The island of Phuket, nestled on the eastern extremes of the Indian Ocean, surrounded by the warm turquoise waters of Andaman Sea, is nothing short of paradise. Renowned for its amazing culture and gastronomic delights, the island is as welcoming to foreigners as any other place on earth. Throw in the stunning scenery, and over 30 beautiful tropical beaches, and you’ll understand how Phuket has become one of the best known tourist destinations in the world.
Many of the foreigners who visit Phuket, initially as tourists, may at some stage become property owners on the island. And many of these potential buyers who have become familiar with the property ownership laws in Thailand, choose to purchase condominiums over any other type of real estate. This is mainly because, after some initial research, they become aware that owning a condominium is significantly more appealing than the intricacies involved in owning a pool villa.
This article discusses the numerous benefits and advantages of owning a Phuket Foreign Freehold condominium as opposed to owning a villa or other forms of landed property in Phuket.
Here are our 25 vitally important and absolutely valid reasons why owning a Phuket condo makes more sense for both real estate investors or would-be residents looking for a family home:
1: For a Start – You 100% Own It!
Most foreigners, after doing their research on the ownership options in Phuket, prefer the hassle-free option of owning a foreign freehold condominium. Essentially, condos allow foreigners to own the property in their own name. This ownership is registered at the local Land Department and is in “perpetuity”, meaning it is permanent and forever. Owners receive a title deed registering and proving their ownership, as long as the condominium project does not overstep the maximum amount of foreign freehold units legally mandated under Thai Law.
2: No Legal Worries Later
Unfortunately, the Thai government does not approve of, or encourage, villa (landed property) ownership for non-Thais. Villa or land ownership can be done, although it must be through a 100% legally compliant Thai Company which adheres to all the corporate laws of Thailand. A freehold condominium, however, gets full government approval. The original Condominium Act of 1979, amended in 1991, and then further amended in 2008, gives Phuket condominium owners peace of mind and the security that they will own their home or investment forever, with no looming legal worries.
3: The Buying Process for a Condo Is So Much easier
Whether a new project or a resale unit, buying a Phuket condominium is easy compared to buying landed property. As long as you are the buyer of one of the 49% mandated foreign freehold units (as stipulated in the Condominium Act of 1999), it’s as easy as pie to buy a Phuket condo. As long as buyers send the money to Thailand in a foreign currency and make sure the correct wording is on the bank transfer slip, then the whole process is as smooth as silk. The receiving bank in Phuket (or the developers bank) will issue a Foreign Exchange Transaction Form (FETF), which must be shown as a requirement at the Land Department on the day of transfer of ownership.
4: Luxury Condo Resorts are in High Demand
Foreign freehold condos, especially those with spacious living areas and high ceilings are always in high demand. In fact, some Phuket condo resorts are so sought after that available resale units are extremely rare to find. This means that not only will a high demand condo be easy to sell when the time comes, but the owner will also very likely make a tidy profit from the sale.
5: The Selling Process For a Condo is So Much Easier
Not all condominium owners are going to want to keep their condos forever. But when the time comes, the process for selling is nice and simple, especially if both parties hire experienced legal representation. A date of transfer is set at the Land Department and all is done quickly and smoothly. It is not uncommon for the buyer and seller to see eye to eye and for transfer of ownership agreed upon and exercised within just a few days.
6: Selling a Condo is So Much Cheaper – Government Fees and Taxes Are Extremely Low
If owners have held on to their condo unit for more than 5 years, taxes are significantly reduced. This can amount to fees and taxes being only between 1-2% of the sales price, which is shared 50/50 with the buyer, so the costs to sell can be negligible. This is exceedingly low when compared to many other countries.
7: Phuket Condo Owners Can Send Their Money Out of Thailand After They Sell – Repatriation of Funds Is Very Easy
As soon as an owner has sold their Phuket condominium unit, and as long as they have the correct documents (the FETF showing the transfer into Thailand when they purchased), they can repatriate all monies back to their home country with ease. This does not apply to the sale of a villa held in a Thai Company, whereby only 49% of the shareholdings value may be repatriated, after taxes paid.
8: Easy Estate Planning – Condo Owners Can Name Their Heirs as Beneficiaries
As long as beneficiaries are named by the buyer on the FETF when buyers transfer monies into Thailand, and a will of testament is drawn up, owners can have peace of mind that their beneficiaries may inherit the condo. In fact, there is no limit on the number of names that may be included on the FETF. Additional names on the FETF will be recorded as co-owners of the condo unit, and this secures inheritance should something happen to the principal buyer of the condo.
9: Condos Allow Foreigners to own Property in Up-Market Areas They Normally Couldn’t Afford
Owning a house or villa in an up-market highly desirable area can prove to be very expensive. A condo, on the other hand, allows foreigners to purchase a property in the same area for a fraction of the cost. In extremely high demand areas in Phuket, most buyers would not be able to buy property with a modest budget. This opens up many avenues of opportunity for buyers of condos in prime locations on the west coast of Phuket.
10: Condos Offer Excellent Onsite Amenities
Many Phuket condo buyers are attracted to what the resort offers over and above their individual unit living space. Every new modern condominium has amazing swimming pools, many with children’s pools, slides and even kid’s clubs. Most have state of the art gymnasiums and even restaurants, bars and shops. Without even leaving the resort, owners can do a few laps before breakfast, spend some time on the treadmill before lunch, catch some sun in the afternoons, and enjoy a meal with the family in the evenings.
11: Many Phuket Condominiums Have Stunning Views
Whether buyers are looking for uninterrupted sea views or a panoramic mountain view, there is plenty of choice. Most condos also have spacious private balconies too, so owners can enjoy a morning coffee, an evening glass of wine, or simply relax and enjoy the surrounding vistas.
12: Many Phuket Condominiums Have Roof Top Swimming Pools
The beautiful west coast sunsets of the Andaman Sea may be fully appreciated from the intelligently designed roof top swimming pools, which many of the condominium resorts in Phuket now have. There’s usually a bar too, perfect to unwind in the evenings and watch the sun go down, while sipping on a sun-downer cocktail.
13: Owners Pay a Flat Fee Each Month – No Variations in Monthly Costs
All condominiums in Thailand by law must have a “Condominium Juristic Person” (CJP), whose role is to use the common area fees to make sure the resort is run efficiently. All owners pay a CAM fee which is calculated on a per square metre basis, so CAM fees are determined by the size of the owner’s unit. Condo owners know exactly what they have to pay every single month, with no hidden or unexpected surprises. The only other charge owners have to contribute to is the Condominium Sinking Fund, which is normally a one off payment upon purchase and covers longer term maintenance issues, although it may be many years away before a new contribution is required.
14: It’s Far Less Hassle Owning a Condo
Everyone loves a stress free life. Being in a foreign country, foreigners want everything to be a breeze. One of the most attractive elements of condo ownership, is that it’s all so easy. Owners don’t really have to do much, it’s all done for them. Of course, owners may need to occasionally decorate the interior of their unit, but everything on the other side of the front door is taken care of for them.
15: All So Easy – No Hard Work!!
Unlike owning a villa, owning a condo means there is no grueling hard work involved. Owners don’t ever have to mow the lawn, get on their hands and knees to tend the flower beds, chlorinate the swimming pool, or remove trash from the premises. In the Phuket tropical heat, all these mundane chores soon become tiresome. This also leaves owners more leisure time to do what they want. Everything to do with running and maintaining the project is down to the management and the CJP. The only thing that owners need to do, is to make sure they pay their monthly CAM fee.
16: Even Paying Bills is Easier
Nearly every foreign freehold condo owner will only speak a few words of the Thai language, and certainly won’t be able to maneuver through some of the complexities of setting up some of the local services and paying bills. There’s no need to set up the Internet or WIFI with a local provider, condos have a centralised internet provider and even a TV network to subscribe to. There’s no need to worry about paying yearly property taxes to the local authorities, property taxes are covered by the CJP through your CAM fee contribution. Many condos even assist owners with paying electricity and water bills. Even if you do have to pay your own electricity and water bills, it can easily be done with internet banking through one of Thailand’s highly efficient banks.
17: So Many Styles, Designs and Configurations On the Market
As the Phuket condominium market has matured over the last few decades, new and innovative architectural designs have created a new breed of luxury projects. Some condominiums even have the open feeling of a villa, with private manicured lawns and landscaped garden areas, and some even have their own private swimming pools. There are even a number of duplex condos available too, as well as a large selection of luxurious penthouses. These new styles and designs defy the misconception of condominiums being small and cramped.
18: Condos Are Still Very Affordable For Most People
Although we have seen Phuket real estate prices rising over the past few years, condos are still reasonably affordable for most people seeking a home in the sun or for those looking for a solid investment opportunity. The price of a Phuket condo is surprisingly low for many would-be buyers.
19: Prices in Phuket Are Still Low Compared to Other Comparable Global Tourist Destinations
When you compare condo prices in Phuket to other vacation destinations in the world, it is not surprising that the Phuket real estate market is so buoyant. Although the average price per square metre has been rising across Phuket over the last few years, the condominiums for sale on the island are still comparatively cheap compared to other similar tourist destinations across the world. Some luxury condominiums in Phuket’s high demand areas are now fetching around 200,000 THB per square metre, but there are many still sitting below or around 100,000 THB per square metre price points. Compare this to other highly sought after real estate locations around the world, such as Marbella’s Golden Mile (approx. 950,000 THB per sqm). No matter what your opinion is on which global destination is more appealing or beautiful, Phuket condos are still some of the most affordable in the world.
20: There are Condos All Over Phuket Island
Although Phuket is only 48km in length, it has an array of different landscapes and terrain. On the west coast, there are small coves, long sweeping beaches and some rugged coastline. When you venture inland, there are mountainous areas, valleys and hillside retreats. There are banana and coconut groves, rubber plantations and pineapple fields. Seventy percent of the island is sloping, with the highest peak in Kathu at 529 metres, and although the east coast beaches aren’t quite the same as the west coast, the views over Phang Nga Bay are magnificent. Whether condominium buyers are seeking an isolated area away from the crowds, or the hustle and bustle and vibrant nightlife of Patong, there is an area to suit every type of buyer.
21: Phuket Investment Condos Offer Investors an Excellent Return on Their Investment
Ardent investors have been attracted to Phuket real estate for many years now. The booming tourism industry and the influx of new residents has resulted in investors being rewarded by both capital appreciation and an attractive return on investment. At time of writing, the tourism sector is certainly bouncing back strongly from the Covid lulls, and is once again expanding year on year. But investors in Phuket condominiums don’t only see fruitful financial gain, they are also able to use their condo unit for a few weeks per year.
22: Many Phuket Condos Have Professional Brand Name Management Companies/Branded Residences
Some developers collaborate with prestigious brand names to assist with marketing and management of the resort. Phuket now has a number of branded resorts, aimed at both the investment market and branded residences. Many management companies will also insist on excellent facilities from the developer, such as an onsite gourmet restaurant, which will also offer room service. This undoubtedly enhances the experience for both residents and guests. In many cases, owners may also qualify for privileges and discounts with the hotel management’s other global resorts.
23: Investment Condos Provide Hotel Licenses
A hot topic in Phuket over the past 10 years has been that condos have been operating illegally by providing short term rentals, without the necessary licensing. But as the Phuket investment condo market has developed, so has the adherence to Thailand’s laws and regulations. Many of the new investment condo projects are now aware of this dynamic, and offer lucrative short term returns by providing rentals to tourists, with legally compliant condominiums with full hotel licenses.
24: Second to None Security – You Can Lock a Condo Up When You Leave
As well as providing security for full time residents, those owners who only come sporadically throughout the year, or perhaps just travel for work around the region, can also safely lock up their unit without any worry. Condos can be second homes, and can remain tenantless for months at a time. Owners feel safe they can simply lock up and go away. Many condo owners also take advantage of a key holding service, which means when they are not staying at the unit, the keys are held by the management or CJP, ready and waiting to be picked up when owners return to Phuket.
25: Having a Say in Things – Freehold Condos Allow Owners a Vote in How Things Are Run
Every condo has a Condominium Juristic Person (CJP) who helps to manage the resort, but most resorts also have an “Owners Committee”. All freehold owners in a condominium project will be eligible to join the committee and all owners will have a vote in the AGM (Annual General Meeting). All freehold owners get full voting rights, and can voice their opinion on major decisions being made. If they want to, they can even attend meetings and AGM’s.
The 25 points above indicate clearly that those people seeking a safe, secure and stress free investment or home in Phuket, are wise to consider a Phuket condominium before any other ownership structure.
Obviously, there are reasons why a condo isn’t for everyone, for example, those who have pets, or foreigners who insist on a private pool, but whose budget doesn’t extend to a luxury condominium. However, anyone looking for a home in the sun, whether that’s a primary or secondary home, must most certainly look at condominium ownership before considering other options.