Bangkok's appalling traffic jams are the worst in the region as any frequent business traveller will tell you. The gridlock which is now a fact of Bangkok life makes it doubly important that people live close to their places of work, or they face having to commute for hours to get to the office. Until recently, people doing business in the city had few options when looking for accommodation. They could settle in the heart of the city where there was a supply of older condominiums built in the 1980s available at reasonable rents. But unfortunately, many of these developments were badly designed and had no property management. Some such developments suffer 50 per cent vacancy rates due to their unsuitability. Developers are now more experienced, according to estate agents, and the newer apartment blocks are of much higher quality. Many of the new developments have been built on the less crowded Rama III Road area running parallel with the Chao Praya River southeast of the city's congested Silom Road area. This area by the river is touted as the city's newest business district. Already, Thailand's four top banks have announced plans to locate there and a monorail will be constructed to ease traffic congestion in the area. Bangkok estate agents say offices and residential complexes should follow the banks' lead. Not surprisingly, a few developers have jumped the gun in anticipation of these developments and have begun building high quality developments along the river front. Some of the leading luxury residential developments in this new emerging business district are being offered by a joint venture between the Thai conglomerate Sahaviriya and the New Way Group, led by Hong Kong's Eric Lai, a former director with the Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels group. The new company called Sahaviriya City Public Co or SCVT has won awards for its first development called SC City on the banks of the Chao Praya River. When SCVT staff come to Hong Kong later this week they will be showcasing a total of 80 units in the company's two latest projects called SV Garden and SV Royal Park, both of which are luxury condo developments. SCVT said the units would be of considerable interest to Hong Kong businessmen who use Bangkok as a gateway to other Asian destinations such as Vietnam. 'A business person who spends only five days a month in Bangkok should ask himself if he would rather be using the money to pay his hotel bill or as a down-payment on a luxury condo,' said Kelvin Choi, vice president of SCVT. According to company officials, the units would also be of considerable interest to property investors. Mr Lai said 15 years ago the average Bangkok household had about 5.6 members. Today, thanks to people's growing affluence and the emergence of a middle class, that number has fallen to 3.8 persons per household, he said. 'Disposable incomes are going way up,' said Mr Lai. 'Once a person has bought a car, the most important purchase is his own home.' The property exhibition runs from March 22 to March 24 at Pacific Place.