Thailand risks losing some of its resort home market to Southeast Asian rivals Malaysia and the Philippines if it goes ahead with plans to close a loophole in the Foreign Business Act, according to regional analysts. The government has proposed changes to the law that allows non-Thais to hold property through a local company that they control because Thai nominee majority shareholders waive voting rights. "Thailand is seen as a desirable place for resort property, but Malaysia has, quite frankly, a better legal framework," said David Simister, chairman of property consultants CB Richard Ellis. Malaysia recently eased curbs on foreign ownership of residential property in an effort to cut red tape and spur economic growth. Meanwhile, Songkran Issara, managing director of developer Charn Issara, complains that the government, which has said it wants to promote high-end tourism, was sending out mixed signals. "I want the government to be clear on its policies about foreign investments in Thailand, whether we want to boost them or we don't want to," Issara said.
Asia Property Report
Bangkok Post