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Phuket’s new Environmental Rules hit island development

Bill Barnett

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Phuket’s new Environmental Rules hit island development | The Thaiger
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By Bill Barnett of c9hotelworks.com

A new set of guidelines that quietly come into law late last year are set to alter the state of real estate and hotel development in Phuket.

The revised regulations were issued by Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and apply to Phuket Province.

Perhaps the most significant amendment is that buildings are no longer allowed on slopes of 35% incline and above, wherein in the past the threshold was 50%.

For slopes of 25-35% incline, rules now require 70% green area, limit cut and fill to one metre and requires that large boulders and trees (exceeding 500mm in girth) not be removed. This zone also limits building footprints to 90 square meters and for elevations below 40 meters restricts height to 40 meters and above 40 meters to six meters high.

Speaking to Phuket-based design and planning experts Original Vision (Thailand) the up side for the amended guidelines waves the IEE process for small hotel and property developments of 29 units/keys or less. Hence only a construction permit is required, but GFA cannot exceed 1,500 square metres.

An IEE (Initial Environmental Examination) is still required for property or hotel projects of 30 units/keys or those that fall within a development GFA of 1,500 to 4,000 square metres.

The more complex EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) process is still required when exceeding 80 units or keys and an area above, 4,000 square metres in GFA.

Phuket’s new Environmental Rules hit island development | News by The Thaiger

What is important to understand is that the new regulations also must be referenced to the Phuket City Plan and Provincial set-back rules. Locations continue to have an overlay, and there are area specific regulations in Phuket City, some areas in Patong and nuances between the West and East coast.

It is clear that the new regulations are a more determined focus by the Thai government on slope control and green areas which looks to create a more challenging regime for property and hotels developers in land parcels that have significant terrain.

For any prospective developers out there, we strongly suggest obtaining a professional opinion on the revised regulations and how they may affect any prospective plans that have not been submitted for approvals.

As to who are the winners and losers for development? Hillside condominium projects certainly will become more difficult as will cliff hugging hotels. While smaller boutique projects now have an advantage of no IEE processes. End of the day, Phuket is a winner with greater focus on badly needed environmental protection.

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Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements and is continually gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

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Property

The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok

The Thaiger

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The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | The Thaiger

Bangkok is never short on luxury condominiums, and one new project keeps overtaking the others, in terms of price and amenities. Here are the 10 most expensive condominium units in Bangkok for sale, in 2020. The most expensive condominium on the list is priced at 650 million baht (20 million US$). Which one is for you?

No.1 98 Wireless – up to 650 million baht (20 million US$)

This condominium is Sansiri’s flagship project on Wireless Road, a prestigious tree-lined boulevard in the luxurious residential-diplomatic district, with BTS Ploenchit station and the American embassy, nearby. The condominium sits on a rare freehold that is very hard to acquire. The most expensive unit you can buy right now is the duplex penthouse at 650 million baht (948 sq m). 

  • Type of ownership: freehold 
  • Price per sq m: 685,654 baht

The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The ThaigerThe top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger
No.2 Supalai Icon Sathorn – up to 280 million baht (8.85 million US$)

This Supalai condominium on Sathorn Road was developed after the company auctioned the land at a staggering price, from the Australian embassy, which moved to Wireless Road. The project sits in Sathorn, Bangkok’s CBD, halfway between MRT Lumphini and BTS Chong Nonsi stations. The most expensive unit available is the large 5-bedroom duplex (970 sq m) at 289.031 million baht. 

  • Type of ownership: freehold
  • Price per sq m: 289,031 baht

The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger
No. 3 The Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok – up to 213.3 million baht(6.73 million US$)

This riverside hotel-managed condominium claims the third place with its 360 sq m penthouse, overlooking the Chao Phraya river. This super luxury condo is developed by The ICONSIAM Superlux Residences and managed by Mandarin Oriental. 

It is located on the west side of the river banks, next to ICONSIAM luxury shopping center with BTS Gold Line built (arguably) especially for them. The condominium comes with stunning river views that attract ultra-luxury neighbours like Millennium Hilton hotel and The Peninsula Bangkok.

  • Type of ownership: freehold
  • Price per sq m: 561,316 baht

The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The ThaigerThe top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger

No. 4 Four Seasons Private Residences – up to 178 million baht (5.63 million US$)

This prestigious address is another hotel-managed riverfront residence. The condominium is developed by Country Group Development and located on the east side of the river, a more prime area than the west. The most expensive units available are the 5-bedroom, 499 sq m unit at 178 million. Two units are for sale, now. The condominium sits on the King’s private land, so you can only buy them leasehold.

  • Type of ownership: leasehold
  • Price per sq m: 356,713 baht

The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The ThaigerThe top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger

No. 5 The Monument Thong Lor – up to 152 million baht (4.8 million US$)

This luxury project by Sansiri focuses on providing generous spaces and a feel of living in a spacious villa. 2.4 kilometers from BTS Thong Lor, this condominium is best for people who prefer private cars over public mass transit. The most expensive unit for sale now, is the 509 sq m penthouse at 152 million baht. 1 unit is available. The most expensive unit, however, is the 662 sq m duplex penthouse, which has been sold. This condominium also welcomes small dogs. 

  • Type of ownership: freehold
  • Price per sq m: 300,000 baht

The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The ThaigerThe top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger

No. 6 Banyan Tree Residences Riverside Bangkok – up to 150 million baht (4.74 million US$)

This branded residence is a luxury freehold condominium overlooking the Chao Phraya river bend. The condominium is managed by the global hotel chain Banyan Tree, which founded its first resort Banyan Tree Phuket in Bang Tao Bay, Phuket. The most expensive unit for sale is the 4-bedroom duplex at 150 million baht (420 sq m). 

  • Type of ownership: freehold
  • Price per sq m: 357,270 baht

The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The ThaigerThe top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger

No. 7 Saladaeng One – up to 144.5 million baht (4.57 million US$)

This luxury condominium is developed by SC Asset, a property firm in which the exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra and his family own a controlling stake. It is conveniently located opposite the lush Lumpini Park with easy access to Bangkok’s financial district. The most expensive unit available is the 413 sq m penthouse priced at 144.5 million baht.

  • Type of ownership: freehold
  • Price per sq m: 350,000 baht

The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The ThaigerThe top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger
No. 8 TELA Thonglor – up to 140 million baht (4.42 million US$)

This ultimate-class condominium is developed by Gaysorn Property, who also owns luxury shopping mall, Gaysorn Plaza. This condominium is located in the vibrant Thong Lor district (Soi 13), 1.2 kilometers from BTS Thong Lor. The most expensive unit available now is the 425 sq m 4-bedroom duplex. 

  • Type of ownership: freehold
  • Price per sq m: 329,257 baht 

The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger
No. 9 Khun By Yoo – up to 139 million baht (4.39 million US$)

This condominium is developed by Sansiri in collaboration with YOO studio and the iconic designer Philip Starck, who also curated furniture pieces to create an unconventional character for this residence. This stylish condominium sits opposite of TELA Thonglor, and its most expensive unit available now is the 294 sq m penthouse at 139 million baht.

  • Type of ownership: freehold
  • Price per sq m: 472,789 baht

The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The ThaigerThe top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger
No. 10 Marque Sukhumvit – up to 135 million baht (4.27 million US$)

Marque Sukhumvit is developed by Major Development and is one of the tallest buildings on Sukhumvit road. The condominium is ideally located, just 50 meters from BTS Phrom Phong, and a few minutes from luxury shopping centers such as The EmQuartier and The Emporium. The most expensive unit for sale now, is the 400 sq m penthouse.

  • Type of ownership: freehold
  • Price per sq m: 337,500 baht

The top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The ThaigerThe top 10 most expensive condominiums in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger

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Property

Condo developers allow transfer delays for Chinese buyers, due to slowing sales

The Thaiger

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Condo developers allow transfer delays for Chinese buyers, due to slowing sales | The Thaiger

Thai property developers are sharpening their pencils on sales and allowing variations to contracts on some deals to accommodate some of the challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak. Now some developers in Thailand have started to extend the transfer period from 3 months to 9-12 months for Chinese clients, according to Angel Real Estate Consultancy.

Chinese buyers have paid 30% down payment for off-plan projects a few years ago, but are unable to complete the transfer process due to problems related to coronavirus.

Co-founder and president Simon Lee told Thai media Thansettakij that this move by developers aims to avoid seizing the booked units and down payments amid slowing sales.

Developers have seen sales slow down since 2019 due to the strong Baht, stricter mortgage regulations (loan-to-value ratio), the US-China trade war, and oversupply. Angel estimates that the country is saturated with at least 200,000 unsold condominium units, which will take about 2 years to clear out. For Bangkok, The Thaiger reported yesterday that there are 100,000 vacant completed condominiums in and around the city, as estimated by Sapon Pornchokchai. However, other estimates the number to be about 60,000 units.

But the brokerage firm also expects increased housing sales from overseas after the outbreak. Buyers from China may want a second home in either Thailand or Japan, which do not close their borders to the Chinese, Lee said.

He said they may be interested in purchasing houses, including single detached homes, detached homes, and townhomes, with a 30 year lease agreement. Foreigners cannot purchase landed property freehold in Thailand. They can however lease the land for renewable, 30 year terms.

Popular areas are Bang Na, Salaya, and Krungthep Kreetha in Bangkok, as well as Chiang Mai and Pattaya. For condominiums, projects close to the MRT in Rama 9 and the BTS along Sukhumvit are most popular.
Despite the positive speculation, Thailand expects to see 50% of Chinese condo transfers to disappear in the first 2 quarters of 2020.

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Property

Bangkok has a surplus of 100,000 new condos as Chinese buyers stay home

The Thaiger

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Bangkok has a surplus of 100,000 new condos as Chinese buyers stay home | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Bright, shiny, brand new, and empty

Bangkok’s condominium market is facing its biggest challenge in decades with one of its key feeder markets sitting it out at home. The capital’s soaring condo market, once a favourite for Chinese investors, looks towards a bleak year with Chinese investors having other things to worry about, or simply unable to travel to Thailand, due to coronavirus fears.

Bloomberg economists predict that foreigners could account for as little as 10% of purchases this year. That’s down from 20% two years ago. The Agency for Real Estate Affairs estimates. Chinese buyers used to provide the largest proportion of overseas interest but are now limited in their travel options and the economic havoc inside their own country.

Sopon Pornchokchai, the president of Agency for Real Estate Affairs, says there is 100,000 vacant completed condominiums in and around Bangkok.

“The demand from foreigners may disappear in the first half following the outbreak. We’ll need to rely on local buyers, but that won’t be easy.”

“Thailand’s 55 member Property Development Index has tumbled about 19% in the past 12 months, worse than the 9% slide in the overall Thai stock market.”

Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand is loosening the purse strings and mortgage-lending rules in a hope of encouraging domestic purchases. But local developers say that, even before the coronavirus outbreak, foreign interest was flagging as the “outlook for an economy reliant on trade and tourism deteriorated amid currency strength in 2019 and the US-China trade war”.

FazWaz.com CEO Brennan Campbell says that, with Chinese buyers staying home for now, there are some great opportunities for buyers to get creative with developers and come up with options, in the buyers favour.

“Many developers are wanting to move stock and it’s clearly a great time to push them into sharpening their pencils and throw in extras to get you into a new condominium. There’s never been a better selection of brand new condos and Bangkok continues to grow as a regional business capital.”

Many developers are also rolling out new strategies as some newly-built projects have sold less than 50% of available brand new units. In one case a developer is offering enticing direct rentals as a way for tenants to get into a shiny new condo apartment at a lower-than-usual price.

LPN condominiums that offer this strategy include Lumpini Township Rangsit-Klong 1 (2,700 units), Lumpini Place Rama 3 Riverine (100 units), and Lumpini Park Phahon 32 (100 units), or the total of 2,900 units worth 2 billion baht.

Another Bangkok developer, Supalai, has also unveiled Supalai Smart Solution, which offers a 30 year lease as an alternative to buying freehold, with the price 35-40% lower than purchasing the units. Buyers can pay 20-40 installments to Supalai with 0% interest within the period of 60 months.

But developers Land & Houses don’t plan to open any new condo projects this year. And another developer, Singha Estate, is “very cautious” about buying land for residential offerings because of concerns about an oversupply of property in certain locations.

The real estate sector slowdown is among the many challenges ahead for Thailand’s economy in 2020. GDP growth may slow to as little as 1.5% this year, a six-year low, according to a government agency last week.

Developers are expected to only bring an additional 6,000 newly completed condos to the Bangkok market between January and the end of March 2020. That’s down 40% from a year earlier, according to Phattarachai Taweewong, associate director of Colliers International Group’s Thai unit.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

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