A townhouse is a good alternative to a detached house when looking for a vacation or retirement home if you are on a limited budget. You can get more for your money, provided you don't need a large garden.
The rules for purchasing a townhouse in Thailand are similar to those for a detached house. A foreigner can own the townhouse itself, but must get a 30 year lease on the land it sits on. Many foreigners who are married to a Thai national put the land in their spouse's name and then have the spouse lease the land to them. In this way, in the event of a divorce, the foreigner still have property rights for 30 years.
We strongly recommend that you hire a good lawyer to sort out all the details when purchasing a townhouse. There are several English speaking lawyers to choose from in the Cha-am and Hua Hin area. A lawyer will make sure all the contracts protect your rights and can also assist in other matters.
You will find that there is a greater variety of townhouses available in Cha-am than in Hua Hin, and prices in Cha-am are more affordable. Most townhouses are not in a development and as a result do not have maintenance or community fees. There is property tax, but it is usually a few thousand baht per year.