Hong Kong's Golden Emperor opens first retail shop focusing on Thai property

Higher rental yields spark growing interest in buying overseas properties among Hongkongers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 June, 2015, 10:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 June, 2015, 10:35pm

An increase in interest among Hongkongers in buying overseas properties has prompted an agent primarily focused on Thai properties to open a branch in the city.

"We used to sell properties via exhibitions, but we noticed that the buying interest in overseas properties from the public was on the rise," said Terence Chan Cheuk-ming, a partner at Golden Emperor. "These people do not prefer to go to property exhibitions, they enjoy visiting street shops and talking to agents, so we decided to open our first retail outlet."

The company was formed last year by Chan, who had been helping friends and investors to invest in overseas properties for five to six years, and Kingston Li, a former executive director at Morgan Stanley Hong Kong.

The new shop, in Sheung Wan, offers properties in more than 30 projects, with 60 per cent from Thailand, thanks to a partnership with Sansiri, one of the largest real estate developers in the Southeast Asian country.

The Thai developer will help manage clients' properties and act as a leasing agent.

Chan said the growing buying interest offshore was mainly triggered by higher rental yields.

In Bangkok, net yield is about 5 per cent to 7 per cent, against 2 per cent to 3 per cent in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong buyers were looking for Bangkok properties ranging from HK$1 million to HK$2 million for investment, Chan said, adding that the Sheung Wan shop catered to both locals and expatriates.

"Retailers of dried seafood like abalone are very rich," he said. "They are interested in buying overseas properties."

The firm also offers flats ranging from HK$10 million to HK$12 million in Australia and from HK$4 million to HK$5 million in Britain.

Despite the higher yield, some local agents said it was not easy to resell assets in Thailand.

"The market is not liquid compared with Hong Kong and China," one agent said.

Golden Emperor said Thai property prices had risen only about 24 per cent in the past 10 years - less than in key Asian markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore - and offered attractive investment values to long-term investors.