Norwegians active in Pattaya real estate business

The group of houses where the Norwegian couple Hanne-Kjersti Jørgensen and Reidar Sten Nilsen has bought their winter residence is part of the continuously growing real estate empire of likewise Norwegian Kalle Kristensen and Tor Olaf Hegna.
The compound has six houses and is surrounded by a tall wall with a gate that is locked at all times. At the same time as they enjoy their quiet neighborhood, Pattaya with all it has to offer is easily within reach.
Warm climate, blue skies and beautiful beaches has brought many a frosty Scandinavian out here. Most return happily after a few weeks in a nice hotel by the beach, or a few months backpacking around South-East Asia. However, more and more Scandinavians settle more or less permanently in the land of smiles.
That Pattaya doesn’t have the best reputation, is not a big concern for the Norwegians.
“Pattaya is not what it used to be just a few years ago,” Kalle Kristensen says.
“When we first arrived here three years ago, there were many deadbeats here who slept during the day and partied at night. Now we have managed to change this and attract adults with interests beyond the pubs of Pattaya,” he says. Kalle Kristensen and Tor Olaf Hegna are not the only ones to discover that Pattaya has a lot to offer.
“There has been an amazing construction boom here lately,” John A.Hærum says.
He is a partner in a lawyer’s office in Pattaya and has watched the real estate market closely the last decade. Hærum estimates that real estate prices have gone up 30 per cent over the last two years. This is one of two important factors determining the prize of a house. The other one is proximity to the beach. Construction cost remains at a fairly low level.
“Building according to Scandinavian standards will cost around 10 000 to 12000 bath per square meter,” Hærum says.
However, buying property in Thailand is not without obstacles. Purchase of houses in particular, is restricted. Foreign nationals are in principle not allowed to own land. This can be circumvented by establishing a Thai company that owns the land. However, there are several demands that must be met. Among these are that the majority of the stocks in the company must be owned by Thais. At the same time, the foreigner has to keep control over the company, he is after all the one paying for the property.
“Establishing a Thai company is an OK way to buy property,” Hærum says. He stresses, however, the importance of seeking good legal counsel to avoid future problems.
Apartments, on the other hand, can be owned by foreign nationals as long as the number of foreigners in an apartment building does not exceed the number of local owners.

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