A recent event by the Government Housing Bank (GH Bank) focused on what is described as “appropriate real estate licensing law for Thailand.”
And at least two Bangkok-based real estate agencies are already working with overseas organisations to ‘improve’ education and professionalism in the Thailand real estate sector.
One, Estate Corner, signed a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this month with Singapore’s Institute of Estate Agents although the exact details of this agreement are not known.
The lack of real estate licensing or regulation in Thailand has often been seen as detrimental to the kingdom. Anyone can wake up today and start a real estate agency without any previous knowledge or experience.
But on the other side of the argument Singapore, for example, requires all real estate agents to be licensed, pass yearly exams and update their real estate knowledge throughout the year. Singapore real estate agents are also governed by the Estate Agents Act, and numerous agents who have broken this law have been jailed since the law came into effect in 2010.
The word “law” that was used in a statement from GH Bank would certainly give the impression that Thailand could be moving towards strict controls of its real estate agency sector.
Real estate licensing and regulation in Thailand has been debated for many years. In 2010 a straw poll of agents at a Phuket event revealed some 80 percent were against any kind of legal regulations in the industry, but it does appear more are in favour now.
Surachet Kongcheep, a veteran Thailand property market expert and former Head of Research at real estate firm Colliers, told ThailandProperty.News: “I think this is good news for Thailand’s property sector, especially the real estate agency sector, due to the fact it will raise agency standards to become more reliable.”
Surachet, who is now Marketing Research and Positioning Director for Risland (Thailand), confirmed the influx of real estate agents from China.
“Now many non-Thai agents, especially from China, are in Thailand. If these regulations are announced it will make all foreign and Thai buyer more confident in Thailand’s property agent business.”
He added his view that any possible regulations will cover both Thai and non-Thai agents working in Thailand.
One Phuket developer has been so frustrated by the number of Chinese real estate agents coming to Thailand on tourist visas and attempting to buy bulk properties to resell in China, that he has taken to passing business cards directly to immigration on the basis of these agents working in Thailand without a work permit.
If and when real estate licensing or regulation happens in Thailand, it should be thoroughly discussed with everyone in the industry to ensure world-class standards that can be achieved by everyone.
Thailand really does have a great opportunity to set the standards and make use of best practice standards in real estate regulations from around the world.