Difference Between a Condo and an Apartment

Every continent across the globe has adopted its own colloquial term, which is evident in most of their market sectors, including real estate. If you are an overseas trader or investor, you will know that local jargon can be confusing, especially in a country like Thailand. Often, people that are new to the Kingdom, or fresh into the real estate business here, do not know the difference between an apartment and a condo or think they are two separate terms for the same property. However, this is not the case and there are a number of simple differences between the two. Having this knowledge is essential if you are looking to invest in Thailand’s real estate market.

Condo/ Condominium

Condos or condominiums are jointly owned properties – these units are each owned by a different developer. Some owners may choose not to live in their condo and rent it out for a few years, then sell it as the property prices increase. They are usually cheaper to rent than apartments, and the owners are not permitted to put a premium on their bills so tenants can pay for them directly, at trade prices.

When buying a condo, developers have to firstly apply for and receive a condo licence, which means that it can be purchased freehold, even if the buyer is not a Thai national. However, be aware that foreigners can only own 49% of all condominium apartments in Thailand whilst Thai nationals own the other 51%. This means that in especially popular areas, where condos sell very quickly to foreign investors, developers will sometimes offer to lease out the Thai quotas as leaseholds.


An apartment in Thailand is a block of units which can be registered in full ownership in the name of a foreign citizen. The building is owned by an individual or company, who then rents out the individual units within for a selected time period. They are usually more expensive to rent than condos per square meter, with utility bills included in the monthly rate and prices varying on location and quality. Be aware that apartments can only be leased out for a maximum of 30 years, with the opportunity to renew it for another 30 years.

Condos and apartments on Koh Phangan

The paradise island of Koh Phangan is the site of many fantastic land opportunities. Buying and leasing in Thailand has been big business, which has attracted thousands of investors over the past 20 years. This industry is still very fresh on Koh Phangan and both land and property has remained remarkably good value in comparison with other destinations in Thailand. Now is a fantastic time to invest as prices are on a steady incline and have enjoyed a 70% increase in just one year. There are currently no condos on the island, instead, villas are a much more popular investment. Due to the low prices for land and unspoilt locations, investors have been drawn here to build their own luxury villas and take advantage of the great market potential of properties on this island.