Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Ushered in a new era of development in Thailand:

Good PDF document here.

Condo Act of 1979 started with maximum 40% foreign ownership - such that the majority of any condo building was Thai. Condo Act #2 moved that number to 49% in the 1990's, during the boom. Then rewritten in Act #3 (1999) to allow 100% foreign ownership after 1997 crash, provided the building was within the Bangkok Metro and certain other areas (for a limited 5-year period):
(i.e., such Condominium shall: (i) have not less than forty (40) Condominium Units; (ii) when combined with the common property designated for the benefit of the co-owners, its area shall not exceed five (5) rais; (iii) has already been registered at least one (1) year prior to the date a non-Thai applicant applies to register the transfer of ownership over a Condominium Unit; (iv) not be located in a military safety zone). It is believed that the main reason for the enactment of Condominium Act No. 3 and the relaxation in foreign ownership limitation, was the need to attract foreign investors and investment into Thailand which suffered a tremendous decline in its economy and GDP pursuant to the economic crisis of 1997.

It is clear this is a 'See-through tower' amendment. The project needs to be (i)big, (ii)dense, (iii)distressed, (iv)not near royals or the army (ie. undesirable to have finished)

It's worth noting that the Condo Act insures no foreign legacy - in fact,
"..any non-Thai which obtained the ownership of a Condominium Unit by a way of will/inheritance, must inform the competent authority of his/her ownership and “dispose of it within one year from the date of obtaining the ownership thereof7”.

Condo Act #4 (2008) is essential a consumer protection amendment, mostly stating that promotional literature must match the final product, and offer a Standard Contract.
"...If the advertisement material differs from the Sales Agreement, it shall be interpreted for the benefit of the buyer”

So this may be taken as a "No, never again" amendment. A sign that the Age of a New Sobriety has begun.

Q: what to take away design-wise?
Thai majority control.
Land, not building ?
Outside investment as stimulant - controlled like Feds interest-rate.
No foreign legacy of property ownership - what would be a 'legacy-free' building look like? One that faded with its owners...

Condo Act greatly accelerated property development, feeding a bubble, then adapted to attempt to clean up after the bubble burst. Most recently took a sober stance toward developers. No longer the Wild West, perhaps land owners want to infuse a little dignity, drive up existing land values (?)

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