People come from all over to live in Thailand’s mountain city of Chiang Mai. Besides its own sizeable local population—numbering more than 350,000—expats are increasingly coming here. They come from all over—Australia, Europe and the U.S. Recent estimates put the number of Western expats living in Chiang Mai at around 40,000. But it’s not just Westerners who are coming. Asian retirees, particularly from Japan, South Korea, and China are retiring to Chiang Mai’s relaxing surroundings. And more are coming each year.
About Ronan McMahon
I’m an avid golfer; I play whenever I get the chance. I’ve played on some of the best courses in the world. And I put the course at Finca Cortesin, Spain, in my list of top courses. And, I’d put the opportunity to own a luxury apartment perched above a winding fairway here at the top of my list of finds in all of Spain. From the second I arrived at Finca Cortesin—35 minutes’ drive from the high-end tourist destination of Marbella—I was charmed.
People come from all over to live in Thailand's mountain city of Chiang Mai. Besides its own sizeable local population—numbering more than 350,000—expats are increasingly coming here. They come from all over—Australia, the U.S. and Europe. Recent estimates put the number of Western expats living in Chiang Mai at around 40,000. But it's not just Westerners who are coming. Asian retirees, particularly from Japan, South Korea and China are retiring to Chiang Mai's relaxing surroundings. And more are coming each year.
If you’re looking for a real estate market that’s set to soar, cast your eyes east to Thailand. Its northern city Chiang Mai is set to become a major regional commercial, educational and technology hub. Chiang Mai’s historic importance developed thanks to its location on the Ping River and on other major trading routes. These trading routes went quiet as wars and other disputes beset the region. But peace has settled here and that quiet is set to change.
What’s going to drive up the value of the real estate you have purchased? Don’t buy if you cannot explain—in 30 seconds to the next person you bump into—why prices or income will rise. Many factors drive global real estate prices and incomes upward. GDP and population growth…inward migration…infrastructure developments…political certainty (and uncertainty)…can all create solid profits for the real estate investor.
Buying real estate overseas is fun, glamorous and can be very profitable, but you need to be clear about what you want to get out of it and what you are willing to put in. First, you need to decide if you are looking to purchase as an investment or as a second/retirement home.
If you’re thinking of checking out these deals (should they still be available at the time of press), be advised: there’s a catch. Though this pretty village of stone houses with colourful wood shutters sits between a forest and a lake, boasts a golf course nearby and some great local foods, the town’s population is in decline. Currently, it’s estimated at only 388 people.
When buying for a short-term rental, understand the local rules and build a cushion into your numbers. How would the opportunity look if the local government decided to charge a 10% tourist tax? What’s the current law relating to short-term rentals? What are the rules in the building you’re buying in? Are these rules set to change and how could the enforcement of these rules work?