Survey: fewer Western expats in Thailand

expat survey
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A survey published earlier this month has shown there are fewer Western expats in Thailand.

This may have a follow-on impact for Thailand’s property and real estate sector, especially for property rentals. surveyed 1,429 Western expats in its Expat Survey 2018 and noted a “significant” fall in working Western expats.

It revealed a “significant number of working expats under 60-years-old” left Thailand since its previous survey in 2016.

If the numbers are repeated more widely, this will add to the current supply/demand imbalance in the rental sector.

There are far more units for rent than potential tenants right now.

The popular website for expats added that the rising cost of living in Thailand combined with the influx of Chinese and Indian tourists is changing the expatriate dynamic.

There was also some useful information for real estate agents and developers that emerged in the survey.

The average age of arriving expats had increased to 60-years-old, up from 50-years-old from just two years ago.

There are also younger, unemployed, expats arriving according to the survey results.

Just one in 5 Western expats is now under 50-years-old, with two percent under 30-years-old.

According to the survey, this indicates that Thailand is moving quickly back towards its previous position as a retirement destination for expats.

Just 23 percent of survey respondents indicated they were working, almost half of figures seen during 2016.

In terms of monthly budgets for Western expats, one of four said they have been THB 25,000 and THB 45,000 per month. Some 48 percent have monthly budgets of more than THB 65,000 per month while 10 percent said they have more than THB 145,000 to spend.

Perhaps surprisingly, 20 percent of expats questioned in the survey claimed to own a condominium.

When looking at the levels of attrition and levels of condo ownership, this would seem to indicate a business opportunity for agencies that can penetrate the Western expat property sales market.

Although the survey sample size was relatively small, it does provide some useful indicators that can be used in Thailand’s property and real estate sector.

Whilst this survey indicates there are fewer Western expats in Thailand, they have likely been replaced by both Japanese and Chinese nationals given the most recent data regarding the number of work permits issued in Bangkok, which is still rising.

Andrew Batt
The author of this article is Andrew Batt, the founder and editor of Andrew has been writing about property and real estate issues in Thailand and Southeast Asia for more than 10 years. He has worked for PropertyGuru Group, DDproperty, Dot Property Group, Hipflat and AsiaRents. He has also produced content for leading Thailand property developers and real estate agencies.


  1. Thanks … your make some very valid points. also recently published a survey with a similar sample size of respondents. It does seem anything more than 1,000 is deemed to be acceptable, although you’re correct about the popularity of this particular expatriate-focused web forum.

  2. Presumably, the 1,429 expats surveyed were all readers and/or members of the Thaivisa website. I know many Thai based expats who are not fans of the Thaivisa website and don’t use it, so I would argue it is hard to draw too many conclusions from the relatively small sample size.

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