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Chinese are becoming investors first, tourists second in Thailand

Chinese demand for real estate in Thailand is at an apogee, but the Beijing government’s drive to control capital flight could hinder such demand, according to a new report by Financial Times Confidential Research (FTCR).

Surveying 108 investors, FTCR found that Chinese buyers, mostly only “moderately wealthy” and put off by skyrocketing values in the mainland, are scouring the kingdom for residential properties. Buyers from China now account for 10 to 20 percent of total sales in the tourist hubs of Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Phuket, and 5 percent of those in Bangkok.

However, such foreign demand is likely to recede soon. “The immediate outlook for Chinese investment flows into Thailand is negative,” FTCR stated in its report.

“In this new climate, we expect investors to delay plans to purchase more Thai real estate, at least until the dust settles, if not until the Chinese government loosens up again.”

Thailand is now the fifth most popular destination for real estate investment by the Chinese, FTCR pointed out. In 2010, almost no Chinese were buying homes in Thailand.

That year, Chinese tourist arrivals in the country topped 1.22 million, according to the Thai Immigration Bureau.

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