Buying property overseas is one of the biggest investments of many foreigners. Before delving into the developing markets, it is important to conduct thorough research to check the market cycle and the health of the market.
When foreigners decide to buy property overseas, Thailand is inevitably one of the most popular countries. To help you invest in Thailand property, this article will lead you through what to expect in Thailand’s real estate this 2019.
Thailand’s real estate market in 2017 and 2018: A Backtrack
For more than a decade, the real estate market in Thailand has been in a slow but continuing upward trend, mainly due to the increasing number of foreigners visiting and living in Thailand.
In Bangkok alone, approximately 88,000 foreigners applied for work permits in the second quarter of 2018. To put it in some context, in Q1 2015, 78,000 foreigners applied for work permits. That’s an increase of 10,000 expats per quarter or 40,000 a year.
With that said, this number is projected to rise due to a better economic outlook, higher absorption rates, and occupancy rates. However, the market performance between cities varies widely.
For example, Bangkok and Chiang Mai experienced high growth. The number of apartments and serviced apartments in these cities are growing while each city’s occupancy rates and property prices continue in an upward movement as well.
Meanwhile, places like Cha Am, Hua Hin, Khao Yai and Pranburi experienced slower growth and even stagnated.
Bangkok Real Estate Market
Even though demand in Bangkok has decreased over the past few years, we have seen an increase in the number of apartments. You can find the data below to give you a better understanding of the real estate market in Bangkok:
For the past few years, records show that the Bangkok property market is seeing an increase in residential units every year. Due to the high demand for residential units, prices have risen as well. To have a better understanding of Bangkok’s real estate market, take a look at these data:
1. In 2017 and 2018, the number of newly launched apartments increased from 8,000 per quarter to more than 15,000;
2. In 2009, the number of apartments in Bangkok was less than 100,000. By the beginning of 2018, this number reached 550,000 apartments;
3. The average price of apartments has doubled from 2004 to 2018, from approximately 60,000 baht to 120,000 baht per square metre;
4. In 2001, the number of serviced apartments in Bangkok was less than 500. In 2018, there were more than 21,000 serviced apartments, and by the end of 2021, this number will reach 25,000.
5. Serviced apartments are popular among expatriates, with an occupancy rate of 82% in 2018.
According to a report released by Knight Frank in the Bangkok apartment market, the asking prices in the central business district and surrounding areas have fallen slightly, while the prices in the suburbs have risen sharply.
Pattaya Real Estate Market
The real estate market in Pattaya collapsed a few years ago and has not fully recovered.
The number of new apartment units has continued to decline. From 10,000 new units in the second half of 2012, only about 1,000 new units launched in the second half of 2017. However, property prices have risen by 3-5% a year, which is not bad.
One thing is certain — foreigners have a big influence on the real estate market in Thailand, especially in Pattaya.
Some cities, such as Pattaya and Phuket, are more vulnerable to the economic climate of countries such as China and Russia. On the other hand, Hua Hin and Bangkok have attracted buyers from various countries and attracted wealthy Thai investors.
Some newspapers and analysts claim that the Thai market is oversupplied, but there are no major signs that the market will collapse in the near future.
Chiang Mai Real Estate Market
Chiang Mai is following Bangkok’s trend, where both supply and demand are rising.
The number of newly built Chiang Mai property units increased from 15,000 in 2012 to 32,000 in 2018. The price increase was as high as 5% on average in the first five months of 2018 compared to 2017. At the same time, we saw a sharp increase in new residential units.
How will the Thai real estate market behave in 2019?
According to the forecast of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Thai economy is expected to grow in 2019, mainly due to increased tourism and exports.
The number of foreigners applying for a work permit and the number of foreigners wishing to live full-time in Thailand continue to increase. This shows that the real estate market in Thailand will be seeing positive growth in 2019.
However, some experts and analysts expect the market to lose momentum in the next few years.
Prices have been falling year-on-year in the past few years, indicating that the market is slowing. The price increase of land, apartments and serviced apartments has slowed down, while the price of townhouses has become more resilient.
Overall, there is no significant indication that the property bubble will emerge in the near future, as the market has grown slowly over the past few years without sharp increases.
According to the HBA (Housing Business Association) data, Thailand’s real estate market is based on actual demand rather than speculative demand, reducing the risk of the real estate market.
What is driving the Thailand real estate market?
Here are some reasons why the Thailand real estate market will remain stable for some time to come.
1. Compared to other countries in mainland China, Singapore and Hong Kong, Thai property is still affordable. Buyers from these countries still believe that Thailand, especially Bangkok, is an attractive place to buy real estate;
2. Some of the new mega-projects planned will have a positive impact on Thailand, especially in Bangkok. Some examples are the EEC (East Economic Corridor), China’s Belt and Road Initiative, several new subway lines and other major transportation projects. These projects will strengthen infrastructure and drive future growth;
3. The quality of new residential units in Thailand is above average, with well-known brands and international developers working in the Thai real estate market. Foreign partnerships with local developers continue to increase. Several Japanese developers such as Tokyo Tatemono have entered the Thai market in 2018;
4. As foreign buyers continue to increase, the government continues to pursue policies that are conducive to investment. Nearly 25% of buyers in high-end areas of Bangkok are foreigners.
Bangkok’s new real estate project
There are hundreds of new apartment and apartment projects under construction in major cities, many of which are located in Bangkok.
You can find most of these projects along the new Thai BTS and MRT lines. Currently under construction, these projects are to be completed soon.
As mentioned above, Thailand plans to build several large projects to upgrade its infrastructure. This is well known among international developers who have flooded the market to build apartment units close to the new infrastructure.
These areas offer enormous potential for future price increases.
In Bangkok alone, approximately 100,000 apartments are under construction and are scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 2019. There is a great demand for serviced apartments, of which about 60% are located in the upper and lower areas of Sukhumvit.
Thailand’s demographic structure is changing
Thailand faces challenges due to population problems. It ranks third in the world in terms of the fastest shrinking working-age population.
On the other hand, the population of Vietnam will increase from about 95 million to 120 million. Until 2040, 50% of the population is under 30. We have seen similar trends in the Philippines.
So far, due to the increase in the number of foreign investors, the population problem has been denied. Foreigners help the market stay ahead, that’s for sure.
Thailand’s real estate market has remained positive and stable over the past decade. Although there are some warnings that the market may slow down, it is likely to remain unchanged in 2019.
Market performance varies depending on where you buy. Cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai will grow at a reasonable rate. However,this is not the case in other cities, where the market’s growth rate has slowed significantly.
You should also remember that the performance of the market depends on the type and location of the property for sale. Luxury hotels in the heart of Bangkok continue to attract a large number of foreigners.
The low-priced and medium-priced properties in the suburbs mainly meet the needs of Thai buyers. If there be an oversupply, the market may be more unstable.
All in all, as long as we see the continued demand of foreigners, we can expect positive growth, especially for properties located in strategic and central areas.
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