Most people know of the law that prohibits foreigners owning more than 49% of a condominium building, this relates to the sellable area of the condo.
This law was designed to protect Thailand’s property market being bought out by foreigners. There are now many lines of thought in certain locations that it is actually Counter-Productive. Thais can find it difficult to find a Thai buyer, but a foreigner can sell to either a westerner or Thai national giving him a much wider market.
This law is obviously applicable in Chiang Mai although it only affects a small percentage of its condominium buildings.
There are well over 100 condominiums in Chiang Mai. This number is growing rapidly with all the condos being built all across town and further afield, such as Hang Dong and Mae Rim.
But out of the 100 plus existing condominiums, to the best of my knowledge, there are only eight, possibly nine buildings that have filled their quota.
Natara is one of the smallest condos in Chiang Mai, located in an old housing estate. It was at one time a failed condo development that had gone bankrupt halfway through its 40 room construction.
Just a few years ago the project was purchased, and when the 40 rooms knocked into 20 luxury units and marketed correctly, saw the foreign quota sold out in no time. Leading to several people not being able to purchase an already chosen unit as they were too slow.
Nowadays there are still several condos left unsold in the Thai quota. They can be leased, but no foreigners can buy from the developer and it appears at this time, that there are none of the current owners looking to sell their condominiums in Natara.
2.Peaks Gardens & Twin Peaks
Peaks Gardens & Twin Peaks are two buildings that also saw their fair share of trouble over the initial development stages. The original developer was bought out, and the buildings completed by the Saha Group.
These condominiums were very popular from the very beginning with westerners but have never been that loved by Thai buyers.
I am not sure when these building’s quota were full, but I am led to believe that it was very early on in the condos lives.
Due to the large number of units in the buildings there are always a few units for sale within the quota allowance. But make sure you are 100% certain before putting a deposit down on a unit in Peaks Gardens or Twin Peaks to avoid a lot of headaches.
Riverside Condo is the latest condominium in late 2014 to fill its quota. For a long time, it hovered around the 40% mark going up slightly then dropping back again as this building is strangely popular with a small group of Thai buyers too.
Then all of a sudden the quota was eaten up and then the interest in the units owned by Thais all but died off.
There are several westerners that did not expect to see the quota filled; they have purchased in their wife’s name, and now they are wondering who they can sell to.
4.Karnkanok 5 Baan Suan Greenery Hill.
Karnkanok 5 – Baan Suan Greenery Hill hit its quota right from the word ‘go’. The developers were trying to be clever and held back several of the large duplexes on the top floors. Thinking that on completion they would be able to sell out at a higher price per sq. meter than the original off-plan prices.
In theory, it was a good idea and could well have worked but it was not the case, as they sold the other units to westerners, filling the quota rapidly. When the remaining penthouses came to the market, there were no options available for the westerners to buy and by now the Thais had changed their focus to the new newest development going on up the road.
5.Sky Breeze (103 Condominium 3)
A while back many of the residents at 103 Condominium 3 thought that it was not such an endearing name for condo, so they renamed the building Sky Breeze.
It certainly seemed to work as the westerners started snapping up units like there was no tomorrow. This frenzy of attention helped fill the foreign quota in this building too.
6.Galare Thong Tower
Galare Thong Tower is similar to Sky Breeze. Renamed from Mengrai Towers to Galare Thong Tower, It was not too long after that, that the building saw a huge amount of interest from western investors. They found many units in the auctions at great prices, so westerners snapped them up and worked with the existing building management to improve the building. Again this was a big success and the foreign quota soon filled.
7.The Siri Condominium
The Siri Condominium Chiang Mai was only completed at the end of 2014 and honestly, I know of no westerners that have bought in this building. But The Siri Condominium’s management have confirmed that the quota is full, which would be quite amazing. I would speculate that one or two investors have bought more than a few units in The Siri.
8.The Embassy House Condominium
Embassy has not filled its quota completely but due to the fact that all units in Embassy House are large means there is not enough space for another purchase. This building is still well sort after by Thai and foreigners but the lack of units in the building Changing hands means the quota balance is unlikely to change any time soon.
9. Mountain Front Condominium
Though still not 49% it is around 48% and can possibly squeeze one of its smaller condos into the foreign quota at Mountain Front Condominium. With this building boasting large quality units it does not have many properties that could fit any units over 70 sq meters cannot for sure. So, this has left several owners currently trying to sell find their active buyers market slashed!
10. Peaks Avenue Condominium
Peaks Avenue, this is not surprising at all with major interest from the foreign market since the beginning it was only a matter of time. It will be interesting to see if the prices move in this building over the next year or two, as this building was already pushing some of the highest prices per sq meter in Chiang Mai!
11. Vieng Ping Condominium
This is the latest condominium to join the list, is Vieng Ping Condo. The buildings popularity has grown considerably since the construction of the Maya shopping mall and the boom of Nimman. This condo required the buildings list of owners to be cross checked with the land office to confirm the building is now at just over the 48% but not enough remaining to squeeze another unit in. Though that being said this building still has an appeal to Thai buyers so it could fluctuate some what and might occasionally have a little more space and if lucky you may be able to pick up a good deal.
So currently these are the only buildings affected in Chiang Mai’s Condominium market, and you can purchase in any other building from either a foreigner or a Thai seller. But it never hurts to check the existing quota, especially if buying an extra large unit as this can sway the quota. Or if you have an extended period between putting the deposit down and completing on the contract.
At the end of the day, you should always work with property experts as they will guide you through all the processes and will help protect you at every step of the deal!