Regulators agree in principle to allow foreigners in Thailand to own up to one rai of land

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Thailand has taken a small but not insignificant step into potentially allowing foreigners to own land for residential purposes.

On Friday (Jan 21), the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA), which is chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, agreed in principle to allow foreigners to own up to one rai of land for residential use.

The Land Department has now been given two months to carry out a feasibility study into the plans before making a proposal for reconsideration by the CESA.

However, a proposal to increase the property holder rights for leasehold properties from 30 years to 50 years was rejected by the CESA.

As was another proposal to increase the quota on foreign condo ownership from 49%.

The proposal on the relaxation of the rules regarding foreigners owning land and property in Thailand have been put forward by the government as one of a number of ways to lure high spending expats to the country.

The easing of property rules had been proposed as part of plans to offer 10 year visas and work permits to ‘wealthy’ global citizens, retirees, digital nomads and skilled workers.

The new 10 year visas, which also grant five year work permits, even for retirees, were announced on Jan 18.

However, perhaps notoriously absent from the announcement was anything related to property and/or land ownership for foreigners.

While there may still be some time before foreigners can legally own land in Thailand, the fact the issue is being discussed at senior levels of government indicates that changes to the existing rules could be in the offing.