Thailand is the favoured investment destination for Hong Kong and mainland property investors. Holiday properties in Phuket and Pattaya are on the top of the list for Hong Kong investors, with Koh Samui also prominent.
Now, one of the biggest developers in Thailand, Sansiri Public Company, which is listed on the stock exchange in Bangkok, is expanding to market its luxurious properties to foreign investors, especially those in Hong Kong, Singapore and the mainland. Sansiri held a road show in Hong Kong in early June to market holiday homes in Pattaya and Phuket.
Apichart Chutrakul, CEO of Sansiri, says that after success in the provincial markets of Hua Hin, Phuket, Khao Yai and Chiang Mai, it is looking further afield to launch its property projects.
"We are pushing for more foreign sales this year," Apichart says. For the first time, the company has tapped into one of the major tourist destinations in the eastern region of Thailand by unveiling Baan Plai Haad Wongamat Condominium in Pattaya.
The 6,400-square-metre condominium project is on the secluded Wongamat Beach - worth a total of 2.2 billion baht (HK$666.67 million) - and available for presale at Sansiri sales gallery in Pattaya. Sansiri says prices start from 3.59 million baht, and the company believes future demand will raise the growth potential in Pattaya.
Over the past year, the company has enjoyed tremendous success with 14 property projects, worth a total of 9.7 billion baht, developed to meet customer demand in Hua Hin, Phuket, Khao Yai and Chiang Mai.
Apichart says Pattaya's image is changing, adding that its economy is expanding with a number of important infrastructure projects announced. They include the envisaged Asean Economic Community - when it is hoped to establish an economic model loosely based on the European Union, only for Southeast Asian nations, by the end of 2015 - the Thai government's future investment in U-Tapao International Airport and the Bangkok-Pattaya high-speed rail project. These projects are expected to provide a more convenient transport facility, boost the city's investment and business potential, and propel growth in the residential market.
"Sansiri believes Pattaya's holiday condos will remain one of the most popular properties in Thailand for a long time," Apichart says.
"Last year's survey by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) saw Pattaya voted one of the kingdom's three most popular destinations, having welcomed 8.2 million tourist arrivals in a year."
Another holiday home housing project marketed by Sansiri to overseas investors is Baan Mai Khao, a brand-new premium-class beachfront condominium project in Phuket valued at more than 2.8 billion baht.
Baan Mai Khao is on the Mai Khao beachfront, an elite neighbourhood amid many five-star beach resorts. Prices for condos and beach villas in this project range from 7 million baht to 53 million baht.
"Phuket is Asia's number one holiday home market and one of the world's most desirable destinations where the tourism industry enjoys healthy, steady growth," says Uthai Uthaisangsuk, senior executive vice-president, business development and project development division at Sansiri. "To meet the ever-increasing demand for high-quality residential properties in Phuket, we have launched the Baan Mai Khao project."
The project shares the same prime neighbourhood as many of Phuket's five-star beach resorts and hotels popular with Thai and international tourists. These include the JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa, Anantara Phuket Resort and Spa, Sala Phuket and Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa. The project is only 15 minutes from Phuket International Airport.
"Baan Mai Khao is Sansiri's first premium-class Phuket beachfront condominium project, and here, we have created a relaxed ambience where you will feel invigorated," Uthai says. "Baan Mai Khao offers a range of layouts and sizes which are ideal for residential or investment. We are proud of this project and are confident that it will appeal to investors, foreign and Thai."
Baan Mai Khao's amenities include a 70-metre-long swimming pool between the condominium buildings and the beach, and a Sunken Daybed zone which offers relaxation surrounded by greenery.
The entire project comprises six, three-storey condominium buildings and three, five-storey buildings - a total of 206 residential units ranging from 59.50 square metres to 263.50 square metres.
Apichart says the Thai property market is priced reasonably when compared to competitors such as Bali and Kota Kinabalu.
"We see 20 per cent upside in prices year-on-year," Apichart says. Sansiri also manages property for overseas investors and helps in renting them. "We are into property management too, and have been providing all management related services for over 30 years," he says.
Apichart says foreigners are allowed to buy condos and beach properties, and do not have to pay property tax, but they do pay a business tax of 3.3 per cent.
A one-bedroom unit of about 40 square metres in Baan Plai Haad, beachfront condominium project in northern Pattaya's Wongamat beach.
What you can buy for 7 million baht
A one-bedroom unit of about 59.5 square metres in the pristine Baan Mai Khao project on the Mai Khao beachfront in Phuket. The neighbourhood has many five-star beach resorts.