In 2018 Thailand became the third most popular investment destination for Chinese buyers on Juwai.com, an extremely popular Chinese property portal.
What has made Thailand so appealing to the middle and upper class Chinese?
And does the appeal lie with them strictly as tourists and investors or will we see a massive influx of Chinese expatriates in Pattaya?
Location and Proximity
While North America and Australia are all at the top of the list for high net-worth Chinese, it also means long haul flights of over 10 to 12 hours.
Thailand, however, is a mere couple of hours away and that makes it a pretty perfect location for Chinese buyers to move to, as it is far enough for them to savour a more liberated and desirable lifestyle, yet close enough for frequent trips back to visit friends and family.
Easy and convenient accessibility via plenty of flight options from different parts of China to Thailand is also a boon, such as Thai Lion Air that recently launched its new international route from Chiang Rai to Changsha.
With more flight routes in the pipeline to connect Thailand and China, such connectivity and convenience hold great appeal to both Chinese real estate investors and those seeking a second home within a few hours travel.
Affordability & Freehold Ownership
When compared to ever-increasing prices in China, Thailand’s property market seems like chicken feed. House prices for resort homes in Sanya – the top luxury local travel destination for affluent Chinese often touted as ‘China’s Florida’ – are around 150,000 THB on average, whereas we see Pattaya’s condo prices available for as little as 40,000 – 100,000 THB per sqm on average for resale units.
However, it is the off-plan condos that seem to be the main draw for the Chinese market. Low downpayments, easy payment terms for the balance over several years and being able to own the property in their own name are all massive appeals.
Thailand allows foreign buyers direct freehold ownership of condominiums, as well as common property co-ownership.
This is incredibly enticing for Chinese buying real estate, as it is impossible for mainland Chinese to own freehold property in China, whose residential land lease policy only allows Chinese to own their China property for up to 70 years.
With the recent clamour in China over the fate of these 70-year home leases upon expiry, being able to own a condominium home in Thailand indefinitely is undoubtedly a powerful temptation for any Chinese buyers.
Growing Local Chinese Population
Thailand has attracted approximately 400,000 Chinese to migrate here in the past 10 years, the majority of whom have settled in the corridor of Bangkok and the Eastern Seaboard. Beyond enjoying the comfort of familiar languages and a sense of community, it’s also the economic opportunity that holds great appeal to Chinese property buyers.
Paired with Thailand’s deepening economic ties with China, China’s increase in infrastructure projects in Thailand, and the fact that China has been Thailand’s largest trading partner each year since 2012, all these bodes well for Chinese migrants seeking to forge business opportunities and connections in Thailand.
Furthermore, cost of living in Thailand is enviably low as well. Combined with Thailand’s attractive and laidback lifestyle thanks to its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, friendly locals, and world-class yet affordable medical facilities…this makes for an extremely comfortable lifestyle that most Chinese would be unable to afford back in China.
By Stu Sutton
Stu Sutton is managing director of Jomtien Property and has worked exclusively in the Pattaya/Jomtien real estate market for 16 years.
Please feel free to contact him with any queries, compliments or good jokes at
086 108 6575, [email protected]
or visit Jomtien Property’s website at www.jomtien-property.com