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THE BANGKOK INVESTOR'S VIEW         

 

Thailand is not only a touristic paradise, its economy is strong and diversified.

The country is considered by the World Bank as one of the best development success stories.

We're telling you why.                                  

   

   

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> ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT

> BANGKOK CONDOMINIUM RENTAL MARKET

> BANGKOK CONDOMINIUM SALE MARKET     

 

 

ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT 

  • Thailand is a strong and diversified economy: large primary and secondary sector, fast-developing third sector notably thanks to a strong tourism activity 
  • Slower growth (no double-digit performances) and lower inflation than most emerging countries in Asia 
  • Remarkable resilience to crises, both internal (political unrest, coups, floods, etc.) and external (global financial and economic crisis, economic slowdown of main Asian partners, etc.) 
  • Geographically at the heart of the upcoming AEC (Asian Economic Community), the most promising free-trade area in the world 
  • 3rd most promising emerging market in the world (2013 issue) well ahead of Malaysia and Indonesia (according to Bloomberg Markets)
  • 19th most competitive macro-economic environment in the world in 2014-2015 (according to the World Economic Forum) 
  • 2,000 billion THB (i.e. 60 billion USD) infrastructure development plan in progress (roads, rail tracks, water management, Bangkok public transportation, etc.) 
  • Thailand is expected enter the group of high-income countries in 2026 (according to the World Bank) 
  • Japanese industrial companies have made of Thailand their first production base in Asia outside Japan (car industry, electronic components, integrated circuits, etc.) and increased dramatically their direct investments in the country since 2013 despite the recent natural (floods) and political (unrest, coup) events 

       

                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BANGKOK CONDOMINIUM RENTAL MARKET

A/ Facts & figures 

  • Foreigners usually rent condominium units or apartments (see Condominium Vs. Apartment) 
  • Apartments units are generally:
    • Older
    • Bigger (more bedrooms and livable space)
    • Cheaper
    • More family oriented (large facility area with swimming-pool, fitness, kid’s playground, sometimes dog’s park, etc.)

… than condominium units 

  • Foreigners account for
    • > 80% of tenants in condominiums
    • ≈ 100% of tenants in apartment buildings 
  • Apartments are specifically designed for expat families
  • Most expats live in the central areas of Bangkok (Sukhumvit for >50% of them, Sathorn-Silom and Central Lumphini)

  
 

B/ Imbalance between demand and supply of quality apartments

The demand is rising steadily despite the political uncertainty… 

  • Multinational companies are increasing their presence in Thailand either by relocating regional headquarters (ex: Nissan in 2013) or investing massively in the country to increase their production capacities (ex: General Electric, Ford, Volkswagen in 2014-2016) 
  • The number of expats with work permits recorded a new high in 2014 after a steady increase since 2009 (lowest of the decade following 2008’s financial crisis)

 

 

  

 

While the new supply has been subdued since 2011 

  • Due to the boom in land prices developers have focused more on condominium (for quick sales and profits rather than long term yields) and commercial spaces (shopping malls) 
  • Renovations of old apartment are more often seen than before 2011 but the process takes time

 

=> Consequently 

  • Occupancy rate has steadily risen since 2012
  • Rental prices have gone up in 2014-2015 (negotiations are much harder for tenants)
  • High-quality apartment buildings in prime areas were mostly full as of Q3 2015

 

 

Source CBRE

 

C/ Outlook 

  • We expect rental prices to keep on rising in condominiums and apartments in Central Bangkok 
  • Rental will increase most for:
    • Large units (2 bedrooms or more)
    • Family-friendly buildings
    • Units located near mass transit stations (BTS, MRT, Airport link, etc)
    • High-quality standards (design, finishing, services, etc.)

  

 

BANGKOK CONDOMINIUM SALE MARKET

 A/ Facts & figures 

  • The condominium market accounts for 95% of all property transactions in Central Bangkok 
  • Thais account for 80% of condominium owners in Central Bangkok 
  • Thais are mostly focused on new condominiums (off-plan buyers)

Vs. Foreigners are proportionally more attracted to the resale market 

  • Bangkok is a very heterogeneous market, characterised by the gap between “old” and new condominiums, even in the same area 
    • The average price of new condominium units was 200,000 THB / sqm in Q3 2015 (27% YoY) in Central Bangkok (source DTZ) 
    • The average price of resale condominium units in Central Bangkok was 101,700 THB / sqm in Q3 2015 (+14,3% YoY) (source DTZ) 
  • Since the market recovered in 2009-2010, the trend has been more favorable for recent high-end condominiums than for mid-range and low-end residences (source CBRE):
    • 7-12% per year for resale prices of luxury and grade-A condominium units (generally new or very recent)
    • 3-5% per year for resale prices of grade-B and grade-C (generally older)
  • For knowlegeable investors,  well-maintained and well-managed older buildings offer attractive opportunities thanks to their very low price Vs. new developments - even in the most demanded areas

CONCLUSION: There isn't one condominium market for Bangkok, each condominium has its own market. A good investor will take time to analyse the past performance of the targeted condominiums and favor those that are in highest demand  

 

  • Sales prices of grade-A and luxury condos (new + resale) are significantly lower in Bangkok than in other large Asian cities (Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, etc.). The latest reliable figures at our disposal (see table below, source CBRE) are from 2013 only. Since then prices of grade-A and luxury condos have increased significantly in all the cities quoted. As for Bangkok, based on our estimations ror the luxury and super-luxury market only:
    • Prices of new luxury and super-luxury condos are now comprised between 350,000 and 400,000 THB in Bangkok
    • Prices of resale luxury and super-luxury condos are between 250,000 and 400,000
    • Sukhothai Residences (Sathorn road) was the first freehold super-luxury project launched in Bangkok. It was developed by HKR International Limited, a famous hong-Kongese developer specialised in luxury hotels, was announced in 2008 and completed in 2011
  • Among the luxury and super-luxury already completed or under development, not all are "freehold".
    • Freehold Vs leasehold in Central Lumphini-Ploenchit-Rajdamree area:
      • Saint Regis, Nimit, Magnolia, Hansar, Oriental Residences, etc. are leaseholds
      • 185 Rajdamri is the only freehold super luxury project in the area, which explains its average price above 400k THB / sq.m.
    • Freehold Vs leasehold in Sukhumvit and Sathorn area:
      • Maha Nakhon, Tela, Marque, Diplomat are freeholds
    • Freehold Vs leasehold in Riverside area:
      • Four Seasons and Magnolia are leaseholds
      • Mandarin Oriental Residences is freehold 

 

  • Decreasing supply of large units in in ratio of new completed projects (70% of all new units since 2008 are studios or 1 bedroom units)
  • Given the boom in land prices, most condominium developers in Central Bangkok now focus on high-end and luxury projects with smaller units

 

B/ Outlook 

  • Condominium sales prices in Central Bangkok are expected to rise sharply given:
    • The relative inexpensiveness of the market Vs. big Asian capitals
    • The dynamism of the demand (local and foreign)
    • The limited potential supply (shortage of land available in prime areas; drop in new developments planned after 2015)
  • Rental yields and sales prices will increase most in:
    • Central areas with quick access to public transportation
    • Well-built and well-maintained condominiums (investors should avoid poorly maintained residences)
    • Renovated units at foreign standards 
  • Mid-size and large units of 2 to 4 bedrooms should be favored - Thai developers have focused on studios, 1-bed and very small 2-bed units since 2008 but expats need larger units
  • Luxury condominiums seem to have a bright future, given the intense demand from foreign investors (mostly from neighboring countries) and the limited existing and future supply
    • only 11 luxury projects – 3,100 units – completed as of Q3 2013
      • most new luxury projects (Four Seasons, Mandarin, Magnolia, etc.) are by the River
      • prices of luxury condominiums are still very low for Asia                                                                                                                                                                                          
 

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