Impact of Foreign Business Act on Thailand’s Property Market
Following the Thai government’s proposals to amend the Foreign Business Act which restricts the rights of foreigners to own or operate certain businesses in Thailand, CB Richard Ellis Thailand has been carefully monitoring the Thai residential, resort and office markets to judge the market’s actual response from news of the proposals to amend the law on foreign businesses and other recent events.
CB Richard Ellis has also looked carefully at the real effect of the current proposals in conjunction with major law firms and has considered the psychological effect and the perception of foreign businesses in Thailand and foreign purchasers of Thai property. The danger of these proposals is that they may be seen as a rejection of foreign investments with large potential losses for both the real estate and construction sectors of the economy and what might been seen as poor public relations or presentation of Thailand internationally.
According to the CB Richard Ellis Thailand Managing Director, Ms. Aliwassa Pathnadabutr, “Our first advice to all clients is that these proposals are not yet law. Secondly, detailed reading of the proposals shows them not to be as harsh as the headlines have presented them. Most businesses that will be redefined as foreign will be, by virtue of list three, largely unaffected and allowed to continue with time to amend their structure if necessary. Therefore, most office tenants should not be affected although demand from incoming tenants may well be reduced.”
There is strong overseas demand for luxury real estate, both condominiums in Bangkok and resort properties in the price range of US$ 350,000 and above. There is also strong demand in the mid range market with prices of US$ 100,000 and above for holiday and retirement homes in destinations like Pattaya, Hua Hin and Phuket. It would be a major loss for the Thai economy to lose this substantial and long term sustainable market to other tropical countries as noted by Ms. Aliwassa.
In conjunction with the government proposal to restrict nominee-structured companies from owning landed property, CB Richard Ellis would like to see positive steps to support the real estate industry such as 90 year leases for villas and an increase in the ratio of foreign buyers in condominiums from 49. Properties such as Laguna Phuket have never had significant local demand but are targeted specifically at foreign buyers, such developments are major contributors to foreign revenue inflow, the construction industry and local economies. Foreigners buying such properties contribute income not just on purchase, but continuously over the life of the properties through the purchase of local services.
For any current owner of a house or villa with a nominee structure, CB Richard Ellis advises owners to monitor the proposals and seek expert legal advice on how to amend the company’s structure and comply with any changes. The proposals allow a period of one year to amend or change a company’s status. If the Government did move on extending leases to foreigners to 90 years, this would be an obvious route for such villa owners to convert to leasehold.
Existing foreign owners and prospective buyers of Thai real estate should not panic or abandon their interest in purchase. They should focus on foreign condominiums quota and leasehold properties developed by well known and established companies. For example, CB Richard Ellis is proceeding with two overseas sales campaigns with the launch of Condominiums at The Cove in Krabi which will launch sales in late January in Stockholm, Sweden and in February the launch of Leasehold Pool Villas at the Shangri La Resort and Spa, a west coast Phuket beach project.
Despite recent events, there is still sustained foreign interest in Thai real estate. In confirmation of this, CB Richard Ellis Thailand points to sale bookings over Christmas and the first week of the New Year on multi million dollar leasehold villas in Phuket and continued condominium sales in Bangkok and Pattaya.
“We hope current uncertainties are quickly and professionally resolved so foreign investors know how to safely invest in Thai property. CB Richard Ellis very much hopes for and recommends longer 90 year leases and extended condominium ownership quotas. We believe, with confidence maintained, the Thai real estate market will continue to perform well and to rise on the back of sustained demand. Thailand is still a good real estate buy and foreigners’ preferred choice over other tropical countries,” concluded Ms. Aliwassa.
'The attention to detail and professionalism that Troy and his staff brings to our contract drafting process is unmatched. It’s a rare occurrence to find a law firm that cares as much about your legal protection as you do. But, Doucet Co. LPA is that law firm."
Mr. Doucet and his staff handled two foreclosures and a related matter for me. I found everyone in his office to be professional, effective and responsive. Everything he handled for me got me the results I expected. I highly recommend Doucet Co., LPA.
As an attorney and former client of Doucet Co., LPA, I was very impressed with the representation of Troy Doucet and his firm. I would recommend him to all who face difficulty in saving their home or getting cooperation with their mortgage companies.
If you need legal assistance regarding foreclosure, I urge you to consider putting your complete trust in Doucet Gerling. They will employ their vast knowledge and expertise on your behalf and work to attain a great outcome for your individual needs and situation.
"Troy Doucet is one of the most gifted attorneys that we have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. He treated us with kindness and generosity. We were most impressed with his integrity and high sense of duty to us. If you are looking for an attorney to get the job done we highly recommend Troy Doucet. Our family can never thank him enough for getting our foreclosure problem solved."
My company has worked with multiple law firms in the past, but none have come close to matching the quality we are seeing from Doucet & Associates. If you want an attorney who has a deep understanding of both the legal system AND business, hire them – you won’t be disappointed.
"Mr. Doucet worked wonders in my case. He stood up for me when I felt overwhelmed and helpless and kept my credit rating and future intact. Thanks you so much for helping me and my family."
"My family and I would like to send a thank you with sincere gratitude for all the time, hard work, and long hours set a side daily to represent and speak on our behalf during a very challenging time in our life. Our success is a reflect of your commitment. Thank you Troy Doucet & law firm."