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Buying Property in Thailand

When thinking of overseas property for investment purposes the British have invariably and predominantly looked to Spain and France in the past. More recently Bulgaria,The Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Croatia and with their accession into the EU on the first of January 2007 Romania now seems a viable option and alternative. For some of the more pioneering Americans Eastern Europe is also a favourable choice for affordable real estate, offering a low cost and comfortable standard of living. Furthermore the majority of the emerging economies within the Eastern bloc and real estate markets are pro active and working hard to attract foreign investment.

A growing number of US citizens are choosing to move north to Canada where real estate can be cheaper,taxation can be lower, healthcare is far cheaper and the standard of living as high as in America. Countries such as Mexico, Panama and Belize are well known as lower cost locations for US citizens seeking an affordable overseas location. Living costs, real estate and taxation are all low. However the main consideration is the affordability and accessibility of healthcare and of necessary treatment and care, each of the three countries mentioned fails in one way or another. Furthermore, younger Americans may struggle to find decent employment or education for their children in Mexico, Panama or Belize 泰國買樓.

The British have always been obsessed with property and the expression ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ has never rung more true. With the cost of housing within the UK out of the reach of most first time buyers and those first time buyers continually vying for property with buy to let investors more of the early twenties are putting down roots in more affordable countries. As always though anyone considering these locations are advised to act sooner rather than later.

The Sofia Echo in early January reported that developers have worked on entire apartment and villa complexes in smaller and less popular regions with significant funds allocated to such projects. Investors, it seems, showed more interest in getting a new apartment close to a major city, rather than an old house to refurbish. as a result of continual development the price of property in such regions remained almost unchanged throughout 2006. In some regions, the price of property even went down. Varna region registered a 15 per cent price decrease. The average price per square metre in the region dropping from 600 to 510 euro. Supply also brought down the prices of property in the Bourgas region.

With the advent of cheap air flights this has further enhanced the idea of a dream home in the sun. However can accessibility be correlated directly to sustainable investment potential. Thailand is approximately 10000 miles from the US and approximately 6000 miles from the UK, With flying times of approximately 21 hours and 11 hours respectively. Perhaps not suitable to the masses and ensuring a restricted and select ex-pat presence.

Thailand has three main seasons per year. Northern climatic conditions are preferred by Thais countrywide as the coolest and most comfortable. Generally northern temperatures are between 3-5 degrees lower than the rest of the country, Chiang Mai city is a favoured location and the climate is perfect for visitors. Cool mountain air and bright sunny days ensure that this Shangri-la setting will remain a favourite for many years to come. The North also differs during the rainy season and continuous rainfall is quite rare. It will usually rain heavily for a period between 30 minutes to one hour, once or twice a day and soon dries up after the sun appears. The area is then left feeling fresh and cool. The average temperature throughout the year being approximately 26 degrees.

Chiang Mai has a significant expat community and some figures put the number of “farangs”, or westerners at 5,000. Chiang Mai is much of what Bangkok is not. Instead of the flatness of the Maenam Valley one is treated to ranges of forested mountains that sweep northward to Burma. Hill tribes in colorful costumes are common sights hawking their handicrafts around the night market. As Bangkok has no definite city centre, Chiang Mai’s is clearly defined by a moat.

Chiang Mai is certainly easier to negotiate than Bangkok. Walking, bicycling and motorcycling are realistic alternatives to driving. Or if you prefer, tuk-tuks are prolific. A relatively well organized system of songtaews (pickup trucks with benches and canopies) run a sort of shared service around greater Chiang Mai. Some can be hired much as a taxi service. Chiang Mai stands on the banks of the Maenam Ping (river) and quite a number of good restaurants are perched along the banks.

There is also a strong emphasis on healthcare and Chiang Mai has several quality hospitals including Chiang Mai Ram,Chiang Mai University and the McCormack Hospital. Along with the presence of US and UK consulates. ATMs are everywhere and currency exchanges are commonplace. Interest earned on fixed deposit accounts is taxable at 15% and collected by the banks.

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