Residential houses present the best value in Thailand, they are generally large, comfortable, modern and well endowed with luxury fittings and nice landscaped gardens. Since material and labour are cheap, its not unrealistic to enjoy living in houses rather condos, even in a big city like Pattaya.
Houses and villas in Pattaya are numerous, and long stay residents opt for these rather than condos, preferring the tourist-free peace and quiet further out of the CBD. There are plenty of houses for sale, old and new, with the current trend being gated communities. These appeal to the Thai middle class in particular and present a nice modern ready-made suburb.
Real estate agents in Pattaya can show you plenty of houses for sale, but driving around the residential suburbs looking for For Sale signs is equally effective and removes the agent fee. You’ll notice that there are an abundance of empty houses in Pattaya, many developed prior to the 97 financial crash, and although it may be a buyers market (the condo boom in the city hasn’t entirely extended to houses), often the owners will hold out for a unrealistic speculative price.
The biggest impediment to foreigners buying houses in Pattaya is the ownership status, and since only Thai citizens may buy land in Thailand, only those with Thai spouses can acquire land. Even then they dont entirely have ownership and have to depend on trust, but others opt for a renewable 30 year lease on the land and build a house. Further still, you can draw up an arrangement where you lease the land and own the house during its tenure. Many foreigners in the past set up companies with bogus Thai partners (to fulfill the mandatory 51 per cent local ownership) in or to buy land, but this loophole has been shut down by the authorities.
This of course retards the market for Pattaya houses and dampens demand, making it even more attractive for those with a means to buy houses through a Thai ownership. Its advisable to enlist a lawyer and conduct due diligence. Many house on the market in Pattaya are owned as investments by Bangkok residents and the integrity in selling a latent defect-free house is lacking.
In general, houses in Pattaya present much better value for money than condos and provide more of the advantages of living in a cheap tropical country. Those opting for the ease and security of a newly developed gated community pay a premium for the status and peace of mind.