High Rise Condo Blocks
Within the centre of Bangkok, these are the most common types of housing for expats. There are many luxury condominiums offering studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments many of which boast stunning views across the city and most come fully furnished. They generally have excellent facilities within the building such as gyms, restaurants, bars and swimming pools. Security in these condos is excellent with 24 hour guards on duty and a sign in required for guests. Condominiums are owned individually. These are ideal for single people, couples and families, offering luxury and Western amenities as well as being in the heart of the city. Most of these are found within the CBD, although there are condo blocks located in the suburbs. They also have the advantage that you pay for utilities directly to the companies which is much cheaper than paying to an apartment. Condominiums can be rented and bought by foreigners. If you decide to rent, you must decide to rent a furnished or unfurnished condo. Many condo’s aimed at expats are already furnished, but not always up to Western standards. The condominiums usually have shops that provide services such as laundry and dry cleaning, room cleaning, internet providers and more. It’s one of the reasons condo’s are by far the most popular option for expats. Condos are usually rented on 12 month or longer contracts, though shorter contracts are possible.
Serviced apartments are more expensive than condos and many feel more like hotels than houses but are common among expats. Rooms are cleaned daily and all sheets and towels are changed as frequently as required. Facilities such as gym, pool and restaurant with room service are also common. They can be found in the centre of the city and are especially popular with business expats who may only be in the city for a few months or need a temporary residence while they search for a more permanent home. The advantage with serviced apartments is the convenience of not having to worry about mundane tasks while you are settling in. In the long run, you may find yourself wanting more personal surroundings.
Apartments can take many shapes and forms, but the difference from condominiums is that all apartments are owned by a single entity. This means that all rooms are usually furnished in the same fashion and you pay utilities to the apartment instead of directly to the company. This has to be factored into the total cost of the apartment as there is usually a significant markup on the utility bill. Apartments are usually, but not always, cheaper than condominiums because the buildings in which they are located are older. Upscale apartment complexes can be just as good as condominiums, but you don’t have the same freedom as with a condominium. For example you are unlikely to be allowed to replace furniture. You also pay a premium on utilities. Most expats will probably find that they get better value for money by opting for a condo instead.
These houses are most usually found within the city centre, where there is not so much land available. They are often three or four stories tall, with no garden and are usually terraced. Within the CBD, most townhouses are over 10 years old, but many have been refurbished offering modern amenities and fully-fitted kitchens. The price of these depends on their location, their age and their furnishings. They are a good idea for families looking for a bit of space within the house and who want to be centrally located. They are not as common as condos or apartments and are usually found down back streets, fronting the street itself, with a few houses in a row. Townhouses in central locations are in high demand and are usually only available through friends and social circle.
It is very common for Thai families to have two or three houses within one gated compound where different generations of the family live. These are commonly seen within the city centre and provide an oasis within the chaos. While they are usually owned by Thais, it is possible to rent either a house within a compound or a compound itself.
Those expats who would rather live in a house than a condo should consider a house within a mooban (gated estate). These estates are usually found in the suburbs and provide a safe, clean and friendly neighbourhood in which to bring up children. The houses are new, modern buildings with Western amenities and often have gardens. The houses come with two, three, four or even five bedrooms and have modern fitted kitchens and bathrooms. The moobans themselves have clubhouses, swimming pools, gyms, green areas, restaurants and 24 hour security. There are many located within close proximity of a number of international schools as well as other amenities such as supermarkets.