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Phuket Property Watch: So near, and yet so far

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Property Watch: So near, and yet so far | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: As I write this, I can imagine the strange look of astonishment on my editor’s face as this column arrives – one which is actually about property. Perhaps a virtual high five will be forthcoming. More likely a collective sigh of relief, which can be heard high above the din of rush hour traffic on Thepkassatri Road.

Worse yet would come sweaty palms, a fast heart beat and the inevitable rubbing of hand paddles that reminds you of those medical dramas. Shouts of “clear” just as one of Phuket’s electricity disruptions kicks in. The stress of island living can be deadly given the current state of urbanization.

Slowly but surely, we’re seeing property developers, and buyers, pushing the boundaries of Phuket proper and going over the fence.

Memories of the late, great Steve McQueen flick on in the mind’s eye with scenes from The Great Escape.

A few years ago, Gene McCain, who was one of the original development partners in the luxury Cape Yamu development, decided that he wanted to get back to basics. What was born is the Jindaran Beach Club and Resort on Coconut Island. For those of you not familiar with the location, the proper name of the island is Koh Maphrao, located just a few minutes offshore, on the east coast near Laem Hin.

What has become a three-phase development is located on a 14 rai site facing west and southwards to Phuket.

A total of 42 rustic cottages, which are suitable as holiday homes or residences, have been placed throughout the project, with sales reaching over 75 per cent.

Conceptually, the idea was to offer buyers options on sizes and add-ons, such as extra space and private pools, if they desired. So, a bit of a ‘buy what you need’ and if you didn’t need it, you saved money.

Again simplicity was at the core, with added on components clearly priced at the onset, not unlike ordering a sandwich at Subway.

Standard unit pricing for a basic model is under 2 million baht. Property management fees have been geared to be affordable, starting at 7,000 baht a month.

Owners have the option to live in their home, otherwise Gene provides a full service, resort-style program of facilities, which includes a restaurant and pool.

One of the challenges of Maphrao Island is the lack of an electricity connection to the mainland. Hence, the contained footprint of the cottages is able to use green technology, such as solar power for hot water. There is also a generator situated at the resort.

Transport back and forth is a fairly easy affair with a regular service boat transporting home owners and guests to the popular Laem Hin Pier.

Elsewhere on the island, Chris Gordon’s ‘The Village at Coconut Island’ has been a strong pioneering development, which has continued to evolve and grow.

Meanwhile, the owner of the upscale Burasari resort in Patong has a prime oceanfront plot on the north east tip, which they plan on developing into a luxury pool villa resort.

The conundrum of the lack of electricity infrastructure to an island that sits less than three kilometers from Phuket’s Provincial Hall continues to baffle many. For all of the economic prosperity of its neighbor, the government has continued to cast a blind eye to the East.

Once Jindarin is complete, Gene intends to move there full time, electing to raise his family in island bliss while his children commute to Phuket daily to attend school.

‘So near and yet so far away’ is the best adage that applies to this laid back lifestyle.

Another popular island real estate personality, Red Graham, has been enlisted to assist on property sales for the project.

If the island traffic starts to get to your head one of these days, a trip over to Coconut Island might be just what the doctor ordered.

If you see a hammock under a tree, you might just find Gene McCain.

Property Brief: Sansiri Launching Mai Khao Condo Project
Phuket’s condominium property sector is continuing to gain momentum with news that Thai listed development firm Sansiri will launch a 206 unit project in Mai Khao this March.

Named Baan Mai Khao, the medium rise project, which sits on a 13.2 rai site, is situated between the Renaissance and Holiday Inn resorts.

While Sansiri has traditionally focused on inland properties, this marks the first time in Phuket they will target a large scale foreign market. The oceanfront site will command an average price of 120,000 baht per square meter.

Composed of nine buildings, these are configured into 3 storey and 5 storey blocks. Unit types kick off with one bedroom units at 60 square meters, and include two bedroom, duplex, 3 bedroom and penthouse units.

Unlike some of their previous Phuket offerings, these units have been upsized with a two bedroom unit ranging from 100 to 120 square meters.

Pricing points go from 7.3 million baht up to 35 mn baht.

According to market sources, Sansiri has a purchase option on additional land next to the site for future expansion.

Bill Barnett is Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks and can be contacted through C9hotelworks.com.

— Bill Barnett

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Property

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

The Thaiger

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

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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Bangkok

Silom Road tops as the most expensive area to buy land in Bangkok

Caitlin Ashworth

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Silom Road tops as the most expensive area to buy land in Bangkok | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Paul Szewczyk

Silom Road, Bangkok’s nightlife district, is the most expensive area to buy land in Bangkok, followed by Phloen Chit Road, according to data the Treasury Department gathered from 2016-2019. The pandemic may have fluctuated the prices, but no data on land value for 2020 has been reported by the department. They also say only asking prices were recorded, so it’s unclear how much the price decreased by during negotiations.

On Silom Road, land prices per square wa are up to 1 million baht while land on Phloen Chit Road have been reported to cost up to 900,000 per square wa. A square wa is about 4 square metres. Land on Rajadamri Road ranges from 750,000 baht to 900,000 baht per square wa. The cheapest areas to buy land in Bangkok are farmlands in the Bangkhuntian district. Land prices range from 500 baht to 10,000 baht per square wa.

Properties on Silom Road are also the most expensive in Bangkok. The price for a 170 square wa 4 storey office on the road costs around 155 million baht, according to the data. The highest asking price was 7 billion baht for a 37 storey office building on Sathorn Road.

Here are the top 10 most expensive areas to buy land in Bangkok:

1. Silom Road at 700,000 baht to 1 million per square wa

2. Phloen Chit Road at 900,000 baht per square wa

3. Rajadamri Road at 750,000 baht to 900,000 baht per square wa

4. Rama I Road at 400,000 baht to 900,000 baht per square wa

5. Wireless Road at 500,000 baht to 750,000 baht per square wa

6. Sathorn Road at 450,000 baht to 750,000 baht per square wa

7. Yaowarat Road at 700,000 baht per square wa

8. Thaniya Road, Pattanapong Road, Pattanapong II Road at 600,000 per square wa

9. Narathiwas Rajanakarin Road at 280,000 baht to 600,000 baht per square wa

10. Ratchawong Road, Sampeng Road at 550,000 baht per square wa

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Thai condo developers clearing inventory rather than starting new projects

The Thaiger

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Thai condo developers clearing inventory rather than starting new projects | The Thaiger

“With waves of uncertainty and financial stress crashing into the market from the COVID-19 pandemic, most residential property developers have decided to postpone their plans.”

CBRE, the international property consultants, 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.”

Since June, CBRE Research says new condominium projects, along new extensions and future routes of mass transit lines, with starting prices under 2 million baht, and those along existing mass transit lines are usually priced lower than 3 million baht.

“On the other hand, there has been no newly launched condominium in the high-end and above segments this year due to the high level of unsold supply and high land cost in prime locations. Investors have become more cautious in spending a large amount of cash during these uncertain times.”

“Some of the newly launched condominiums have had a good sales rate during their first launch. Most of these projects have been launched with a product and pricing that are mainly targeting large demand from buyers with lower-purchasing power and are located in an attractive location with limited available condominium supply in the area.”

But despite the slowdown of general activity and the current sales and promotions to dispose of excess stock, over 60,000 condos are expected to be completed this year and around 80,000 units each year over the next 2 years.

“With over 140,000 condo waiting to be transferred over the next 2 years, there is a possibility that a large number of booked units could return to such a volatile market as some cash-strapped buyers could decide not to transfer their units.”

“The future of the condominium market depends on the direction that residential developers will take collectively. With the 10 year record low number of newly launched condominium projects, this is the moment for the market to correct its long-standing oversupply and overpricing issues.”

CBRE Research believes that there are still opportunities for developers, including the 4 under-construction mass transit lines that are expected to be completed in 2022, the new Bangkok City Planning that will unlock many new locations for condo development and foreign demand that will come back… eventually.

To find the best range of condos, houses and villas, around Thailand, click HERE.

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