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City guides: Thailand

Welcome to the Land of Smiles!

Few places in the world currently offer as much potential for the smart international real estate investor than buying property in Thailand. Prices in the Kingdom have been rising steadily over the past decade and there are no signs that the country’s growth is going to slow any time soon as the country continues its transformation from an economy which was formerly based primarily on agriculture to one of the world’s economic powerhouses.  Although the country has seen a great deal of growth over the past decade, Thailand is still behind its more prosperous neighbours to the south – Singapore and Malaysia – but the country is catching up fast.

Because of the “trickle-down effect” coming from Thailand’s export and tourism markets, the country’s population is constantly getting richer, a fact that led the World Bank to re-categorize Thailand from having a lower-middle  income economy to an upper-middle income economy.  The World Bank also stated, “Thailand has made great progress in social and economic issues. As such, Thailand has been one of the great development success stories, with sustained strong growth and impressive poverty reduction.”

Thailand’s booming export-led economy is responsible for the country’s fast-growing real estate market.

Naturally, one of the primary goals of Thailand’s constantly increasing middle-class is to improve the quality of their housing.  This is one of the major reasons why Bangkok, in particular, has seen such a rapid growth in property prices as well as the rental returns that owners of apartments are enjoying in prime locations near stations of the city’s integrated and constantly expanding.

Thailand’s property market is not just reliant upon the domestic demand from the local population either.  Due to a variety of factors including the warm, pleasant, year-round tropical climate that the entire country enjoys, affordable prices, the legendary warm hospitality of the Thai people and the beautiful sea and beaches, the resort cities of Thailand such as Pattaya have also seen tremendous growth over the past decade.  Such coastal resort cities are seeing extensive demand from all over the world including Russia, Europe, China, the Middle East and India for property – either as a second holiday home or as a permanent residence.  With long-term visas easily obtainable for anyone aged 50 or over, world-class medical facilities and all of the other advantages of the country, Thailand is becoming an increasingly popular destination for retirees – either as year-round residents or as a six-month retreat from cold winters.  Due to this constantly increasing demand, rental yields in cities such as Pattaya are exceptionally high and prices are constantly increasing too as the city invests heavily in its infrastructure in order to become ‘the Riviera of South East Asia’.

This steady and continued growth in key cities throughout Thailand means that now is the ideal time for international real estate investors to benefit from Thailand’s outstanding economic prospects.

Real estate prices in Thailand are currently a fraction of those to be found in other South East Asian countries and so it is currently possible to purchase well-located properties at highly affordable prices.  These prices are not going to stay so low much longer, however, as prices are likely to continue to increase by the same 10%+ that Thailand’s key cities have been averaging over the past decade.  So the time to buy is right now for anyone looking to maximize their returns.

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