Thailand proposes 75% foreign ownership in condos, extending leases to 99 years


DUP…Govt attempts to allay fears over foreign condo ownership proposal

Thailand proposes 75% foreign ownership in condos, extending leases to 99 years

The government has played down concerns raised over the possible negative impacts of its proposal to increase the foreign ownership quota for condominiums to 75% and extend the land leasehold terms to 99 years.

The government could always issue more regulations to deal with any moves which could adversely impact Thais, said government spokesman Chai Wacharonke in a post on his Facebook page.

Under the government’s proposal, the foreign ownership of condo units per project will be raised from currently 49% to 75%, while the maximum land lease term for foreigners will become 99 years from currently 30 to 50 years in a renewable lease contract.

While foreseeing substantial economic benefits of this proposal, the government was also listening to the opinions of all sides, Mr Chai said.

He listed four common concerns talked about over the past week after the land proposal made headlines and sparked public debate.

First, some people were concerned these changes might cause property prices to skyrocket and make properties unaffordable for many Thais, he said.

Second, some foreigners may purchase condos with the intention to rent them out under short-term contracts to visiting tourists in the country, he said.

Third, foreigners with financial resources might secure leasehold contracts of many conjoined plots of land in an area to operate a business, which might make them gain far more competitiveness over Thai business operators with less money, he said.

And fourth, when the proportion of foreign owners of condo units exceeds that of their Thai counterparts, these foreigners might find a way to work around the rules limiting their right to vote on their residential project’s management and literally take control of the management, he said.

“The fact is the government will always be able to consider issuing a new rule to address all of these feared scenarios if necessary, for the sake of ensuring fairness and protecting the interests of Thai people,” the government spokesman said.

The government could even impose a condition upon increasing the foreigner ownership of condo units to 75% so that foreigners owning a unit which exceeds the current 49% quota won’t have the right to vote on the condo’s management, he said.

In the House last week, Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thaised responded to questions raised by the opposition, saying the cabinet had only approved the proposal for further study, not for implementation just yet.