Thailand going back to democracy after a 15 month military rule has already had a positive impact on the property market. There have been a notable number of deals completing during the high season in Phuket as well as more visitors to the sole agency projects. The newly elected government has begun to take initiatives toward a more open and favorable policy for foreign property investors. The new government has already taken away the 30% capital control which is thought to support bringing back foreign investments.
Property financing for foreigners in Thailand is available. When we buy a property back home, one of the first things that come to our mind is financing. Even for those who have enough funding and liquidity for owning a property, financing is often perceived as a way of leveraging our investments. For buyers with less access to funding, financing is an unavoidable vehicle they utilize to own that dream home. Considering this, Thailand is the same as any other country. Most of the financial institutions in Thailand offer loans for real estate purchases to local Thais and Thai companies centered on similar criteria we are familiar with in our home country. However, the similarities do not extend from there for most foreigners buying property in Thailand.
The issuing of the new tax incentive package is also an attractive move for the property market. This is anticipated to fuel market sentiments on both the demand and supply side. Property Transfer fee will be decreased from 2% to 0.01% and Specific Business Tax for property transactions will be decreased from 3% to 0.1%. Reliability in the market could be improved further by longer lease terms, stretching from the current 30 years to 90 years. The beginning of business lending to foreign property investors should also be considered by the government. Policies like these would enable Thailand to keep pace with its emerging neighbors, Vietnam and Malaysia, relating to property purchase terms. It is expected that there will a more encouraging outlook for the Thai property market in 2008 than in 2007.
Since the December election, foreign investors have shown increased interest. Established developments have witnessed a particularly alive high season. Newly awarded projects have also met with a positive response. A similar trend is witnessed in Samui with a clear rise in visiting and purchases of resort properties. It is anticipated that there will be further demand in Samui with surge in flight schedules. The Samui market for luxury villas is closing on Phuket, with the establishment of international hotel brands wooing quality tourism. Samui has traditionally been a less favored beach destination, but this not at all the case now as it is emerging rapidly as a beach destination. Lot of high net worth investors is now increasingly keen.