People who own property on the Thai island of Phuket are being urged not to sell land to companies run by expats after it was revealed that four or five land transactions a week involve foreigners.
‘Please keep Phuket land in the hands of Thais,’ said Paitoon Lertkai, the Director of the Phuket Land Office.
Speaking outside a seminar organised by the Ministry of the Interior at the Royal Phuket City Hotel, he said that prices of land on Phuket were rising at an alarming rate. ‘One rai could cost as much as 40 or 50 million baht in Patong. ‘I don’t know when it will stop,’ he added.
The land office holds all records that relate to land and real estate ownership on the popular island off the south west coast of Thailand. It is responsible for recording the transfers of title and ownership. When a purchase is made written evidence, such as a title deed, should be presented to the land office and the corresponding fees paid.
It strives to ensure that the owners of the land are the actual people selling the land and not relatives and has to make sure that the location and the size of the land is correctly recorded.
It has faced a number of claims in the past that transactions have been less than transparent and some believe that it needs to be regulated more closely.
Lertkai said that there were 1,645 potential plots of land registered without chanotes, the legal document needed to sell, in 2010 and the Land Office is currently deciding whether chanote titles should be issued at the rate of 70 to 80 plots a month. He also revealed that 30,812 people registered land ownership and legal transactions in 2010.
A huge interest from foreign buyers, especially for highly prized coastline land and luxury property, has resulted in more people wanting to sell their land. New flights from Russia, for example, have resulted in a large number of wealthy Russians looking to buy. An extension to Phuket International Airport is due to be completed in 2013. There is also interest from British and Australian buyers.
The market for luxury villas is expected to grow in 2011. Most villas though in Phuket are not pre-built so those wishing to build one first have to buy a plot of land. The Phuket Land Office approved 12 housing projects with 1,000 units and seven condominium projects with over 800 rooms in 2010.