INVESTMENT

Long-term resilience seen in Thai property market

Outlook for sector remains positive as domestic demand outweighs exposure to foreign capital

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2015, 11:45pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2015, 11:45pm

Foreign investment in Thailand's property market took a hit from the Bangkok bomb blast in August, but the sector is resilient and the long-term outlook is positive, analysts and developers say.

"The tragic blast at the Erawan [Shrine] has hurt the overall market sentiment a bit. We were quite worried in the week afterwards," said James Pitchon, executive director of consultancy CBRE Thailand. "But the overall state of the economy is a far more important issue driving the performance of the property market rather than a single tragic event."

Koh Keng-shing, the chief executive of Hong Kong-based Landscope Christie's International Real Estate, said one of his Thai clients, developer Ananda, postponed its project sale campaign in Hong Kong to late September. But none of Koh's clients aiming to purchase Thai properties had backed off from deals in late August because of the bombing, he said.

The Thai real estate market is more domestically driven than exposed to foreign capital. International buyers are concentrated in its luxury property sector, where prices are usually over US$300,000. In central Bangkok, approximately 20 per cent of high-end condo buyers are foreign, Pitchon said, among which Hongkongers and Singaporeans are top consumers. So far, Thai developers and joint ventures have been successful in generating hefty sales in Hong Kong.

The Bangkok blast also took a toll on Thailand's tourist arrivals, which may hit its hotel sector and resort related developments. But a recent report from Daiwa Capital Markets shows that it may only take three months for the country's tourism to rebound after the blast.

"The market is very resilient. It dips down for a quarter or six months, and it comes back up," said Jonathan Umali, director of asset management at Arch Capital. Umali is planning to launch phase one of his mixed-use luxury development MontAzure in Kamala, Phuket, in Hong Kong later this year. It includes 13 hillside villas and 75 beachfront condos that cost between HK$1.7 million and HK$19.9 million.

For tourism-driven resort properties such as Umali's, being far from Bangkok gives it some insulation from urban upheaval. In the past, these types of properties have been popular among foreign expatriates, but since the global financial crisis in 2009, the demand had slowed down slightly, analysts said.