Posted by & filed under Finance, Property, Thailand.

finance2Are foreigners allowed real estate finance in Thailand? Can foreigners in Thailand acquire property finance?

Are you looking to buy a villa, condo or different property? And are you in need of finance?

Then scan this report with all you need to know concerning property finance for foreigners in the Land of Smiles.

Property Financing

Property financing for foreigners in Thailand is possible nowadays.
But within the past foreigners typically could not acquire a mortgage from local Thai banks to finance their dream condo or beachfront pool villa since most of the money establishments in Thailand solely provided finance for property purchases to Thai nationals and Thai Corporations.
But things changed in 2005 after I saw Bangkok Bank PLC offerering loans to foreigners in their Singapore branches and once more in 2008 when I witnessed Bangkok Bank finally issued foreign loans via their Thailand primarily based branches virtually like we see it in our home countries.

Within the past mortgage lending by native banks to non-thai-nationals was just about extraordinary in Thailand, but lately I actually have seen a considerable amendment in policies to permit foreigners limited access to financing. Initially this was launched by the Thai government’s eagerness to increase tourism and to stimulate economic development in Thailand.

When we want to purchase a property in our home country, one of the main things we consider is financing. Whether or not you have adequate funding and liquidity to purchase, financing is largely seen as a way of smoothing our investments.

For people with less access to funding, financing is a very important vehicle they use to own that home of their dreams.

Thailand do not differ from any other country in this instance since most of the banks (but not all of them) in Thailand give loans for real estate purchases to native Thais and Thai firms primarily based on similar criteria we are used to in our home countries.
But for foreigners the similarities do finish here when buying property in Thailand!

Some Thai banks do offer mortgage services to foreigners but they impose quite strict terms and conditions for the foreigner to qualify.
One overall important condition is that the property has got to be owned in the foreigner’s own name and hence the property should be registered as a condo under the Condominium Act because foreigners are not allowed owning other sorts of properties in Thailand.

Also the buyer must pay minimum 30% down with the remainder 70% financed over 3 to 20 years, depending on the age of the borrower. You can only borrow money in the bank if you are less than 65 years old – and the mortgage must be paid back in full when you turn 65 years old. So if you are say 55 years old today you can borrow the money for 10 years.

Bangkok Bank PLC was the first financial institution in Singapore to provide this kind of financing services to foreigners.
But in 2011 I saw my first real estate client visiting the United Overseas Bank (UOB) in Singapore and they offered my client a loan so he could purchase his dream condo in Phuket.
And hey… the interest rate is not that bad: 5.25% p.a. if the loan is in USD. If in SGD the interest is 7% p.a. (Better check their website!)

It is a relatively new scheme for UOB and now they also offer this sort of finance on the Thai market with several offices located in most provinces.
At the same time also several other Thai financial institutions, including Siam Commercial Bank, Kasikorn Bank and Tisco Bank, have jumped aboard and I also recently found out that you as a foreigner also can borrow money in “The World’s Local Bank” HSBC. This is great news for “farangs” in Thailand, right?
I also note that HSBC offers mortgages on all sort of property in Thailand not restricted only to condominiums, but I guess that is on a case by case basis and whether or not the foreigner is married to a Thai national. In this case I can imagine that the foreigner and his Thai wife will share the loan and the property between them; the Thai wife/husband will own the land and the foreigner will own the property on the land.
I find this solution much better and safer for the foreigner than a 30 year lease agreement on the land because when it expires he will not own the property on the land anymore; this property will then be in the possession of the actual owner of the land.
Also if the Thai wife/husband dies the bank will for sure secure that the foreigner will not lose his house, since the bank want to ensure the foreigner keeps paying the monthly mortgage instalments.

I find it a really good thing that we now see some (hopefully fierce) competition in this area and in the future this will probably improve the Thailand foreigner’s position with several banks making an attempt to outdo the other parties with more competitive rates. I welcome with open arms UOB’s and HSBC’s entrance into this niche market and hopefully this is a start of a new era of financing to foreigners in Thailand.

Lending terms for foreigners in Thailand

The terms regarding loans in Thailand depend on policies of the Bank of Thailand for each fiscal year. The policies might vary from one year to another so better act quick if you won’t miss the boat!

The terms also dependent largely on each bank’s own policies that similar to the Bank of Thailand vary year by year.
Banks in Thailand normally give personal loans to people and this includes VISA and Mastercard facilities, business loans, personal loans for education or medical treatment and of course the purchase of a condominium or a Mercedes Benz.
These loan facilities are also, subject to every bank’s own policy, on the market to “farangs” who live and work in Thailand.

To qualify for these personal loans for the purchase of a condo, some conditions must be met, and it’s very important for you to notice that these loans are typically granted on the truthful market value of the condo and this is always based on the bank’s own valuation.
And this often surprises the foreigners, because the bank’s valuation is often (not to say always!) lower than the market value!

Let’s see an example here:
You want to buy as condo priced by the seller at 5 million THB. You know you can only borrow max. 70% of the price, so you will have to pay down 1.5 million THB and the bank will lend you 3.5 million THB plus interest.
But now the bank value the condo at only 3.5 million THB. So they offer you a loan of 2.45 million THB.
That leave you with a down payment of 2.55 million THB instead of the 1.5 THB you originally were entitled to pay down.

The second vital criterion is the qualification of the foreigner. These are started below in the subsequent:

– A 1 year work permit or a Thai resident permit.

– A letter of employment attesting your years of work in Thailand and your annual salary.

– Computorized pay slips must usually be provided.

– The bank might request the employer’s company documents.

– The bank usually conducts credit checks on you.

– The your age combined with the loan period should not exceed 65 years. (If say you are 55 years old, your loan period is 10 years.)

– You must have a stable and secure job.

– You should have a monthly income three times above each monthly installment.

You must also supply the following documents to the bank upon application:

– Copies of passport and/or official ID card.

– Marriage certificate (if applicable).

– Confirmation of income and copies of bank statements.

– Copies of land or unit title deeds, sale and purchase contracts.

When applying for a loan I advise you to shop around and not accept the first offer you get, since the interest rates vary from bank to bank…so go for the best offer!


In case you do not qualify for a mortgage right away you could use a lease structure to make your dream property more affordable.
So far the lease with option to buy is the best way to go. Just note that any lease for a term of more than 3 years must be registered on the title deed at the land office.
Most local Thai lawyers can handle this transaction on your behalf for a small fee. But I suggest that your Thai wife (if you have one) take care of it since it is actually not too complicated.
By leasing to buy there are some benefits:

1. You pay monthly lease of the property for say 1 year, then you purchase the property and the money you spent on the lease can now be deducted the down payment according to the contract you signed with the property owner.
2. This give you 1 year to see if this property and the location is actually right for you. If not, just walk away and lease a new home in another location.

Other Finance Options

If you cannot get a mortgage to buy your dream property in Thailand, don’t worry. There are other available options for you.

Developer Financing

Direct developer financing has become more common in Thailand over the past years.
The developer deals are usually ranging from 2 to 10 years financing and are available to buyers of new Thailand villas and condominiums.
These financing deals are ready straight from the developers. This means of course that the structure of each finance deal varies from one developer to the next. So make sure you check out every option on the market before you engage in something.

I know of several projects available with developer finance both in Pattaya and Phuket. If interested you can view the website for further info.

Be aware of “too good to be true” offers like “zero interest” or “100% free finance”. Of course the purchase price under these conditions has been inflated to compensate the expense of capital to the developer.

It is always better to negotiate the most favorable purchase price than negotiate the financing deal with no concern on the actual price for the property.
Assure you know exactly what is going on at the property market and do your best to investigate the market prices for this kind of property before engaging yourself in a financing arrangement.

Property Owner/Seller Financing

Some property owners are now offering financing to buyers of Thailand villas, bungalows and condominiums as a way to sharpen interest in their Thai property.
The buyer and owner/seller then sign both a purchase and a sales agreement and a promissory note.
Just assure that the seller is actually also the owner of this property. Ask for a copy of the title deed and check carefully at the land office with the assistance of your Thai wife or partner. The land office can also tell you if this property is actually mortgaged or not. Most likely if the seller cannot provide you with a genuine title deed, then the property is mortgaged and the land title is kept at the bank or at the money lender as a security for the monthly payments.

In case you are engaging a real estate agent to assist you find your dream villa, then you can let them know you require financing.
Most likely they will have a few listings where the sellers are offering payment terms.
If you negotiate directly with the seller, then you simply ask if they are willing to accept payment terms over a fixed period of months and rate of interest.

Similar to developer financing, you must negotiate the sales price separate from the terms and conditions of the loan.
It is very important for you to note that the seller will keep the title deed (Chanote) to the property until the final payment is made.
Assure that your attorney reviews the deal and ensures that all documents are up-to-date and properly safeguarded to protect your investment.

Here you find a list of banks where you as a foreigner can get finance when buying a condo in Thailand:

(Click the bank’s English language page)

1. Bangkok

2. Kasikorn Bank –

3. Siam Commercial bank (SCB)

4. Thai Military Bank (TMB)

5. Tisco

6. and

7. United Overseas Bank (UOB) and

Best of luck to you finding and purchasing your new dream home in Thailand.


20 Responses to “Are foreigners allowed real estate finance in Thailand?”

  1. Anthony Beresford

    Interesting article but would like to know more about the farang owning the property. In my experience the Thai wife will own the land you the farang must sign off that she paid for at the land office. If you build there you can a best claim 50% ownership of structures (house, business, etc) and none of the land. Would like to know how you see it working.

    • Kristian Olsen

      Hello Anthony,

      You as a foreigner can own the house in your own name and get your name on the land title deed registered at the land office.
      Then your Thai wife or girlfriend can own the land in her name. It is correct that you somewhat “sign off” the land at the land office, stating that your wife or girlfriend paid for the land herself. BUT…the reality is that in case of a divorce a court judge will tell your wife/girlfriend to sell the land and give the money to you, because the law also states that the land belongs to the party (you!) who paid for it.
      And you can prove you paid, due to bank transfers from your bank account to your wife/girlfriend’s bank account.
      And that’s it! It has been proven over and over again in several court cases and the judge always rule in favor of the foreigner who paid for the land!

      In my case I have a Thai wife and 2 children. In case of a divorce I do not mind sharing 50/50 with my wife and kids…like we do in the West πŸ˜‰
      But since I paid for it all, I could actually get 100% of the money when sold…

      An other example is that you as a foreigner are allowed to own the property on the land, then your wife owns the land and you can do one of the following things:

      1. Lease the land from your wife on a 30+30+30 years lease agreement.

      2. Get a USUFRUCT. A Usufruct provides temporary ownership rights and is a legal right for the use and enjoyment of the profits and advantages of property belonging to another as long as the property is not damaged or altered in any way. The usufructuary must also keep the property intact and returned in the same position that it was when the usufruct was granted. A usufruct may be created for the life of the usufructuary (that is you!).

    • Kristian Olsen

      Hello Rad Jay.
      Well, I am not a banker so I really cannot assist you in this matter, and I suggest that you contact one of the mentioned banks directly in the area where you live.
      Another point is, that if you are married to a Thai national this will make it somewhat easier to get a mortgage πŸ˜‰

  2. Steve L

    Interesting read, however another option that you have not mentioned is that MBK Guarantee Co., Ltd offer mortgages to foriegners in Thailand at very reasonable rates and the foreigner does not have to hold a work remit for Thailand. Contact Richard for further details.

  3. Klaas

    Interresting article! Thanks, but can a foreighner make profit on his property? I mean, i bought a condo and maybe i can sell this and make profit, do i have to pay taxes about my profit?
    I bought this condo a few monthes ago. And if i dont have to pay taxes, maybe this is a nice oppertunity as well to make an income, to buy a condo, renovate this and sell again, i think this is allowed because you work on your own property. But maybe i am wrong… Thanks in advance for your reply.
    Best regards, Klaas.

    • Kristian Olsen

      Hi Klaas,

      If you buy a condo and sell it again within 5 years then you must pay 3.3% specific business tax of the sales price, no matter if you make a profit or not.
      If you have owned the condo for more than 5 years you do not pay any specific business tax at all.
      So if say you buy a condo for 1 million THB, renovate it and sell it for 2 million THB, you pay 66,000 THB in specific business tax.

      Regarding “work on your own property”…well…any (ANY) kind of work in Thailand requires a work permit, so you are actually not allowed to renovate your own condo if you do not have a work permit πŸ˜‰
      But that’s another story πŸ™‚

  4. Dany

    Good article Kristian.
    I share your ideas and advices, only one thing that I am not sure is leasing Land from the wife, not sure that all land offices agree on that.

    • Kristian Olsen

      Thanks, Dany.
      You are right about the point leasing land from your wife, not all land offices agree to this.
      But if they follow the law it should be no problem. Else explain the law to the land official in charge πŸ˜‰

  5. Perfect Homes

    Another very good article. In Chiang Mai we have seen the first people successfully obtain finance. But it was not with out its own headaches. As the issue being that the buyer wishes to borrow over 50% of the purchase price.
    The finance company agreed to this, But at the land office the buyer coud not show the finances have come from overseas for the loan amount.
    This proved to be a big headache. Have you seen such issues in your area?

    • Kristian Olsen

      Hi Perfect Homes,

      We never experienced anything like this anywhere. Sounds strange, but Chiang Mai may interpret the law differently from other provinces.
      Normally you just bring your The Thor Tor 3 document to the bank proving you brought in the down payment from outside of Thailand, and also bring the finance documents, then there should be no problems.

  6. Doug


    The a lot of great articles and comments here. I have a question that I haven’t found addressed and am hoping some people can provide some insight. I understand that one method to get around Thai regulations prohibiting foreigners from owning land in Thailand is to structure a “nominee” company that is minority (foreign) owned but controlled through preferred voting shares. I understand that this is not entirely legal although it is very common. Pls can you someone comment on just how safe this structure is thought to be? I am considering employing such a vehicle to own a freehold villa and I am trying to get a fix on how much risk this entails. I don’t want to lose the property after paying for it. Thanks!

    • Kristian Olsen

      Hi Dough,
      For sure I understand your worries, because in fact “nominee” shareholders are indeed illegal, but as you mention “everybody do it”… similar to many running the red traffic lights, but that doea not mean it is legal to do so πŸ˜‰

      Some time ago the government decided to actually enforce the law, and crack down on illegal nominee companies… and they actually do that now, but not in a big scale, but enough to scare foreign villa byers..

      In the past there was nearly no enforcement of this law, and my guess is it was because not to scare away foreign investors…

      Today you cannot transfer any land title deed into a foreign controlled Thai company, without the land office investigate the Thai shareholders.., All shareholders need to be legal available to actually “invest” in your company to “buy” the shares… for this they need proof of how they “paid” for their shares, they need to prove they can actually “afford” such an investment via bank statements and proof of employment etc.

      If you know such Thai people, who do have the funds, then the risk of getting “caught” is next to zero…
      Many lawyers to this sort of company registration and supply the “legal” shareholders… but they charge you a heavy fee… but it is doable…

      Today most villa buyers own the villa in their name and lease the land for 90 or even 120 years… but do not lease the land from the seller but rather ask someone you trust or a legal company to “own” the land and then you lease it from them.
      We at TEN Thai Estate Network have specialized in this kind of ownership of land and we have many satisfied clients…

      I hope this was a help to you, else you are welcome to post again πŸ˜‰

      • Doug

        Thanks for such a quick reply. As a follow up, the nominee company is already in place (set up 10 yrs ago) and it is in turn controlled by a Hong Kong company. As such, we would not be needing to set up the nominee company or even make any changes to it (it would all be handled through HK). Based on what you said, it would appear that there is substantially less risk than trying to set up a new nominee company now. Would you agree with that statement (I know nothing is completely risk free!)? Also, is there anything else you might suggest we consider?
        Thanks for your valuable resource!

        • Kristian Olsen

          You are welcome, Doug πŸ˜‰

          If you buy a villa in your 10 year old company then the land office might very well investigate the Thai major shareholder(s) to check if they are actually genuine, so you/they will be asked to provide bank statements to prove they can actually afford to “own” a share of your company.

          If the land office reject to transfer the land into your company name, then you just lease the land from the seller, or better yes, ask your Thai wife, friend or a trusted person to “own” the land and then lease it from this person.

          Then you need 2 different lease agreements, one for 30 years for the land office to accept, and then a private agreement with your friend, that you lease the land for 120 years (4 x 30 years renewable) and furthermore add that your heirs are to inherit the land when you die and get a new similar 120 years renewable lease, this way you and your heirs can “own” the land for many generations, just make sure that you also can trust the person who will officially own the land.

  7. Kenneth

    I contacted some of the banks on your list and all of them said that they don’t give loans to foreigners.
    Do you have any contacts to any of those banks because one of the operators that I talked to said that sometimes it was possible.

  8. Bradley Wayne Miller

    I am an HSBC customer and they told me they have no retail operations or personal mortgages in Thailand. So are you referring to HSBC Singapore or Hong Kong for easiest approvals?

    • Kristian Olsen

      Hi Bradley,

      Overall I am talking about condo finance… no banks will mortgage land to a foreigner since they are not allowed to legally own it in their name.
      Hence the same problem occurs when you want to buy a villa, since you cannot own the land in your own name, only lease it.

      If you apply for a condo mortgage at HSBC or UOB in Thailand or Singapore the chance of approval is quite good… but of course there is no guarantee.


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