Can a foreigner ‘own’ properties in Thailand?

Yes, a foreigner can own properties in Thailand. The Condominium Act (No. 3) B.E. 2542 (A.D. 1999) provides “freehold” registration of apartments or condos directly into foreign nationals.
Any registered condominium development is allowed to allocate 49% of the total sellable area into foreign ownership. A foreign registered condo can always be sold and registered into another foreigner’s name. At the transfer of ownership the buyer must always be able to show his “Foreign Exchange Transaction Form”. Land and house cannot be registered directly into foreign ownership; only in Thai juristic persons.
Foreigners are allowed to form a Thai registered company and become shareholder (maximum 49%) of this company together with 7 Thai nominees (holding a minimum of 51% shares). Having formed a Thai registered company whereby your interests are protected by e.g. directorship holding binding signatory rights and, preferably, preferential shares (against ordinary shares); this company then could register any assets into the company. Assets held by the company automatically belong to the rightful shareholder/owner of this company. In this way, thousands and thousands of foreigners ‘own’ land and houses into their ‘own name’.
For more detailed information and registration of companies we would like to refer you to professional law firms able to guide you through this process. It is really quite easy and affordable to form a company and maintain it. Selling your assets could simply be established by transferring the shares of the company to another person. Not having to transfer the assets of the company through the Land Office department saves a considerable amount of transfer taxes at the same time.