How to Safely Buy Real Estate in Thailand

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Investing in Thailand's latest coastal development hotspot

With many other tropical destinations such as Florida, the Caribbean, Central and South America, the Seychelles, Mauritius, pricing themselves out of many people’s reach, and other summer sun destinations such as the Mediterranean lacking the warm winter climate, it’s no wonder that the charming friendly country of Thailand is going from strength to strength as a popular destination in which to own a holiday home, and in which to spend time during one’s retirement.

But before deciding on an area in which to purchase your holiday home, you may, like I did, decide to investigate EVERY coastal area of Thailand, finding out about land and real estate prices in each and every area, and judging for yourself the area’s potential as an investment. This process can take months to complete, it certainly did in our case, and it is essential to have a Thai speaking person with you who can correspond with the locals.

Let me save you the time and bother…. Having travelled along the entire coastlines from Malaysia to Myanmar, and from Cambodia back to Malaysia again, we returned to the Mae Phim area 3 times to compare and contrast, and to see the progress of development before taking the decision to settle in this area and invest in the real estate market here. Although our search was exhaustive, there was little competition in my opinion, and no other coastal area had so much potential upside for investment as the area to the east of Rayong from Ban Phe to Mae Phim…. the area which is now becoming known as Thailand’s Golden Coast.

Since investing here we have not been disappointed, but it’s still quite early days and prices here are still less than the likes of Pattaya and Hua Hin for example. Perhaps the best value for money can be found on the mature developments, which tend to be more spacious than the new developments, now that land prices have increased somewhat over the past 15 years or so. Buying a property on a mature development, where all of the properties and infrastructure are already in place, and where the maintenance of the estate has already been tried and tested for several years, is arguably a safer bet, and will also cost you only about half the cost of that on a new development. This cost saving and extra space can allow you to refurbish and extend the property and to craft it into your dream holiday home whilst still costing quite a bit less than the cost of an equivalent home on a new development, and in the long run you may well begin to appreciate the extra space in terms of the living accommodation and plot size.

To get an idea of just what one could do with such properties I’ve added a “proposed plan layout” drawing to one of the properties we have for sale…

#13 Oceanside Villa near Mae Phim

…which illustrates the existing property with the proposed addition of a second driveway, large carport and private pool, all of which could be added at a very reasonable cost here in Thailand.

The Mae Phim area in particular is really nice – it has arguably the best mainland beach along the entire Eastern Seaboard, is famous for it’s Thai Seafood restaurants, has a very reasonable cost of living not at all over-priced, and the people in this area are indeed very friendly, both Thai and foreigner, perhaps because it is not yet over developed and the Mae Phim area in particular is still very much a family resort area.

Despite having so much going for it the Mae Phim area is still not nearly so well known as the more popular tourist destinations, and has been referred to by those relocating here as “Thailand’s best kept secret”, but this is changing gradually as inquisitive visitors discover it’s charm and investment potential.

Although there are still plenty of options at the moment in terms of properties on the mature developments, these options are in limited supply, and as more and more people buy up the available properties, and refurbish them to western standards, so this not only enhances the attraction of the housing/condo development itself, but also provides pressure for the prices to rise. Each year sees an increasing number of foreigners coming to this area and investing in property here, and therefore it is likely that as the numbers increase, so the prices will do so accordingly, catching up with some of the more popular destinations which have higher visibility on the tourist map.

Properties on the new developments and mature developments are renting out reasonably well, and in particular those villas with their own private swimming pool, or higher floor condos with panoramic views, are in the highest demand, acquiring the highest rentals return, yet they are in limited supply. If you can stretch to the sort of property, house or condo, which could meet such criteria then you would find it to be a better investment both in terms of capital growth and rental income, and also in terms of your own personal use as a holiday home to enjoy during your retirement.

For anyone interested in acquiring a holiday home in this area, or wishing to invest in development land for the purpose of resort or housing development project, we encourage you to get in touch with us to discuss options and availability, and how we might be of service in order to enable you to safely and securely realize your dreams.

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