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Property Policies Could Follow Singapore’s Example

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A property research firm suggests that the Thai government should ensure housing affordability for Thais and limit foreign ownership of condos to specific zones, even within a single province, to avoid opposition.


Vichai Viratkapan, acting director-general of the Real Estate Information Center, proposed that Thailand might adopt measures similar to Singapore, emphasizing home affordability for its citizens.


“Despite its small size, Singapore welcomes foreign investors due to several policies and measures ensuring its citizens can afford homes. They have never feared foreign property ownership,” he said.


These policies include public housing development with units sold at subsidized prices to a broad segment of the population. Singapore also has a Central Provident Fund, funded by both employees and employers, which can be used for down payments and monthly mortgage payments.


Additionally, the country offers various housing grants and subsidies to make housing more affordable for different groups, providing financial assistance to lower and middle-income families for purchasing their first home.


To prevent speculative buying and maintain housing affordability, Singapore employs cooling measures such as stamp duties for multiple property owners and foreigners, and tightening loan-to-value limits.


“Singaporeans are not worried about owning a home, but they are concerned about long queues,” said Mr. Vichai. “While allowing foreigners to buy units, they limit each nationality to a certain percentage to prevent domination.”


However, some property analysts argue this approach might not be suitable for Thailand due to its vast land available for condo development, allowing foreigners to spread out rather than clustering in one area.


To ensure housing affordability for Thais if the foreign ownership quota for condos is increased to 75%, property associations suggest limiting this extension to specific zones, such as districts in Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya. They also recommend that revenue from taxes or fees collected from foreign buyers be allocated to a housing fund to help low and middle-income Thais secure mortgages with 0% interest rates for the first three years, serving as a loan guarantee.


“Increasing purchasing power from foreign buyers might be necessary amid weak local demand, but Thai affordability must be prioritized,” said Mr. Vichai.


Source: Bangkok Post


Yours sincerely,

The editorial team at Invest Bangkok Property


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