Why do Chinese Investors target Thailand for Real Estate Investment ?

Investors from various countries have taken an interest in property investment in Thailand: countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, France, the UK and most importantly China – the country alone making up for almost 30% of the Total Percentage of Property Investors in 2017. With Thailand being extremely welcoming to both foreigners and foreign investment, investors have opted to invest in both the major city of Bangkok and resort cities such as Koh Samui, Pattaya and Phuket.  


As the world’s second largest economy, China evidently has massive buying potential and according to Juwai.com’s “Chinese Global Property Investment Report” the outbound property investment figure of China increased from USD 80 Billion to USD 101.4 Billion, surpassing the USD 100 Billion mark for the first time in 2016, with Thailand attaining one of the biggest shares of this cascade of investment capital.  


Additionally, a recent survey on Chinese Offshore Property Investment by the Financial Times has also concluded that Thailand has become one of the most popular destinations for investment outside of China.

The US stood strong at the top as the most sought-after destination for investment on Juwai.com, followed by Australia that took the second place. However, while Canada and the UK swiped the third and fourth places in 2016, Thailand surpassed them settling at the third spot in 2017, pushing both countries down to the fourth and fifth spot, respectively.  


As stated by Carrie Law, CEO and Director of Juwai.com, “Southeast Asia has been gaining Chinese buyer market share faster than any other global region since early 2017. In 2016, only three Southeast Asian countries made it into the top 15 for Chinese buyers, and none made it into the top five. Last year, five made it into the top 15. Thailand alone jumped from 6th place to 3rd, bypassing Canada.”

Sue Jong, Chief of Operations for Juwai.com further established, “Thailand is the third most popular country in 2017 for Chinese buyers of international real estate. It receives significantly more buyer interest than any other Southeast Asian country, including Malaysia – the next best Southeast Asian performer. The investment into Thailand is growing quickly, with Chinese buyers making 26% more enquiries in the first quarter than a year ago.”

There are various factors explaining why China has been charmed by the Land of Smiles:

  • Substantial Returns:

Over the years, property prices in Bangkok have been on an upward trajectory of between 3-10% per year. This percentage increases in resort cities such as Koh Samui that has been generating a price appreciation of 10-15%, one of the highest in the country. Rental yields have been at 8-10%, with the growth rate projected to further increase, assuring the Chinese investors sustainable rental yields and sizable capital gains.

Top developers, such as KASA Development, have taken to giving rental guarantees for a certain number of years upon property purchase, promising investors a lucrative investment. Moreover, furniture packages and management agreements that are offered alongside the property are added sources of value ensuring even higher revenues for the investor if they shall wish to sell the property.

  • Freehold Ownership:

The prospect of owning property in the form of a Freehold ownership is very enticing to a Chinese investor, simply because Chinese buyers are not permitted to own property as Freehold property in their own country.With permission only to own property in the form of a leasehold property expiring after 70 years, holding a freehold title in perpetuity is extremely inviting.

  • Thailand’s competitive prices:

It is recognized widely that Thailand offers a very attractive and luxurious, yet inexpensive lifestyle. Properties of the finest quality with magnificent sea views offered in price values the world simply cannot match.

Specifically comparing to the property prices in China, Thailand’s resort properties and condominiums are a downright bargain for buyers from mainland China.

For instance, luxury villas in Sanya- a famous travel destination for affluent Chinese is around THB 130,000/sqm on average. However, luxury villas in Thai beach destinations such as Koh Samui merely costs THB 30,000-60,000/sqm.

Competitive prices along with uncomplicated purchase conditions pose an extremely alluring investment opportunity. Moreover, the rather low cost of living in Thailand, combined with its glorious beaches, welcoming hosts and world class hospitality, make for a remarkable lifestyle that many Chinese would be unable to afford back in China.

  • Escalating number of tourist visits:

The number of Chinese tourists arriving in Thailand has been escalating continually. The total number of foreign tourists as recorded in February 2018 was approximately 35 million increasing 10% from the 32 million tourists in 2016. As verified by the Association of Thai Travel Agents, Chinese tourists make up for a staggering 60% of the total number of tourists visiting Thailand. The mounting amounts of tourist visitation has stirred economic opportunity that is reflected in the real estate market, with more investors seeking property in Thailand and over time, enjoying substantial capital gains and rental yields generated by the tourists.

  • Accessibility:

One clear advantage for both Chinese tourists looking to enjoy the glorious blue waters and Chinese investors looking to purchase property, is the short proximity of China to Thailand as opposed to the proximity of China to countries such as Australia and the United States. Merely a short three to 6 hours away- depending on the exact destination, Thailand is seen as the ideal destination that is far enough to enjoy a differing and desirable lifestyle, yet close enough for frequent trips to visit family and friends or indulge in second homes.

As reported in the March 2018 China Air Travel Report by the OAG Aviation Worldwide Limited, the number of connections between China and Thailand has more than doubled since March 2015. Recorded three years ago, China had 69 city pair routes with Thailand and merely three years later, it has 148 with 57 of those connections being direct flights. The convenient accessibility and connectivity hold great appeal to Chinese Real Estate Investors.  

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