Visa-free regime drives demand for real estate in Thailand among Kazakhstanis

Editor of the Real Estate Department
Photo: Shutterstock

In September 2023, the government of Thailand temporarily canceled visas for tourists from Kazakhstan and China to boost the number of tourists from these two countries. However, Kazakhstani investors have also seen new opportunities for themselves. According to Tranio, an overseas property broker, the temporary cancelation of the visa regime boosted the appetite for real estate in Thailand.

The visa-free regime for citizens of Kazakhstan and China was introduced on September 25 and is going to last until February 29, 2024. During this period, tourists from Kazakhstan can legally stay in Thailand for 30 days without a visa. By doing so, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of Thailand wants to support the national tourism industry and attract as many foreign tourists as possible.

Thailand is one of the most popular countries for those Kazakhstanis who are going to invest money in real estate in Asia. They consider this region as a middle ground between mature markets in Europe and developing markets in the Middle East.

«The Thai market offers quite moderate investment opportunities with no big risks and jackpots. On the other hand, this market isn’t just a safe harbor where you neither lose nor earn money. Take a look at investment funds from Singapore and Hong Kong, which prefer to invest in projects in Phuket, not in their domestic markets,» Tranio said.

Two weeks after the cancelation of the visa regime for Kazakhstanis, Kursiv asked Tranio whether the softening of customs procedures has made Kazakhstani investors more interested in real estate in Thailand.

«It’s quite early to estimate the results of the new visa rules but if we are talking about the two weeks before the visa-free regime was introduced and two weeks after that, we have seen a twofold increase in demand,» Tranio said.

The agency also pointed out that the new visa regime boosted not only the demand but also the average budget for real estate transactions. For example, during the two weeks before the rules change, Kazakhstanis spent €146,000 on average. After the introduction of the visa-free regime, they spent twice as much: up to €344,000.

«Almost all investors from Kazakhstan are quite wealthy individuals with high checks (up to $1.5 million per listing). Often their purchases are spontaneous and wave-like. Sometimes they buy something, sometimes they don’t. By comparison, investors from Russia always demonstrate stable demand for real estate. Therefore, it is hard to draw parallels with seasons or global events,» said Svetlana Romanyuk, head of Tranio in Phuket.

Over the last nine months, Kazakhstanis have shown a significant surge in interest in Thai real estate. During the period from January to September 2023, Tranio received 667% more requests than the same period last year, while the average check has increased by 76%.

The demand for real estate as investments has been growing in Thailand along with the gradual rebounding of its tourism industry in this country. This year, the Thai government expects 25 to 30 million foreign tourists to visit the country, 80% of the peak figures in 2018 to 2019.

Some experts believe that the country’s tourism industry will rebound as soon as package tours from China are resumed. Thailand has already introduced a temporary visa-free regime for Chinese citizens.

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, over the five months of the visa-free regime, the country can accommodate 1.9 to 2.9 million tourists from China and 129,500 tourists from Kazakhstan. In terms of money, this is going to be $2.6 to $3.9 billion in revenue at the expense of the Chinese and $220 million at the expense of Kazakhstanis.

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