Foreign condo sales top pre-Covid level

Foreign condo sales top pre-Covid level

Chinese and Russians lead the way as visa waivers, impact of geopolitical tensions spur demand

Bangkok accounted for 38% of all condominium sales to foreigners in 2023. (Photo: Noble Development Plc)
Bangkok accounted for 38% of all condominium sales to foreigners in 2023. (Photo: Noble Development Plc)

Chinese and Russians topped the list of foreign buyers of condominiums in Thailand last year, with visa waivers and geopolitical conflict driving demand above pre-Covid levels, according to the Real Estate Information Center (REIC).

A total of 14,449 units worth 73.2 billion baht were sold to foreigners in 2023, according to data compiled by the REIC, managed by the state-owned Government Housing Bank. That represented a 25% jump from 2022.

Chinese buyers snapped up 6,614 units, or almost 46% of the total, for 34.1 billion baht, the centre said, citing property registration data. Russians ranked a distant second at 1,260 units, followed by buyers from Myanmar and the United States in third and fourth spots, respectively.

The REIC noted that the highest average price per unit, at 6.6 million baht, was paid by buyers from Myanmar.

About 41% of the condos sold to foreigners were in Chon Buri, home to the resort city of Pattaya as well as a number of industrial estates.

Bangkok accounted for 38% of the sales to foreigners, the REIC said. Condos priced at no more than 3 billion baht accounted for almost 50% of the total sales.

Condos bought by foreigners accounted for about 13.4% of all condos transferred in 2023. Under the law, foreigners can own up to 49% of the usable space in a condominium development.

Temporary visa waivers for tourists from China and some other countries last year, and a permanent bilateral waiver with Beijing from March 1, have helped accelerate sales, the REIC said.

Its report also cited geopolitical conflicts, such as Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine and the political unrest in Myanmar.

“This shows that foreigners’ condominium purchases are improving and returning to normal,” said Wichai Wiratkaphan, acting director of the REIC.

Condominium sales to foreigners last year were 13% higher than the 12,798 units sold for a combined value of 50.6 billion baht in 2019, according to REIC data.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is counting on tourism to drive the country’s sluggish economic growth. The sector is directly responsible for about 12% of gross domestic product and nearly a fifth of jobs.

Last year, the government waived visas for travellers from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, India and Taiwan, and Mr Srettha ordered airlines to add more routes while streamlining airport operations to reduce waiting times.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects a further recovery to between 35 million and 40 million visitors this year, including 8.2 million from China. That would bring the country closer to the record of almost 40 million set in 2019, the year before the pandemic.

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