Most expats who work in Thailand rent condominiums and do not buy these units. The market for these tenants is very competitive and it is mainly in selected areas in Bangkok where it would be close to their place of employment. Certain areas are popular but these are all very close to the CBD.
The market for expats is very competitive as there has been very little growth in the market. The only new growth comes from Chinese who are working in Thailand however they do not get large housing allowances such as Westerners or the Japanese would get. CBRE one of the largest property management firms in Thailand with their own survey shows that on average range rental for expat apartments tend to be in the 90,000 THB per month for a three-bedroom condo and on average 80,000 THB per month for a two-bedroom condominium. Note however that this is in the top end of the expat market in Thailand where large multinationals would pay for the rentals as an employment package for their foreign staff.
Expats prefer to live close to the BTS system so many of the rentals for expats in Thailand tend to be between Asok and Thong Lor on Sukhumvit Road. This would be the main hotspot for expats. These are properties in the Watthana area as well as properties in the Khlong Tan Nuea area in Bangkok. Property in Lumphini and parts of Sathon are also popular but not so much as those close to the BTS on Sukhumvit road. Interesting trend amongst expats is that they tend to mainly rent from companies where the owner usually owns the entire building or all the units. The Japanese tend to rent in this fashion where they only need to deal with one person or company. They prefer the single point of contact type of rentals. There is also a buyer to investor rental agreements or rent to buy agreements which actually make up about 30% of these rental agreements. Speak to an attorney about the changes in rental laws which would normally cover these type of transactions where the owner rents out more than 20 properties as a business.
With the last survey on expatriate housing in these areas, there are only about 10,000 expats in this area which has 80,000 units. Condo unit supply is increasing but the expat population is not. Interesting note on expat condominium rentals is that expats tend to look for a high standard of finishing, furnishing with all appliances included. It’s a bit of a niche market in Thailand but a wealthy, small but stagnant one.
You can browse this website to look at more areas in Thailand with a range of offers where people would buy investment property or will also be looking at other type of properties such as mixed commercial and residential units which are becoming more popular. Also see the issue of flooding in Bangkok and the flood zones as well as what this year might hold for the property market in Thailand with regards to changes to the law as well as new green trends taking off. The property market in Thailand is always in flux. With more units coming onto the market and changes in laws when Thai’s buy a second home or even a third home being made more difficult there may be issues ahead. Chinese buyers used to be the big buyers however over the last three years this market has slowed down as China clamps down on money leaving the country as well as their own economic situation not looking very good.
Take proper legal and financial advice before you invest in any property in Thailand.