To Buy/Own Land in Antarctica – The Possibility and Imposibility

The question as to whether it is possible to buy/own land in Antarctic is a yes and no question. It is a no based on the present circumstances and a yes on the basis of current events taking place on the fifth largest continent on earth. A short history is appropriate to make the yes and no answers clear.

From the onset, Antarctic does not have any known native population. It is widely believed that it was initially part of a large mass of land known as Gondwana covering the South Pole. The present Antarctic eventually split from both Australasia and South America long before evolution of mankind, which only occurred about 5 million years ago. Antarctic has remained de-linked from the rest of the world for over the last 30 million years.

Antarctic lies in the Antarctic region on the southernmost end of the earth. Its geographical region covers South Pole and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. A big chunk of its mass (98%) is covered by ice measuring about 1.2 km in thickness. It is the coldest, windiest and driest of all continents. This makes it the most extreme geographical region of the earth.

Technological advancements realized over the years have made it possible for humans to set foot in Antarctic. It is currently home to about 1,500 and 5,000 people during winter and summer respectively. However, these people do not call Antarctic home. They are mostly researchers and tourists. Indeed, there are over 60 scientific research bases on the continent of which about 37 are always occupied at any given time.

Several countries including UK, New Zealand, France, Norway, Australia, Chile and Argentina have laid claims to specific regions of Antarctic. Indeed, the research stations in Antarctic are set up and manned by scientist from these countries. However, territorial claims have remained suspended since 1959. Even so, a negotiated Antarctic Treaty System was put in place in 1983 for regulation of mining activities on the continent. Signed by 12 countries including US, Argentina, Australia, Chile and the then Soviet Union (now Russia), the treaty preserves Antarctic as a scientific research location.

Is it possible to buy/own land in Antarctic? No because there is no authority to regulate such a transaction. It is also no because the Antarctic Treaty System in place forbids any form of settlement other than for the purpose of research. It is also a yes because there are settlements in Antarctic even though they are for scientific purpose. The fact that there are school systems, medical facilities and an Orthodox church in Antarctic gives the impression that it will be possible in the future to buy/own land in Antarctic. There is no doubt that the existing suspension on territorial claims that has been in place since 1959 will eventually be uplifted to pave way for general settlement in Antarctic, at least in the different territories claimed so far. It is just a matter of time.

Reasons for the Rising Cost of Land in Thailand

The property market in Thailand continues to witness increasing rent rates in relation to both commercial and residential buildings. Although this is partly attributed to the premium designs, services and specifications that property developers introduce, the main driving factor is the ever increasing cost of land that continues to be recorded in both cities and upcountry areas.

Indeed, latest findings released by the Department of Treasury that carries assesses value of land after every four years shows that the cost of land in and around Bangkok City has risen by at least 17% from THB 715,500 per square wah (1SW = 4 square meters) to THB 850,000 (US$27,000) per square wah. The actual market price is most likely to be higher considering that Department of Treasury often undervalues cost of land.

This ever increasing cost of land is not limited to cities. The cost of land in Chiang Mai and upcountry areas has also risen by between 17% and 21% over the last four years. Interestingly, other areas of Bangkok have dethroned China Town as the most expensive location to buy land. Another interesting development is the fact that land in Songkhla Hat Yai District, a district that is very insecure, is the most expensive outside the capital.

Several factors continue to make cost of land expensive in Thailand of which location is the main factor. Commercial plots are generally priced higher than residential plots. Similarly, plots near amenities are sold at higher prices compared to those in far-flung areas.

Scarcity of desired plots is the other main reason for the ever increasing cost of land in Thailand. It can be very difficult to find plot on sale in and around Bangkok and the price of any on sale is always very expensive.

The new land and building taxation measures introduced will no doubt push price of land upwards. This is significant considering that both household and municipal tax rates have remained low for many years.

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