Thailand estimates $24 billion by attracting long-term foreign residents

Long-term residents will provide an enormous revenue boost and stimulate the country’s economy  

Thailand is highly attractive among foreigners who seek relocation, and the country will lure back foreign investors if the pandemic recedes. JackPhotoWarp/Shutterstock

According to Bangkok Post, the government has been called for condo reform by simplifying money transfers and providing medical staff to wealthy pensioners, if the country hopes to boost the economy via foreign property ownership.  

Atip Bijanonda, vice-chairman of the Board of Trade of Thailand, said money transfer procedures for foreigners buying condos are very complicated and cause many hurdles.  

“To get a condo transfer, foreigners are required to transfer money from overseas with their own currency and declare or show a foreign exchange transaction certificate to the Lands Department,” he said. 

Many foreign buyers, who have business in the country or a Thai spouse, experience heavy inconvenience in transferring money out of the country and back in to buy a condo unit.  

“Many countries’ governments don’t care about inbound money transfers, but they do care about outbound moves,” said Bijanonda. “The Thai government should amend this rule.” 

He noted that Thais shouldn’t perceive foreign property ownership as treasonous because many overseas countries allow Thais to buy homes, and they do not view selling to foreigners as treason.  

“Most Thai properties sold to or preferred by foreigners are in a different segment to Thai buyers. Foreigners frequently choose locations which are not preferred amongst Thais and vice versa,” Bijanonda added. 

The Thai economy may struggle without the help of the property sector, said Nonarit Bisonyabut, senior research fellow at Thailand Development Research Institute.  

“Local [housing] demand will shrink due to the declining trend of population growth,” he said. “Skilled labour shortages will also be a problem and we still have no plan to pay back the THB1.5 trillion (USD45 billion) debt,” he said. 

He added that Thailand is highly attractive among foreigners who seek relocation, and the country will lure back foreign investors if the pandemic recedes.  

“Attracting long-term residents will provide an enormous revenue boost to the country and stimulate the economy, investment and employment. It will boost the growth of the new S-curve economy as the government hopes,” he said. 

The target group of long-term residents includes rich global citizens, remote working professionals in Thailand, wealthy pensioners, and highly-skilled professionals. An estimated THB800 billion (USD24 billion) of investment is expected to come from 10,000 wealthy global citizens and 80,000 wealthy pensioners.  

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Thailand will start welcoming long-term residents by the end of Q1 or Q2 2022.  

“Opportunities come with risks,” said Bisonyabut. “There will be a number of wealthy retirees coming here. We should increase the number of medical staff to support a rising demand from senior people, both foreigners and Thais.” 

The Property Report editors wrote this article. For more information, email: [email protected].