11 Jul The Pros and Cons of Living in a Gated Community in Thailand
In Thailand, moving into a gated community is a viable and popular option for many foreigners. A ‘moo baan’ here follows more or less the same concept as gated communities in other countries, which means 24-hour security, rows of identical-looking houses and quiet, traffic free roads (until you get outside the gates, that is).
Gated communities located in the suburbs of most major cities in Thailand – even Bangkok – actually offer great value for money and normally don’t have any waiting lists. This is in stark contrast to the more exclusive reputation these kinds of housing developments have back home.
If you are thinking about living in a gated community in Thailand, there are a few pros and cons to weigh up first. Below, Terra International Realty (Thailand) runs you through some of these considerations.
Gated communities in Thailand often don’t actually have large metal gates letting people in and out, but rather a security checkpoint at the entrance. A guard will make sure those who enter are all residents of the community, and it is common for other on-site guards to patrol the area day and night.
It’s this peace of mind that is a major attraction for buyers considering moving to a gated community, especially families with children.
Con: Lack of public transport
If you rely on the BTS or MRT in Bangkok to get to work, living in a gated community might not be such a good idea. These residential developments are typically found in the suburbs of the major cities in Thailand, making getting to work in the morning without a car a bit of a pain.
That said, in recent years, apps like GrabTaxi and Uber have made the task of getting a taxi from inside a moo baan much easier.
Thailand has notoriously bad pedestrian sidewalks – or in some cases, a complete lack of them. As many city-dwellers in Thailand will already know, walking down a public soi can feel like running a gauntlet, with motor cars and motor bikes, hanging cables, street food hawkers, stray dogs and wobbly pavements all making the process of getting from A to B quite a challenge.
In a gated community, there are no such problems. This is simply thanks to proper street planning and good maintenance. This means that residents can walk, exercise and even take their pet dog around without constantly having to be in survival mode.
Con: Potentially extra/higher bills
Unfortunately, the better facilities, on-site security and maintenance that gated communities offer does come at a cost – which residents have to bear. This is usually in the form of higher tax rates and/or an annual residents’ fee.
These costs can differ significantly, so it is always best to make further enquiries with your real estate agent.
Just because you are shut off from the outside world in a gated community, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to order in pizza every night. Most of these developments have a range of shops, including convenience stores, restaurants, cafes, hair salons (which might double up as a massage parlor) and even street food.
You can also expect modern moo baans to have their own private gym, swimming pool, business room and communal areas.
Con: Lack of variety
One benefit of living in a condo or apartment in Thailand is that you’ll normally have a huge variety of things to do, see, eat and drink right on your doorstep.
The same can’t usually be said for gated communities, which are typically quite isolated compared to public buildings. Again, this is not so much of a problem for those with access to a car.
Pro: Property prices
Yes, property prices in Thailand’s gated communities are actually a ‘pro’. Whereas in other parts of the world the thought of living in a private residential area might not be viable due to higher costs, a typical townhouse in a Thai moo baan is very affordable.
Of course, the price range is huge depending on what kind of property you are looking for. According to Terra International Realty (Thailand), a basic two-bed house just outside the capital can be snapped up for just a few million baht, with rental costs as low as THB 10,000 per month. For newer, larger properties in the more desirable areas, prices will more likely be in the 10-20 million range.
In a moo baan, you’re probably going to have more interaction with your neighbors than if you were living elsewhere – which could be a pro or con depending on your preference. Thais are friendly by nature, enthusiastic to offer help or advice and also quite inquisitive, especially if you are a foreigner. This is perhaps not so good for those who prefer to keep to themselves, but definitely an advantage for families wanting to seamlessly integrate into suburban Thai life.