Hua Hin is one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in Thailand. Located 200 kilometers south of Bangkok, it offers breath-taking sunrise vistas from across the Gulf of Thailand.
The beachfront streets offer visitors a quiet, “local” feel. You can see fishing boats on the beach right behind delicious restaurants. The seafood cannot be fresher. There are markets in the evening and many cultural landmarks to visit.
Though Hua Hin is popular with tourists, it is a choice location for foreigners (and Thai Nationals) who would like to buy a holiday get-away or settle down on a more permanent basis.
The area offers a diverse choice, with some people choosing to live in beachfront condominiums, while others prefer villa living in the lush hills nearby.
There are many options when purchasing property in Thailand. Some options are more complex when looking at foreign ownership. In this article, we will focus on purchasing a condominium.
We will explain the rights of ownership, the buying, and legal process, and highlight popular areas and developments that are available for foreign investors.
How Covid-19 Changed Our View of Travel
Travel changed in 2020 because of the effects of Covid-19. Many people felt trapped and isolated because they could not leave their neighborhoods. Traveling to a foreign shore seemed impossible.
A sense of ‘normal’ is returning in 2022, but it’s still difficult to just “get away” for a week. Traveling now requires some dedication and “long stay” vacations are becoming the norm.
This shift in mindset redefines how we visit the places we love. If you now need more time to get away, then owning your own piece of Thailand makes sense.
How Does the Hua Hin Market Look at the Dawn of 2022?
A recent survey conducted by real estate services in the area concluded that property supply and demand in Cha-am, Hua Hin, and Khao Tao was slow but stable during the second half of 2021.
Of 28,055 condominium/apartments available, 20,571 were sold. This represents a sales rate of 73% in 2021, similar to that of 2020.
The average asking price for beachfront property rose around 2% over the course of 2021, but estimates remain stable for early 2022. This figure, of course, relies on economic and tourism recovery because of Covid-19.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but now is a good time to buy your dream in Thailand. If you have experienced Thai “life”, and want to make it a more permanent lifestyle, then a stable market price and abundance of property supply are ideal.
If you are looking to invest in a long-term holiday destination and potential rental income, then now might be a prudent time to buy as tourism recovers.
Essential Questions to ask before Purchasing
If you are a seasoned property investor, you know there are many steps to take from thinking, “I want to buy a property”, to settlement and handover.
If you are looking to buy your first property, then you will need all the help you can get, especially in another country like Thailand. Don’t worry, there are professionals that can help make this easy for you.
Looking at properties and seeing beautiful ocean vistas will get you excited, but you should ask some important questions first.
“What is my purpose in buying?”
Are you looking for a holiday home to escape to each year? Are you looking for an investment property that generates income for you between your visits? Are you ready to move to paradise and live the life you dream of forever?
“What type of property am I looking to buy?”
There are many styles of property to buy in Hua Hin. You can buy a beachfront condominium (condo), an apartment, a townhouse, a villa in the hills, or even a house.
Each type of property has its own level of ownership rights and clauses, which we will explore. We are looking at the popular choice of condominiums because they give you the greatest choice, are the easiest to buy, and provide the highest level of legal ownership.
“Do I want to buy an older condo, a new condo, or invest in new development and purchase off-plan?
This is an important question to ask when determining your budget and time frames.
“What is my budget?”
Few Thai banks offer property financing for foreigners. As a foreign investor, you will rely on cash, whether that be savings or equity in your property at home.
It is easy to dream big and overextend when you see what is available. You must have a realistic budget that you can stick to. Your budget will decide your choices.
“Do I Need the Help of a Real Estate Agent and Property Lawyer?”
Yes! No matter your experience, remember you are looking to buy property in a country with different laws, regulations, and cultures.
In fact, we will break down the services of these professionals before we dive into the buying and legal process. No matter the complexity, once you understand how an agent and lawyer can help you, you will enter the Thai property market with confidence.
Your Real Estate Agent
Reputation and “keeping face” are important in Thai culture. A trusted agent will be your language and cultural liaison who is worth their weight in silver.
A knowledgeable agent knows the best existing property opportunities and upcoming developments. They will have a diverse network across the city.
A reputable agent works in the best interest for you and the seller.
An efficient agent saves you time and money.
Once you can picture your soon-to-be condo in Hua Hin, your agent will get to work. They can look at what you have found, ask the right questions, and cut properties or offer unlisted alternatives.
Your agent negotiates viewings, transportation, and can give a history of buildings, developers, managers, and areas.
They will translate with sellers to help negotiate prices and conditions of purchase. This will save your time during the hunt.
Your Property Lawyer (Conveyancer)
If your real estate agent is worth silver, then your lawyer is worth gold.
A trusted law firm will save you time, prevent frustration, and help you avoid potential financial loss or litigation. They are the experts.
A reputable law firm remains impartial through the law while protecting your interests.
What Does Your Lawyer Do?
During the buying process, they will:
Investigate under due diligence
This involves researching the background and history of sellers, development companies, buildings, and potential legal complications with any of the above.
Conduct Title Searches
This includes confirming title details match registered Land Office records; that the seller legally owns the property and is entitled to sell; and there are no existing mortgages, liens, debts, or legal proceedings held against the property.
Legal Review contracts (Purchase & Sales Agreement) to make sure details are correct and fair for the seller and the buyer.
Unlike contracts in Western culture, which are dry, detailed, and list numbers, many contractual agreements in Thailand focus on the relationship between buyer and seller. Think of it as the “Gentleman’s Agreement” or “Handshake deal”.
Unfortunately, this means they may omit several important conditions or clauses. Your property lawyer will translate and recommend important conditions you should include to protect yourself.
Reconcile transfer and payment of funds
In any property transaction, the most important aspect is money. We will dissect this further, but your lawyer will confirm what monies are due (including registration, default clauses, and fees); which party pays the money and fees; and how funds are to be paid (payment schedules).
Your lawyer will make sure that all payments and time-frames are fair for both parties and scrutinize any hidden or ongoing costs with you.
Attend settlement and registration of title at the Land Office
Your lawyer will give and receive all relevant documents at the time of settlement. They can then act as your liaison with the Thai Land Office to register and file all documents, and pay the fees and taxes as per your contract.
Help protect your assets
A trusted Legal firm can help you look to the future. What happens in the worst-case scenario of your passing?
We often create a will in our home country to make sure our estate is secure in the event of death. Thailand does not recognize foreign wills and can be contested in Court.
Thai lawyers can help draft a Will that is recognized in Thailand. Though not part of the buying process, it is an important aspect that is often overlooked when we think of protecting assets and providing for our spouse or dependents.
You have now asked yourself some important questions and have a better understanding of the help that is available to you.
Let’s look at the buying and legal process of acquiring your new dream condo and show you some of the best buys available.
How Can I Legally Own Property in Thailand?
It is important to understand the different levels of property ownership available to foreign investors. Different ownership types determine the legal process and security of your purchase, especially in a resort/tourist area like Hua Hin.
Freehold – Foreigners can hold a freehold title in their own name; The Thai Land Office issues a title deed similar to a strata title and freehold property can be used as collateral in Thailand.
Condominiums offer freehold (or leasehold) titles and are the easiest and most popular way for a foreigner to invest in Thai property.
Leasehold – A foreigner can own a physical structure (property) as a Superficie or Usufruct entity, but the land it lives on is owned by a Thai national or Thai Limited company.
They then lease the land for up to 30 years, with a possibility to extend it for up to 90 years.
During the term of the lease, the property owner maintains the structures and land.
The lease is registered with the Thai Land Office and if they sell the land during this term, the new land owner takes over the lease.
It pays to be aware of leasehold style ownership in an area like Hua Hin. In other areas of Thailand, like Chiang Mai, most condos sell under a freehold title, but because of Hua Hin’s (see also: Pattaya & Phuket) tourist/resort nature, many condos are sold as leasehold.
Thai Limited Company – Land and structures can be owned through a Thai Limited company.
A foreigner can be a shareholder in the company, but the company must have at least two Thai National shareholders who hold a majority share (51%).
The company then leases the land as above.
What Types of Property Can I Buy?
Our focus is on purchasing a condominium, but we will also summarise property types available to buy in the Hua Hin area.
Condominium – A condominium is defined as a building featuring privately owned property and common property. The owners of condominiums own the land through a Juristic person of condominium. (The Condominium Act – The Commonly Owned Housing Act of 2522).
In layman’s terms, a “condo” is a living space (unit) that is part of a larger complex. The owner holds legal freehold title over the private residence and a joint interest in common areas of the property.
In Hua Hin (and other areas of Thailand), you may hear the term “low-end” condo. This does not reflect quality or location.
These condos are sometimes smaller in overall size (Studio or 1-bedroom) and not intended for family use. A “low-end” condo may not be on a beachfront or prime commerce location, but it will often be just a short walk away.
They are still furnished with modern appliances and comforts, and may still contain modern facilities and security.
“Low-end” condos can offer remarkable market value for those who are under budget constraints or want to “test the waters” of Thai property.
Apartment – An “apartment” is a condominium that cannot be owned under freehold title by a foreigner. Apartments sell as leasehold only and fall under the terms of Thailand’s 30-year leasing regulations.
Keep an eye out for this when looking at potential properties in Hua Hin.
On the surface, condos and apartments are the same. Same living space, same fees, and common area obligations. You will enjoy the same facilities and comforts, but you will not own your property outright.
Resort Condo – A higher-priced condominium in a resort that can be owned with Freehold Title.
These modern developments will often contain more exclusive common areas, such as cafes, upscale fitness centers, infinity pools, and extensive gardens.
Medium-to-high end resort style condominiums price between 3 million and 15 million baht, depending on location, floor space, and amenities.
Resort-style condominiums are popular for people seeking an investment opportunity, rather than a place to live. New developments will often offer a guaranteed rental income for the first few years.
Luxury Freehold & Penthouse Condominiums – A freehold condominium catering to buyers who have an excess of capital to invest and seek the best of the best.
Luxury condominiums offer a greater choice of style and appearance. Some properties resemble a villa, while others, a luxury penthouse; complete with a rooftop garden, terrace, and private pool.
As part of a complex, these luxury condos offer high-end common area facilities, such as fitness centers, pools, restaurants, and grocers. They will use first-class management teams and services.
The developer may also offer rental guarantees for the investor.
Villa – Villas are classified as a house, so will fall under the same ownership and purchase laws as House & Land.
The defining factor of a villa is its ‘exclusivity’. It is often part of a gated community and has shared facilities with other owners (pools, restaurants, gyms, etc). A villa gives you the 24-7 feel of resort living.
There are more details to be aware of in the buying process and contract, like common area obligations and community rules. But again, the right legal advice will streamline this process, protect you, and help avoid any potential financial risks.
Many people who settle in Hua Hin on a long-term basis prefer to buy a villa in the outer hills.
Townhouse – A terraced structure with two or more stories. The Thai variation is called a “shop house” because they have a shop on the ground floor, with living quarters on the upper floors.
Townhouses and Shop houses are common in Thailand. You will often see this style when you walk along the beach-front streets and suburbs of Hua Hin.
For a foreigner with a Thai spouse who wants to be in the middle of it all, these properties are appealing. With a smaller land footprint, taxes are lower while offering spacious living conditions and an opportunity to generate income from the shop space if prepared to form a Thai Company.
House & Land – It is possible to own a house in Thailand, but the process is more involved.
Under Thai law, a foreigner cannot own land. Any structure built is part of the ‘land’.
Don’t let this deter you. There are several ways you can build your home and own it. The three most common are:
- to lease the land for up to 30 years as a person, Superficies or Usufruct.
- to be married to a Thai National who can own the land.
- to form a Thai Limited company in which you operate a genuine business.
In each of these cases, you will not own the land you build on, but you will own your house.
If you are looking to have more space for the kids and pets, or want to build a home in a quieter area, it is possible, and the right legal help will make it simple.
Should you buy an existing, new, or off-plan condo?
Because of current market trends and the lack of available beachfront land in Hua Hin, there are no new development projects scheduled. However, it is helpful to be aware of different buying options when looking at budgets.
Pre-owned – Pre-owned condominiums give you a variety of choices and locations. Because they are not brand new, you will find a condo that suits your budget. Existing condos will have an established management team and Juristic person.
Newly completed – The joy of being the first person to walk through the door. A newly completed condominium will have appliances and furnishing of a more modern design.
Developers are responsible by law for any defects or structural repairs needed in the first five years of completion. This offers a level of security for your purchase.
Off-the-plan – There are risks and advantages to buying off-plan in a fresh development.
An off-plan project will often have an extended payment schedule with the final payment due at the time of completion. This allows buyers time to save.
Developers are often seeking investment in their projects, so may offer a competitive purchase price. That said, because developers are working for a budget, you may find it does not incline them to negotiate the price.
49% of condominiums are allocated for foreign ownership. If buying off-plan, you know you are eligible to buy.
A common risk is, “What if the project doesn’t complete?”
It is paramount to seek legal advice before signing an off-plan contract. Your lawyer will make sure that all relevant conditions are in place should the developer (or you) default as per the contract.
Another thing to be aware of is furnishing. New developments will have a show unit. But not all units include furniture and appliances. It is important to confirm if they include furnishings in your contract price, or if this will be an extra cost.
How Do I Buy a Condo in Hua Hin?
Do your homework
You must research.
There is a wealth of knowledge on the internet. Conducting your own research will highlight areas, price ranges, developers, and attractions. It will give you a visual of what is available in the market right now.
With keyword searches (nature, beach, history, nightlife, dining), you can discover areas that offer what you want.
During this phase, keep in mind the questions you asked in the beginning. Your answers will help narrow down search queries and keep things realistic.
You should not only be aware of places you might buy but also other development plans. This might include potential building developments or infrastructure upgrades. This is not as important in Hua Hin as it is in areas like Phuket.
Here are some popular real estate sites to help get you started:
- Siam Real Estate – Siam Real Estate has all the latest offerings.
- FazWaz – FazWaz is a great resource for new and existing developments.
We will cover some popular areas, their highlights, and attractions below.
Find your Real Estate Agent
Once you can picture your soon-to-be condo in Hua Hin, enlist the help of your first professional.
By looking at your research and asking the right questions, they can eliminate properties or offer unlisted alternatives.
Your real estate agent will get to work. They negotiate viewings, and transportation, and can provide a history for buildings, developers, managers, and areas.
They will translate with sellers to help negotiate prices and conditions of purchase. This will save you time during the hunt.
When you have found your slice of Thailand and are ready to sign a contract, do NOT sign the dotted line.
It is time to find your second professional.
Your Property Lawyer (Conveyancer)
From the above, you have a good understanding of what your lawyer will do for you.
As a Thai Law expert, they will now conduct due diligence and title searches. They will review your contract to make sure it benefits both the buyer and the seller; and include, amend, or remove relevant conditions or clauses.
Your lawyer will confirm payment schedules and how funds will disburse at the time of settlement. When it is time, they will attend settlement and register your new title with the local Thai Land Office.
A contract review is a top priority if you are looking to buy off-plan.
Pay your deposit and sign the contract
Before paying any money, be aware that as a foreign investor, you must present evidence that your purchase funds originate from outside Thailand.
All funds must be in foreign currency and show a clear paper trail of where the funds come from (withdrawal from the originating bank), the purpose of the funds (purchase of condominium), and proof of currency conversion in the recipient Thai Bank account (Foreign Exchange Form).
Your contract will list the amounts and time frames for all payments. This will include the deposit, the balance of purchase, applicable Government fees & taxes, as well as who is responsible for any payments.
A summary of your payment schedule
- Deposit: A deposit is paid before finalizing the contract. It is 10-15% of the purchase price but can sometimes be as high as 25%.
- Balance: The purchase balance is paid at the time of settlement unless otherwise specified in the payment schedule.
When purchasing off-plan, the payment schedule may differ with several payments made at certain stages of construction.
- Government Fees: Government fees are paid when documents are registered with the Thai Land Office. The fees depend on property value.
There are 3 types of value given to a property when calculating Government fees and taxes:
- Registered Value (Purchase price registered with the Land Office).
- Assessed Value (property value assessed by the Land Office).
- Market Value (often determined by real estate and current market trends).
Transfer fee: 2% of the registered value of the property.
Stamp Duty: 0.5% of registered value. Only payable if exempt from business tax.
Withholding tax: 1% of the appraised value or registered sale value of the property (whichever is higher and if the seller is a company). If the seller is an individual, withholding tax calculates at a progressive rate based on the appraisal value of the property.
Business tax*: 3.3% of the appraised value or registered sale value of the property (whichever is higher). This applies to both individuals and companies.
* This tax is payable if the property has been owned for less than 5 years as is often the case in fresh developments.
Your property lawyer will attend settlement for you. Final documents are signed, funds disbursed and keys handed over.
Before settlement can occur with completed off-plan development, the Thai Government & Environmental departments conduct assessments before issuing the new title.
Registration of Title
After settlement, all documents need to be registered at the local Thai Land Office.
Your lawyer will handle the registration and payment of all applicable fees.
Who pays what fees?
|WHICH PARTY NORMALLY PAYS|| |
|Transfer fee|| |
|2% of the registered value|
|Stamp Duty|| |
|0.5% of the registered value|
|Withholding Tax|| |
|1% of appraised value or registered sale value (whichever is higher)|
|Business Tax|| |
|3.3% of appraised value or registered sale value (whichever is higher)|
Where to buy in Hua Hin?
Now that you know what is involved with buying your property in Thailand, let’s look at popular areas to buy in Hua Hin and surrounding areas.
Developments: At present, there are no new developments scheduled for Hua Hin. There is almost no beachfront land available. Some beachfront sites are available in Cha-am but there are no new projects listed for 2022.
There are current off-plan developments scheduled for completion in 2023/24.
We will look at each area and its attractions. For each area, we will highlight an existing condo and a new condo.
Existing – Marvest
Developer: Major Development Estate Co., Ltd.
Price range: 2,400,000 – 3,000,000
Next to Phetkasem Road, a major business area in Hua Hin Town, there is a wealth of restaurants and shopping malls nearby. 350 meters from Grand night market and 3.7 kilometers from Cicada Market and Tamarind Market.
With its concept of ‘Next Level of Hua Hin Living,’ the room layout is well-designed with good proportions. Constructed of premium materials, residents can relax in their private space surrounded by charming nature and vivid colors.
The complex includes a 50m swimming and children’s pool, waterfall curtain, jacuzzi, garden and playground, fitness centre, lobby parking, and 24hr CCTV security.
New – La Casita
Price range: 2,000,000 – 14,000,000
La Casita is a Spanish luxury vacation condominium in the desired location in the center of Hua Hin.
A perfect integration of pastel color tones and dimensions makes the project architecture unique. The lobby hall is designed and arranged with tiles, arches, and hand-painted wall arts, giving a sense of classic warmth, like a home filled with happiness and love.
The units are furnished and contain a built-in kitchen.
The complex includes a lobby, lifts, leisure garden, kids playground, communal pool, kids pool, BBQ area, Wi-Fi, 24 hour CCTV security, and parking
Off-plan – Mira Monte Hua Hin 94
Completion: Dec 2024
Developer: Thanthara Development Co., Ltd.
Price range: 1,700,000 – 5,300,000
Mira Monte redefines luxury living in the heart of Hua Hin City. Close to major shopping, beaches and amenities like Hua Hin Market Village, Bluport Shopping Mall, Vana Nava Jungle Water Park, Khao Hin Lek Fai, Royal Hua Hin Golf Course, Hua Hin Beach, Khao Takiap Beach, Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin.
A beautiful and modern design, Mira Monte delivers various rooms to choose from, ranging from studios to 2 bedrooms. They are furnished with complete built-in kitchens.
The project includes a lobby, communal pool, children’s pool, outdoor Kids Zone, jacuzzi, coworking space / meeting room, BBQ area, vegetable plot, gardens, walking / running track, 24H CCTV security, and parking.
Existing – La Habana
Price range: 2,800,000 – 10,500,000
La Habana’s concept of ‘The Happy Colours of Hua Hin’ delivers great relaxation and enjoyment to the residents. The design reflects a Spanish Colonial style in one of the best locations in Hua Hin town.
Just 250 meters from Hua Hin Beach, surrounded by entertainment venues and local amenities such as Cicada Market, Tamarind Market Hua Hin, and leading 5-star hotels.
The project includes a lobby, communal pool, children’s pool, outdoor garden & recreation area, jacuzzi, playground, Wi-Fi, 24hr CCTV security, and parking.
New – My Style Hua Hin 102
Developer: Huahin Supsiri Property Co., LTD.
Price range: 2,700,000 – 11,300,000
A stylish condominium for people to live in functional and spacious rooms. It is in a golden location of Hua Hin, just 2 minutes from Blue Port shopping mall and 5 minutes to Hua Hin beach where you can admire a stunning seaside.
The complex includes a large jet spa swimming pool, a fully-equipped fitness center, and a lush garden.
Off-plan – Sasara Hua Hin
Completion: Sep 2023
Developer: Issara United Co., Ltd.
Price range: 5,500,000 – 51,400,000
Prime beachfront views on the shores of Khao Takiap Beach. Located close to local markets and restaurants, there are many attractions within walking distance.
There is not a lot of promotion information on the project, but the pictures look beautiful.
The project includes a lobby, communal pool, children’s pool, gym, BBQ area, 24H CCTV security, shuttle bus, and parking.
Existing – Springfield Beach Resort
Developer: Springfield Group
Price range: 3,800,000 – 45,000,000
A prime location only a few steps away from Cha Am Beach. Residents can enjoy stunning sea views amidst palm trees and abundant nature. The project emphasizes simplicity in its design.
There is transportation and easy access to several tourist attractions and conveniences, including Springfield Royal Country Club, Family Mart Cha-Am, and Big C Market Cha-Am.
The complex has a wide range of facilities in the common area, including a spacious beachfront swimming pool with children’s water slides, bar, restaurant, fitness center, jacuzzi, sauna, and 24-hour CCTV security.
Existing – Lumpini Seaview Cha-Am
Developer: LPN Development,
Price range: 2,100,000 – 2,500,000
Immerse yourself in an elevated, beautiful sea view vacation condo.
Beautiful and luxurious decoration emphasizes using every square inch. They divide each unit into a living room, bedroom, and kitchen.
The complex includes a large pool, gym, lush gardens, kids’ playground, and 24hr CCTV security.
Existing – Energy Seaside City
Developer: Baan Rajprasong
Price range: 1,500,000 – 7,500,000
This mega project offers a distinctive design that combines Western art with the local aura. Paying attention to every detail, they furnish the units with leading brands.
The project includes a luxurious common area, large swimming pools, 4-standard size bowling lanes, a fitness center, and a sports complex. There are over 30 sports activities catering to different needs, such as squash, tennis, basketball, badminton, snooker, saunas, steam, and bike lanes.
Land Department Offices (including address)
Though you will have a reliable conveyance lawyer to help with your purchase and registration, it helps to know where your local Land Office is. Here is a list of the Phuket Land offices and their contact details.
Hua Hin Khiri Khan Provincial Land Office
Address: GXG6+FRF, Nong Kae, Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110
Hours: Mon-Fri 08:30 – 16:30
Information Overload – A Summary
There is a lot of information above. Overloaded with options, here is a simple breakdown of your process.
- Ask yourself questions about what you want.
- Conduct your own research.
- Be aware of areas and potential future developments.
- Hire a good real estate agent.
- View potential properties.
- Hire good legal advice before signing any contracts.
- Sign your contract and pay a deposit.
- Settle and pay balances.
- Register your property with legal aid.
- Enjoy your fresh slice of Hua Hin paradise.
Property Lawyers or Conveyancing Lawyers
Reputable legal advice is essential if you are thinking of purchasing your dream in Thailand. Versed in Thai law, a qualified property lawyer will advise and support you through the buying process, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.
Siam Legal is a registered legal firm with over 17 years of property conveyancing experience. Their team has offices in the key areas of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Phuket, and are well versed in their local areas.
You can contact the Siam Legal office at:
Address: Two Pacific Place Building,
18th Floor, Unit 1806,
142 Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey,
Bangkok 10110 Thailand
Phone: 02 254 8900
Mobile: 084 021 9800
Hours: 09:00 – 18:00