Asian Aspirations

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 April, 2008, 12:00am

Thailand and Singapore are prime locations for wealthy home buyers

Wealthy investors are tapping the luxury Asian property market with Thailand and Singapore top of their agenda.

'High-net-worth individuals want to diversify their investments and favour property as a solid investment that can be enjoyed when they have time,' says Vivian Sze Mo-lan, HKR International's assistant general manager. 'They are hoping to benefit from a new cycle of capital appreciation in Asia.'

Demand from foreigners for luxury condominiums in Bangkok has certainly increased in the past three years, according to research from CB Richard Ellis. 'The average percentage of foreign buyers of downtown condominiums as of the fourth quarter, 2007, stood at 32per cent, whereas the percentage of foreign buyers was less than 20per cent on average in the past decade,' the company notes in a report.

Prices of downtown condominiums have risen at an annual average of 10per cent to 12per cent since 2003 on the back of a fall in the new supply of luxury units, the report adds.

The recent sale of HKR International's Sukhothai Residences in Bangkok is testament to the voracious investment appetite of the well-heeled.

Ms Sze says the penthouse, which sold for 343,800 baht (HK$85,019) per square-metre, is 50 per cent above the next highest condominium market price. Typical units are selling at 30 per cent above the market high.

'Increasingly, sophisticated buyers willing to pay the highest market price are expecting much more from their property in terms of software and hardware,' she says, adding that exposure to luxury resort hotels and travel is also heightening investors' requirements.

The developer of the Sukhothai Residences offers a range of extra services in addition to the usual hotel suite and lease management services. There are 18 different unit types for the 196 units with each type providing up to four layout options.

'At an additional cost, buyers can also request show-suite standard interior design packages or get our interior designer to tailor the interior to suit the buyer's style.

'With buyers expecting more we see this as an opportunity to develop a niche market by combining our experience in hospitality and super high-end living,' she says.