are banking on tourism to spearhead the country’s economic growth, constituting about 12% of the GDP and nearly a fifth of all jobs, reported Bangkok Post.

To boost tourism, the Bangkok-born PM has temporarily waived visas for travellers from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, India, and Taiwan, urging airlines to expand routes and streamline airport operations. Wichai believes these visa waivers could further escalate the demand for Thai condos, emphasising that foreign ownership remains comfortably below the legal limit set by authorities.

And the forecast for next year? It’s an upward trajectory, driven by an expected surge in tourist arrivals. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) anticipates a recovery to 35 million visitors in 2023, with a significant chunk—8.2 million—expected from China. While this projection falls slightly short of the pre-pandemic peak in 2019, with almost 40 million foreign tourists, it promises a return to Thailand’s prime status as an international hotspot for investors and sun-seeking enthusiasts alike.

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