The rules on buying property vary country by country. Some are more difficult than others.
A few give preferences to locals, some apply a premium ceiling to preferred expat areas.
Our continuing concern is for countries such as Bali where foreigners’ owning freehold land is illegal. And, by illegal I mean it is written in the Indonesian constitution. For years there have been workarounds, the ‘nominee’ system. We don’t like any system where your own name isn’t on the title.
Buying ‘leasehold’ property is a different matter. It is usually hassle free but Western expats putting out their dollars for a house or condo (where ownership reverts to the local owner in 50 years) can see their investment losing value long before their ownership term expires making selling difficult.
The exception to these restrictions is Malaysia and to a lessor degree Thailand. To us this all makes a great case for renting. Due to Asian interest in banking their money in property there is a great variety of offshore-owned properties in every market. Since a big ROI from rent isn’t primary, rents (especially long term rentals of a year or more) can be VERY inexpensive. Renting is a good place to start your 50% reduction in cost of living. And, we suggest always rent for some period of time before you buy.