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Thailand’s property market waits for an end to Covid-19

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The Coronavirus outbreak poses challenges for Thailand’s property market as potential Chinese condominium buyers remain stranded in China. Meanwhile, some believe that the outbreak may bring opportunities for non-Chinese buyers and in the long-run, the Chinese may be looking for an overseas refuge in the event of these types of emergencies popping up again

Through all this, there will be a certain level of pent up demand for Thai real estate.

Of course, it’s not just the Chinese unable to come and inspect potential buys, the rest of the world is also mostly shut out of Thailand.

Market remains weak

The pandemic is hurting the condominium market as Chinese nationals were accounting for half of the international buyers in Thailand, or 57.6% of the total foreign condo owners in 2018.

Vichai Viratkapan, acting director-general of the Real Estate Information Centre says that 50% of Chinese condo transfers are expected to disappear in the first 2 quarters of this year and the total transfer value by the Chinese will miss the mark of the usual 29 billion baht by about 25% (around 7 billion).

However, since Chinese property buyers only make up 6% of the total international and domestic housing transfers in Thailand, the proportion of total housing transfers in the country is likely to be similar to last year.

Developers looking to sell current stock whilst shelving new projects

CBRE reports that most Thai developers are postponing the launch of new condo projects to focus on clearing existing stock.

“Discounting completed projects to generate quick revenue as a financial lifeboat is the best solution for many of the country’s larger developers whilst the market is in limbo.”

Rathawat Kuvijitrsuwan, head of CBRE Research and Consulting in Thailand believes that, now business is gradually recovering, a few developers have started to launch new condominium projects.

“In the first half of 2020, the Bangkok condominium landscape was gloomy with fewer than 10,000 condominium units launched, which was much lower than the total number of new launches in the past three years of more than 60,000 condominium units per year.”

The Chinese are reluctant to complete transfers

The virus has continued to affect hospitality operators, including hotels and condominiums that service tourists, nationwide. Since China has suspended tours, put restrictions on movement, and locked down cities, home to over millions of people, it also poses a threat to real estate developers as their clients are unable or unwilling to fly.

“Currently multiple off-plan condominium developments are approaching completion, and Chinese clients are unable or unwilling to transfer. Chinese clients who made a reservation in Q4 2019 are requesting a refund and withholding their investment,” said Marciano Bijmohun, Business Development Director at FazWaz Property Group.

He believes every condominium that is in transfer status will see the percentage of non-transfer units rise in the coming months.

“These non-transfer units will cause a big financial hit to developers.”

If a client refuses to transfer, does not comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in the sales and purchase agreement, and decides to release the property, their deposits will be forfeited.

“However, there is some good news, these non-transferred units can be offered with a discount to new clients.”

Also, as China has been susceptible to a few disease outbreaks – from bird flu to the current coronavirus – it may prompt Chinese buyers to look for second homes outside of China.

 

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Preesy Chepuce

    Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 2:08 am

    Overpriced property bubble.

  2. Avatar

    Dirty farang

    Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    I believe more than 50% of units in all condos are empty, so “clearing existing stock” can take a long time.

  3. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    That will also impact the gdp… the 50.000 ‘not started’ condos in BKK this year mean less salaries, concrete, support services, etc.
    Most big real estate developers are probably in the debt moratorium… (for hundreds of billion of THB), if foreigners are not allowed to come back… just imagine the impact on the banks! Lastly, Thais will not replace the foreigners so quickly since their own jobs are now insecured while their purchasing power is very different for most.

  4. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    “…Chinese clients who made a reservation in Q4 2019 are requesting a refund and withholding their investment,” said Marciano Bijmohun, Business Development Director at FazWaz Property Group.”

    Interesting to know on what grounds they think they could justify a refund – but, as the article points out, good news for both other buyers and the seller since the seller can afford to give a discount without losing anything.

    • Avatar

      Mike Frenchie

      Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 3:37 pm

      Anyone having bought a condo in Thailand knows that the contract does not foresee a reimbursement! At the transfer stage, they have usually paid 50% already (nobody can afford to loose that).

      The problem, in Pattaya at least, is that most developers have stopped building after the start of the project… allowing the buyers to stop paying, not to mention the very large number of developers unable to get the chanote (title deed) because of money problems.

      Two years ago it was bad, now it is surreal.

      • Avatar

        Kevin

        Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 9:06 pm

        When would be a good time to buy in pattaya or Jo tien mike

  5. Avatar

    murika

    Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    this condo market is all about money laundering and pyramid schemes, most people pay in cash, and thai government never ask where the money come from, a friend of mine work for one of those condo company, they have 63 empty towers all over thailand, and they give keep giving 10 % a years to the investors even now, the bubble is about to explode, most people who invest in the last years will lose much more than what they get, but most of them are laundering money from gambling/prostitution/corruption/drugs , so they don’t really care if they lose it…

  6. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, October 19, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Interesting murika. I believe it. The Thais are genius at inventing fraud.
    The property market will not recover for years IMHO.
    And the reason is loss of confidence.
    When a person buys a can of Singha, it is a good reliable product – he expects it.
    If he buys Singhas and they are sour. He stops buying, and switches to other brands.
    The same with property. If the property is maintained, protected, and can be sold. The buyer might buy more.
    However if suddenly he cannot access the property due to expensive and slow restrictions, the buyer will not buy more, and other buyers will not want to buy his property.
    That is the situation at present. It might change next year, but it will not make much difference because buyers have lost confidence in Thailand. What is Thailand going to do next?
    Stop foreigners buying property? It could happen. Goa did this in 2008. New Zealand has done this in 2017.
    Thailand has lost credibility, and will be a risky place to buy or lease property for some time to come.

  7. Avatar

    SG666

    Monday, October 19, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    I personally would never ever buy property in Thailand simply because the low quality and poor infrastructure not justifies the high end pricing…there are other ways for moneylaundering though.

  8. Avatar

    Frank Hilton

    Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    And what about the glut of 100,000 unsold units reported earlier in the year?

    CBRE Thailand are notorious for painting a glossy picture of the Bangkok property market no matter what the market conditions on the ground. They also find room for optimism on land and buildings prices increases. The reality is that many condos are impossible to sell for anywhere near the original purchase price in the secondary market. Many people get stuck with units and have to rent them out because they cannot sell.

  9. Avatar

    Jeff Lyer

    Sunday, October 25, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    I bought a 127 units in Bangkok and Pattaya and they have been excellent investments. Now is a great time to buy then sell when things get better in a few years. Most of you commenting have zero dogs in the chase and no cash on hand. I strongly recommend Cambodia also.

    • Avatar

      Andy

      Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 9:18 am

      Have to agree with this.

  10. Avatar

    Marc

    Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    Thailand Property market will not recover even if the Covid is gone (with a Vaccine) in 2021. There are far too many empty ones all over the country and the Thai Government’s strange behaviour towards to foreigners is being monitored every single day. The Thai government tries to cherry pick when they are not in position to do so. It will recover for a short while when the Covid is gone but in the long term the property market situation will remain the same or worse. most owners borrowed money from the bank and it is now time to pay back but they do not have funds to pay back so they are forced to reduce the price to sell them with 20% to 30% discount price in some cases 50% to 60%. It is not a good time to buy it now I would wait until Thai currency goes to the basement. it is only a matter of time. So I would advise you to wait until 2022 or 2023 when the bubble has gone burst.

    • Avatar

      J West

      Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 10:49 pm

      We’ve all heard that old Thai expression ,”Easy to buy, Hard to sell”.Truer now than ever. Tourist numbers added froth, but now that normal conditions apply, death, divorce, transfer, bankruptcy, market forces can cause prices to contract abruptly for a variety of reasons.

      New condo sales will like contract by orders of magnitude as commercial loans are strictly tied to contract repayment stipulations. Banks are likely to recover losses by forcing down prices to liquidate . This happens around the world, Thai developers aren’t immune to international market forces as most Thai banks have significant foreign ownership.

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