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Buying a property in Chiang Mai: a complete guide

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property investment Chiang Mai

Yes, the analysis of Chiang Mai's property market is included in our pack

Thinking about purchasing a property in Chiang Mai? You're not alone!

Many people find Chiang Mai's cultural heritage alluring and fantasize about owning a traditional Thai house or a modern city condo there.

Still, would it be a smart investment? Are property prices increasing in Chiang Mai? What is the price per sqm? Should I buy property in the Old City or Nimman? Are there any secret taxes? Which places offer rental yields exceeding 7%?

We've solved it for you.

The BambooRoutes team has extensively researched this market. As a matter of fact, we have condensed all our findings in a pack. Get it now.

In the lines below, we'll share useful information and some practical tips.

How's the property market in Chiang Mai?

What's happening with the property market? Some say it's going up, others say it's going down. Our approach is distinct—we rely on fresh data and stats to reach the correct conclusions.

Types of properties

In Chiang Mai, there are various types of properties available for sale, catering to different preferences and needs.

These include apartments and condos, which are popular among individuals seeking convenient urban living; traditional houses and townhouses, offering a charming local experience; modern villas, providing luxurious and spacious accommodations; and land plots, allowing for customized construction.

Whether you're interested in contemporary city living, embracing local culture, or creating your dream home, Chiang Mai offers a diverse range of property options for potential buyers.

Buying or renting?

(If you plan to use it yourself and not as a rental)

If Chiang Mai, the cultural hub of Northern Thailand, is where you plan to settle, you may be considering the advantages and disadvantages of buying versus renting a property.

Obviously, it's better to buy if you're looking for a long-term investment that will increase in value over time and provide you with a steady source of income.

To make a good decision, consider the property price-to-rent ratio. This helps you understand the connection between rental income and the property's current price in terms of years.

According to Numbeo, the property price-to-rent ratio in Chiang Mai is around 22.13, which is around the world average.

To put it simply, it will take you an average of 22 years of rental payments to buy a property in Chiang Mai.

Property prices in Chiang Mai

On average, according to the last data from Bank Of Thailand, purchasing a property in Chiang Mai should cost you around $1,820 per square meter.

Obviously, there is a huge spread. The value of a square meter for a studio next to the CDMX airport won't be as high as a square meter for a beautiful Lana Thai Villa in the Old City. We actually offer a more in-depth analysis in our pack for buying property in Chiang Mai and in Thailand.

To give you a better idea, it means that, instead of buying an apartment in Paris or London, you can afford 7 properties in Chiang Mai.

Also, housing prices in Chiang Mai are 68% cheaper than in Bangkok.

The most expensive neighbourhoods in Chiang Mai are probably Nimmanhaemin and Chang Phueak, while the cheapest neighbourhoods are likely to be farther out from the city center.

Chiang Mai Property Price per Square Meter


First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that Thailand is, today, a relatively stable country. The last Fragile State Index that has been reported for this place is 70.

Don't overlook this while weighing the pros and cons of buying a property in Chiang Mai.

Besides that, if we look at the IMF's GDP forecasts, Thailand's economy is expected to soar by 15.1% in the coming 5 years, resulting in an average GDP growth rate of 3%.

If you intend to invest in real estate in Chiang Mai it's a good thing because a positive growth rate (usually) leads to higher incomes for citizens, enabling them to invest in real estate, which boosts demand and prices for properties.

Also, in Thailand, the average GDP per capita has dropped by 0.9% over the last 5 years. It's an alarming number.

Looking for more updated data? We've done a big-picture study to find out if it's a good idea to purchase property in Thailand right now.

Buying property in Chiang Mai

Buying real estate in Chiang Mai can be difficult due to the lack of reliable and up-to-date information available. That's why we have created the pack to buy property in Chiang Mai and in Thailand.

Buying process

In our pack, we've explained the entire process of buying properties in a detailed way. We've pointed out the mistakes to steer clear of, shared tips for finding properties that give you the best returns, and provided information about taxes and necessary documents.

Now, we're giving you a simplified version of the buying process.

This is the step-by-step process to purchase a property in Chiang Mai:

  1. Research property market and legalities in Chiang Mai, considering foreign ownership restrictions.
  2. Engage a reputable local real estate agent familiar with the Chiang Mai market.
  3. Identify suitable properties, considering location, amenities, and regulations.
  4. Verify property ownership and documents like the Chanote (Title Deed) for land.
  5. Negotiate the price and terms, considering transfer fees and taxes.
  6. Hire a lawyer well-versed in Thai property law to review the contract.
  7. Sign a preliminary agreement (Reservation Agreement) and pay a deposit.
  8. Conduct due diligence, ensuring no liens, encumbrances, or zoning issues.
  9. Transfer funds to a Thai bank account for the purchase.
  10. Finalize the purchase contract (Sale and Purchase Agreement) and make the payment.
  11. Register the property at the Chiang Mai Land Office, ensuring proper documentation.
  12. Obtain ownership documents, like the Land Title Deed (Nor Sor 4 Jor), and take possession of the property.

Also, if you're not from the country, you might want to check our article on how to buy property as a foreigner in Thailand.

Make a profitable investment in Chiang Mai

Better information leads to better decisions. Save time and money. Download our guide.

buying property in Chiang Mai

Where to find a property

Start your property search in Chiang Mai by exploring these websites.

  • A place in the sun - A Place in the Sun is a leading overseas property portal with more than 100,000 properties available from around the world, including Thailand.
  • Savills - Your go-to source for expert buying, renting, and letting services, catering to your specific property needs.
  • DDproperty - One of the leading Thailand Property websites, offering a wide range of properties for sale and rent with detailed information, maps, and photos.
  • Dotproperty - Dot Property is your ultimate destination for finding and purchasing a wide range of properties for sale in Thailand.
  • FazWaz - One of the leading real estate marketplaces to buy, rent, and sell property in Thailand.

Also, know that we have included contacts of real estate agencies, property lawyers, moving companies, expats communities and more in our pack for buying property in Thailand.

What you can get

As mentioned before, the average price per sqm in Chiang Mai is $1,820. A one-bedroom property with 60 square meters would be priced at around $109,000, and a two-bedroom with 85 square meters would cost about $155,000.

However, property prices can vary because of their qualities and where they're located.

Property prices in the top areas of Chiang Mai are commonly at a premium. A house in Nimman might cost around $340,000, and a house in Chang Phuak could be about $320,000.

Nevertheless, there are spots that are more accommodating to your wallet. You may find an apartment in Chang Moi for $60,000, or an apartment in Chang Phueak priced only at $50,000.

Find a more detailed breakdown in our full pack for buying property in Thailand.

Common mistakes

Here are the main pitfalls when buying a property in Chiang Mai, Thailand:

  • Foreign Ownership Restrictions: Be aware of the 30-year leasehold limit for foreigners on land ownership.
  • Nominee Structures: Avoid using Thai nominees to circumvent ownership restrictions, as it's illegal and risky.
  • Land Encroachment: Ensure the property boundaries are accurately surveyed to prevent encroachment issues.
  • Development Permits: Verify if the property has valid permits to avoid legal complications.
  • Land Zoning Laws: Comply with zoning regulations to prevent issues with property usage.
  • Due Diligence: Thoroughly investigate the property's history, ownership, and debts to avoid surprises.
  • Traditional House Design: Familiarize yourself with traditional Thai house features, which might differ from your preferences.
  • Strata Management: For condominiums, review the management rules and fees to ensure a smooth living experience.

We don't want this to happen to you, so we have included a full checklist for your property investment in our pack of documents. Avoid these mistakes and save a lot of money.

real estate Thailand

Everything you need to know is included in our Thailand Property Pack

Living in Chiang Mai

Living in Chiang Mai is an amazing experience, offering a unique combination of modern amenities, stunning natural beauty, and a vibrant cultural atmosphere - making it an ideal location for buying property.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Chiang Mai is generally quite affordable, with a wide range of accommodation and dining options available at reasonable prices. Groceries, utilities, and transportation are also generally quite affordable, making it a great destination for budget travelers.

Here are some examples to better understand the cost of living in Chiang Mai:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $300-$500 per month.
  • Monthly utilities (electricity, water, internet): $50-$100 for a standard 85m² apartment.
  • A meal at a local street food stall: $1-$3 per dish.
  • Songthaew (shared taxi) fare: $0.50-$1 per ride.
  • Groceries for a week (milk, bread, vegetables): $20-$30.
  • Local beer (0.6L) at a bar: $2-$3.
  • Fitness club membership: $20-$50 per month.
  • Cinema ticket: $4-$7.


We want to show information in a way that is easy to understand and read. That is why we made a summary table that shows the different areas in Chiang Mai. For yields, prices and rents, check our property pack.

Neighborhood Description Strengths Weaknesses

Neighborhood 1

A vibrant area with a mix of shops, cafes, and parks, attracting a young and lively community.

Excellent amenities, diverse entertainment options, and a strong sense of community.

High noise levels, limited parking spaces.

Neighborhood 2

A serene and residential neighborhood surrounded by green spaces and close to schools and hospitals.

Peaceful environment, easy access to essential services, and family-friendly atmosphere.

Lack of public transportation, limited dining and entertainment choices.

Neighborhood 3

An up-and-coming area with newly established businesses and a growing art scene.

Affordable housing options, cultural diversity, and creative energy.

Safety concerns in certain parts, ongoing construction and potential traffic issues.

Neighborhood N

Description of Neighborhood N.

Strengths of Neighborhood N.

Weaknesses of Neighborhood N.

Life in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is one of Thailand's most important economic centers, with a thriving manufacturing sector, a strong tourism industry, and a growing number of tech startups. It has a diverse and vibrant economy, with a large agricultural sector, a strong service industry, and a growing number of foreign investors.

What expats usually like the most in Chiang Mai is its pleasant climate and the low cost of living. They also appreciate the vibrant food scene, the abundance of outdoor activities, and the friendly locals.

An important point to note is that Chiang Mai is an extremely safe city - the crime index is around 24, which is a very impressive score. Chiang Mai's culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism, which promotes peace and respect for others, leading to a low crime rate.

A good point for a property investor - Chiang Mai has a public bus system called the Chiang Mai Public Transport (CMTP).

Finally, access to healthcare in Chiang Mai is good, with a Healthcare Index of 84. A robust healthcare system always reflects positively on real estate.

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Renting out in Chiang Mai

This section is for you if your goal is to buy a property and rent it out to generate income.


Tenant Profiles in Chiang Mai

According to the data reported by Wikipedia, the home ownership rate in Thailand is 80%, which is rather high.

It is probably a bit less in Chiang Mai though.

If you decide to buy and rent out to long-term tenants, you should target professionals, students, retirees, and digital nomads in Chiang Mai. Short-term rental tenants are typically tourists or business travelers.

Here is a little summary table we've made for you.

Property type and area Profiles of potential tenants What they are looking for Expected monthly rent in $

Condo in Nimmanhaemin

Expats, young professionals

Urban living, trendy area

$300 - $800

House in Hang Dong

Families, retirees

Suburban comfort, quiet surroundings

$400 - $1,200

Studio in Old City

Students, digital nomads

Cultural experience, budget-friendly

$200 - $500

Villa in Mae Rim

Families, nature enthusiasts

Rural living, green surroundings

$500 - $1,500

2-Bedroom Apartment in Santitham

Young professionals, couples

Convenience, local vibe

$300 - $700

High-rise Condo in Chang Klan

Urban dwellers, tourists

Nightlife, city access

$400 - $1,000

1-Bedroom Apartment in San Sai

Singles, young professionals

Quiet area, affordability

$200 - $500

Rental yields

Nowadays, rental yields in Chiang Mai are usually below 5%. It's not much. A good rental yield is usually around 7% or higher. Maybe, you knew it already.

In Chiang Mai, properties located in central areas with easy access to public transportation and close to popular retail and entertainment centers tend to offer the best rental yields because of the high demand from expats and students. Additionally, properties located in residential areas with good schools and community amenities are also likely to offer good rental yields due to the more stable nature of the tenant base.

For further explanation and a more detailed breakdown, you can check the reports and analyses we have made.


You could also decide to rent short-term to digital nomads, expats, and students studying abroad in Chiang Mai. Tourists and business travelers are other potential tenants for short-term rental in Chiang Mai.

If you decide to go with that option, look for properties in Chang Phueak and Night Bazaar areas as they are popular tourist spots with a high demand for short-term rentals. Additionally, the Nimmanhaemin and Old City areas offer a variety of rental options as well.

Currently, there are approximately 7,000 active Airbnb listings in Chiang Mai, reflecting a highly dynamic and bustling short-term rental market. The average daily rate is at $46.

You have the opportunity to generate a nice additional income stream then. Based on feedback from online testimonials and data analytics platforms such as AirDNA, Guesty, and Inside Airbnb, people who offer short-term rentals in Chiang Mai can make around $500 per month. Also, the average occupancy rate is estimated at 68%.

Is it worth buying real estate in Chiang Mai then?

Buying property in Chiang Mai can be a smart move if you're looking for a long-term investment in a place with potential for appreciation and decent rental income. The cost per square meter is significantly lower than major cities like Paris or London, making it an attractive option for property investors. Chiang Mai's relative economic stability and expected GDP growth can also bode well for property values. Plus, the low crime rate and peaceful living environment add to its appeal.

If you're planning to settle in Chiang Mai, buying property can be a cost-effective choice, given the affordable cost of living and the option to generate rental income. However, it's crucial to choose the right location and tenant demographics to maximize rental yields, as they typically fall below 5%.

On the flip side, if you're not planning for a long-term stay or don't intend to use the property yourself, the responsibilities and costs associated with property ownership in Chiang Mai may not be justified. Speculative investments without thorough research and understanding of local regulations can also be risky.

Moreover, lack of local knowledge, such as not understanding foreign ownership restrictions or attempting to use Thai nominees, can lead to legal and financial troubles.

In summary, buying property in Chiang Mai can be a solid investment, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. It depends on your goals, understanding of the market, and willingness to navigate the complexities of foreign property ownership.

Make sure you understand the real estate market in Chiang Mai

Don't rush into buying the wrong property in Thailand. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.

real estate market Chiang Mai

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement or advice. While we strive for accuracy, we do not guarantee the completeness or reliability of the information, including text, images, links, or other elements in this material. Following the content and analyses presented here does not assure specific outcomes. For guidance tailored to your individual circumstances, it is recommended to consult with a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor.