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A drop in demand leaves Bangkok with a glut of completed new condos

The Thaiger

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A drop in demand leaves Bangkok with a glut of completed new condos | The Thaiger

A parliament of owls? A murder of crows? A flock of geese?

But what’s the collective noun for a lot of available new condo developments in Bangkok?

A glut of Condos?

As Thailand’s economy is hit by the double whammy of fallout from US-China trade wars and lingering political instability, stricter mortgage-lending rules are also kicking in creating a buyer’s market in the capital.

Some basic statistics… 65,000 new apartments became available last year. That’s 11% more than 2017 and the most since 2009. But a Knight Frank reports indicates that demand is down and asking prices have decreased 6% year-on-year. Rental prices have also softened as recent investors remain keen to find tenants.

Aliwassa Pathnadabutr, a managing director of CBRE Group in Thailand, says that it’s a great time to get into the BKK market with prices down a bit and the selection better than ever.

“The overall condominium market will be slower this year but there are still opportunities in some locations with the right product at the right price. We believe the market is entering an equilibrium stage where prices will be adjusted to a more realistic level.”

Revised mortgage-lending rules that came into effect from April 1 are also dampening enthusiasm for property because lenders will now restrict the amount of money some buyers can borrow.

Meanwhile Brennan Campbell from FazWaz.com says the biggest developers are wanting to cash in their stock so they move on to the next projects.

“Some of the country’s largest developers are holding a huge inventory of completed or soon-to-be completed stock where they have seen demand soften through the first two quarters of 2019. The motivation to sell these units is growing as this capital is required to fund future projects. The result? A supply of incredible units in some of the best areas of Bangkok where buyers can be more creative in their negotiation strategies in order to secure the best overall value.”

Part of the softening in sales may also be linked to a drop in Chinese visitors to the capital. Whilst not a huge drop it is measurable considering that Chinese investors have historically been the principal foreign property buyers in Thailand. The lack of Chinese visitors is mostly a domestic problem with China’s economy softening as the US-China trade war bites.

CBRE reported recently that Thailand’s real estate market had a high reliance on foreigners.

“Most of the recent foreign buyers are investors and CBRE doubts they will live in the units they have bought. Foreign sales are highly sensitive to economic conditions of the buyer’s home country.”

Sopon Pornchokchai, president of the Agency for Real Estate Affairs, reports that a total of 454,814 residential units across the country were unsold in 2018.



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Bangkok

Two Chinese and two Thais arrested over huge ‘ice’ haul

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Two Chinese and two Thais arrested over huge ‘ice’ haul | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation

Authorities have intercepted a container carrying a tonne 11,000 kilograms) of crystal methamphetamine (ice) with a street value estimated around 2 billion baht, before it could leave the country.

Police also announced the arrest of suspects involved in the drug haul as Chinese nationals 24 year old Huang Guoxion and 44 year old Zhou Qingchu, along with Thais 57 year old Suban Manachanon and 62 year old Joi sae Fong.

The two Thais and Huang were arrested at a container yard in Chon Buri’s Sri Racha district on Saturday, while Zhou was tracked down to his condo in Bangkok’s Huai Kwang district.

The container was found stuffed with 612 boxes, 34 of which were filled with the drug disguised to look like tea bags, while the remaining boxes carried shoes.

The four suspects have been charged with having traffickable quantities of narcotics in their possession with intent to sell and have been handed over to the Narcotics Suppression Division for legal action.

This crackdown is part of the authorities’ efforts to tackle drug problems. At present, most prisons in the country house inmates held on drugrelated charges.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market

The Thaiger

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Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market | The Thaiger

Chinese condo buyers are veering their purchase power away from the Bangkok property market citing the strong Thai currency, overpricing and a supply glut.

  • 2015 – 5.8 Yuan to the Thai Baht
  • 2019 – 4.4 Yuan to the Thai Baht

Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market | News by The Thaiger

The rise of the baht and the weakening of the Chinese Yuan over the past four years, have culminated in a 25% softening in Chinese investment power in the Thai property market (chart from xe.com)

Property consultants say that Chinese buyers are now containing their investment risk by buying into the lower-end 2-6 million baht condo market instead of the 5-10 million baht condos they were previously purchasing.

At the same time the annual returns for Bangkok condominiums is reported to have dropped from 6-7% five years ago to only 3-4% in some locations in the current market.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Simon Lee, President of property brokerage Angel Real Estate Consultancy, says overall sales volume of Bangkok condos bought by Chinese buyers will shrink by half in 2019.

He also notes that the current Thai government crackdown on investors renting out condos on daily or weekly leases, has scared a lot of new investment into the sector away  as the ‘law’ appears to be applied in a haphazard manner.

The Chinese investors are also expressing disappointment when they buy into a development at one cost, only to find that locals pick up the balance of the stock at a lower price as the developers clears the stock.

Bangkok’s soaring land prices, which should see the value of condos rise, is being balanced out with the sheer glut of stock available, pushing down values. Rental returns are also being pushed down by the volume of stock available to the rental market.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Here’s another report about signs of weakness emerging in the Bangkok condo market from The Thaiger.

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Bangkok

US Navy veteran locked up in Thai prison, family pleas for help

The Thaiger

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US Navy veteran locked up in Thai prison, family pleas for help | The Thaiger

by Lauren Talarico

A US Navy veteran from Texas remains locked up in a Thai prison for something his family says he didn’t do. Derrick Keller was arrested on August 20, 2018. But his family says the allegations against him are not true and they desperately want him home.

Derrick Keller’s family doesn’t know what to do next after their cries for help from politicians and lawyers have gone unanswered. They fear if something doesn’t happen fast Keller could spend the rest of his life in a Thai prison. 44 year old Derrick Keller is from Richmond, Texas. He is a son, a husband, a father to two kids and a Navy veteran.

“He was always a jokester,” his father said. “Always liked to make people laugh.”

“He’s the best man I’ve ever known,” said his 19 year old son Mark Keller.

But Derrick is 16,000 kilometres away behind bars at the notorious Klong Prem Prison in Bangkok.

“We are still in shock,” said Debra. “We still can’t fathom what’s taking place”

In 2015 Keller and his wife Tanya moved to China with their children. Tanya was offered a job she couldn’t pass up as the lead dance instructor at Shenzhen Dance Academy.

Derrick gave up his trucking company in East Bernard and worked odd jobs in China. He tended bar, coached a baseball team and perused acting, a childhood passion. In 2016 the family says a recruiter reached out to him about a company looking for a “Western face.” It was called Eagle Gates Group.

“The company was represented as completely legit,” his brother-in-law Ryan Murray explained. “Totally legal. It would just be an acting opportunity.”

Over six months, Keller acted in several corporate videos. His family says he was paid $15,000 to do so. After the job was complete, he told family he never heard from the company again, until a vacation to Thailand last August. Keller was arrested after he and his wife landed in Thailand for a vacation.

“They got off the plane and had a lot of Thailand police officers waiting for them,” Murray explained.

Thai media reported his arrest and claimed he was part of a Ponzi scheme which defrauded investors of millions of dollars.

“An American actor staying in Phuket as a tourist has been arrested in connection with a multinational scam operation based in Singapore that has allegedly defrauded Thai investors of 235 million baht.”

“I think at first they thought it was just a misunderstanding,” Murray said. “And it turned out to be something much worse.”

Keller was arrested on August 20, 2018. One day later he called his father to tell him he was being detained.

“That’s the last I’ve heard from him,” his dad said through tears. “That’s the last time I heard his voice. Been bad. Horrible. Absolutely horrible. I mean, like I said, I haven’t heard him. God knows I love my son.”

Watch a Texas TV report about the story HERE.

US Navy veteran locked up in Thai prison, family pleas for help | News by The Thaiger

No family member has seen or talked to Keller since he has been in prison.

“I’m always scared that I’m just going to wake up to the worst information I’ve ever heard,” cried his son, Mark.

“That something beyond horrific about this has happened to my dad like maybe he’s died in incarceration or something. It’s the uncertainty that really kills me.”

“The prison that he’s in is notorious for human rights violations,” Murray explained.

“There’s a lot of bribery. It’s very corrupt. He’s sleeping on concrete, sharing a cell with 50 other people.”

US Navy veteran locked up in Thai prison, family pleas for help | News by The Thaiger

Deputy DSI chief Songsak Raksakskul (left) and DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang brief the media on the arrest of 10 suspects in the alleged Eagle Gates Group investment fraud, at the DSI offices in Bangkok.

Missionaries have related to the family that Derrick’s lost 30 kilos in 10 months. The family says they’ve provided proof that Derrick is innocent and was simply an actor in a corporate video. They claim they’ve reached out to President Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator John Cornyn and a long list of other local politicians but haven’t been offered any help.

“The country called… he answered,” said his father, a Vietnam veteran.

“When the country called… I answered. And now we call and we don’t get an answer.”

Derrick Keller’s trial date is set for July. He’s facing 35 years in prison.

“During questioning, Keelor told officers that he was an actor working in China, and was hired by a Singaporean to be Executive Director of Eagle Gates Group Co Ltd in order to build credibility and reputation for the company. The DSI noted that they would investigate Kellor’s role further.

The DSI also reported that their investigations had discovered more than 1 billion baht in investment had been transferred out of the victim’s bank accounts.” – Bangkok Post

“The court itself, from what we’ve been able to find out from lawyers and our own research, has a 95% conviction rate,” Murray said.

“We’ve been told that if he admits guilt they will be easier on him and that it’s not worth fighting against. Derrick is a man of integrity… I do not see him admitting to a crime he didn’t commit so that has me worried.”

A change.org petition has been started. To help, click HERE.

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