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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin Defends Foreign Ownership Proposals Amid Growing Concerns

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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Tuesday brushed off critics’ claims that a government initiative to raise the foreign ownership quota in condominiums and extend land leases essentially amounts to “selling off the nation”.

“It’s about long-term leases, not selling land. It has nothing to do with selling the nation,” the prime minister clarified amidst growing opposition.

Last week, the cabinet initiated a study examining the proposal to increase the foreign ownership stakes in condominiums from the current 49% to 75%. Additionally, they are considering extending land lease terms for foreigners from the existing 30-50 years to a potential 99 years.

Interestingly, this proposal didn’t make it to the agenda for Tuesday’s cabinet meeting. Instead, the Department of Lands is busy weighing the pros and cons of the policy, informed Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

Minister Anutin emphasized the necessity of economic stimulation. He assured that the proposed changes are not designed to favor capitalists but will protect Thai citizens’ rights while boosting the economy.

In response, caretaker senator Somchai Swangkarn took to Facebook to express concerns, suggesting a potential conflict of interest; hinting that the proposals might benefit property businesses linked to cabinet ministers including Mr. Srettha, the former head of developer Sansiri Plc before transitioning into politics.

Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat defended the proposal: “Even if the government raises condo quotas for foreign buyers and extends land leases for foreigners, Thailand’s territory remains unchanged,” he assured.

Some critics voiced concerns about the policy’s impact on property prices. Mr. Julapun countered, explaining that the root issue is people’s difficulty accessing loans, not the prices themselves.

Amid these debates, the current government is enthusiastic about policies aimed at boosting investment, enhancing employment rates, and positioning Thailand as an attractive global hub for foreign tourists and skilled expatriates.

Intriguingly, while the government plans to increase the foreign ownership quota in condos to 75%, they propose keeping foreign voting rights capped at 49%—aiming to strike a balance.

Local real estate leaders are supporting the idea of extending land leases to 99 years, believing that it would entice more foreign investments into the Thai market. Issara Boonyoung, honorary president of the Housing Business Association, revealed that seven real estate organizations have met with officials from the Department of Lands and various other agencies, pushing for changes that would make Thai real estate more appealing to foreign buyers.

He proposed selectively applying these new foreign ownership rules in areas that are already hotspots for foreigners, such as Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya.

Meanwhile, Sopon Pornchokchai, president of the Agency for Real Estate Affairs, shed some light on comparative lease plays in the region—50 years in Cambodia, China, Myanmar, and Vietnam, 30 years in Indonesia, and 60 years in Singapore.

Foreign ownership of condominiums is similarly capped in neighboring nations, with Vietnam at 30%, Indonesia at 49%, and Malaysia at 50%, noted Mr. Sopon.

He also suggested introducing a policy prohibiting foreign buyers from reselling purchased condos for at least three years to prevent speculative buying. This, he believes, would add a layer of stability.


  1. Anna J. June 25, 2024

    This proposal is just another way to sell out our nation to foreign interests. What’s next, selling citizenship?

    • Nate June 25, 2024

      It’s about boosting our economy. Foreign investment can bring much-needed capital.

      • Anna J. June 25, 2024

        But at what cost? Are we willing to compromise our sovereignty for some extra cash?

      • Laura Smith June 25, 2024

        Not to mention, how many of these foreign investors actually contribute to the local economy in a meaningful way?

  2. Ben34 June 25, 2024

    If foreigners want to invest, why not let them? Look at cities like Singapore; they thrive on foreign investment!

    • Lily M. June 25, 2024

      But Singapore has strict regulations and a much smaller landmass. Thailand is a different story.

    • Tommy June 25, 2024

      More foreign investment might drive property prices up, making homes unaffordable for local residents.

    • Ben34 June 25, 2024

      Higher demand could stimulate more construction, potentially providing more jobs.

  3. Ella D. June 25, 2024

    99-year leases are basically like selling the land. Why not just sell it outright and be done with it?

  4. Sofia June 25, 2024

    This is ridiculous. We need to protect our own citizens first.

  5. Mark T. June 25, 2024

    Foreign investments might bring more jobs and development to neglected areas.

    • Brenda P. June 25, 2024

      Or it might push locals out of their homes and communities.

    • Mark T. June 25, 2024

      That’s why regulation and oversight are key. We need to strike a balance.

  6. Chris June 25, 2024

    Why not apply this in limited areas like Bangkok and Phuket? Test it out before going nationwide.

    • Paul H. June 25, 2024

      True, starting small can help us understand the actual impact.

    • Kate J. June 25, 2024

      Localized policies could prevent a nationwide real estate bubble.

  7. Mia B. June 25, 2024

    The idea of preventing resale for three years is smart. It could curb speculative buying.

  8. James K. June 25, 2024

    As a foreigner considering investment, the longer lease terms make a big difference.

  9. Benin June 25, 2024

    Comparing us to countries like Cambodia and Myanmar is pointless. We should have our own tailored approach.

  10. LocalGuy June 25, 2024

    Foreign investors only care about profit, not the welfare of Thai citizens.

    • Paul H. June 25, 2024

      Some may be profit-driven, but increased foreign presence can also mean more international exposure and opportunities.

    • LocalGuy June 25, 2024

      And more chance to exploit our resources. We need to be cautious.

  11. Sandy June 25, 2024

    I think this is a ruse to benefit property businesses linked to the government. Is this really in our best interest?

  12. Alex D. June 25, 2024

    Investor interest is a double-edged sword. We need to reap benefits without selling our soul.

  13. Hannah June 25, 2024

    What about the middle class? Will this policy make homeownership even more difficult for locals?

    • Tommy June 25, 2024

      Wouldn’t it depend on the implementation? If managed well, it could benefit everyone.

  14. Jane M. June 25, 2024

    Extending land leases will make us more attractive to foreign companies. It could be a good move for the economy.

  15. Nikhil June 25, 2024

    Let’s be practical. If it boosts the economy, why oppose it? Just implement safeguards.

    • Anna J. June 25, 2024

      But do you really trust the government to put those safeguards in place?

  16. Maya34 June 25, 2024

    We need better loans for our people. Foreign investments should be a secondary concern.

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