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Weakness seen in Bangkok luxe condo market. Analysts forecast 10-20% price fall in H109 as foreign buyer pool dries up

December 9th, 2008 · No Comments


THE luxury condominium market will dive next year as the global economic downturn continues to dry up the much-needed pool of cash-rich foreign investors, local property analysts said.

They predict that luxury condominium prices would drop by 10-20 per cent in the first half of 2009. Current high prices will stifle local demand, as the domestic political turmoil undermines investor sentiment, they said.

Despite Bangkok’s luxury condominiums being relatively cheap – at around 100,000-150,000 baht (S$4,300-6,500) per square metre (psm), 8-12 times less than a similar property in Singapore or Hong Kong, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Research – demand has dropped off, analysts said.

‘Luxury condos depend on foreign buyers. With the global downturn, there are no buyers left,’ said Thaninee Satirareungchai, property analyst, KGI Securities (Thailand).

‘The price of the physical property should be corrected down by at least 15-20 per cent next year.’

UOB Kay Hian (Thailand) expects sector prices to drop by 10-15 per cent to stimulate demand from Thai buyers, who tend to opt for luxury single-detached houses rather than condominiums.

Thai law prevents foreigners from buying land, but they are allowed to purchase up to 49 per cent of the saleable space in a condominium, hence the sector’s dependence on overseas investors.

A fall will provide investment opportunities for bargain hunters, said Veena Naidu, head of research, UOB Kay Hian (Thailand).

‘I think the prices will bottom out before Q2 next year,’ she said. ‘Projects that were launched 18-24 months ago are being completed and coming onto the market now, so investors still have time to survey the market.’

CB Richard Ellis (Thailand), a leading realtor, said that predictions of an across-the-board sector drop were inaccurate, and that it had seen no evidence of falling prices in existing luxury properties.

It said that current resale values at projects such as the TCC Capital Land Athenee Residence remained at 125,000- 150,000 baht psm.

Projects being sold off-plan will be affected by the decreasing pool of foreign investors and are likely to lower their prices, said James Pitchon, executive director, CB Richard Ellis (Thailand).

‘Some luxury projects increased their notional prices after units at the Sukhothai Residences sold at an average of more than 200,000 baht psm. But a number of those developers were not able to sell at the recalibrated prices.

‘We expect a return to the pre-Sukhothai prices, where developers that upwardly adjusted their prices revert to what they were six months ago.’

The biggest factors in Bangkok’s surging luxury property prices were rising land and commodity costs, he said. While the price of crude has dropped, said Mr Pitchon, the value of Bangkok’s CBD land was not contracting, adding that plunging commodity prices were unlikely to affect the sector in the next two years.

‘Commodity prices have fallen, so in theory new construction costs will also fall. There will be very few, if any, new projects launched in the next 24 months, so we are not going to have competing products with the new lower construction costs.’

Published December 9, 2008
© The Business Times

Tags: business · news · Thailand · The Business Times (Singapore)

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