A condo’s brand (the developer) is one of the 3 main factors which will determine whether you make a profit in the complex Bangkok market
Bangkok is without a doubt a sprawling metropolis; while this may come across as a rather dull and obvious statement, it is only once you dig deeper into the subject that you realize that the City is complex and full of intricacies.
Firstly, Thailand’s capital city is a complicated patchwork of neighbourhoods. Straightforward concepts such as the exact areas forming the “CBD” (Central Business District) and “Bangkok City Center”, are ironically the subject of much debate amongst property professionals. Different neighbourhoods offer a different appeal and as a result different levels of return. On top of this, urban regeneration, city planning and infrastructure projects will affect some areas of Bangkok more positively than others. To make matters even more complex, some condominium projects underperform (in terms of Rental Yields offered and Capital Appreciation) and very often, two condos sitting side-by-side can have varying returns on investment.
So how does an individual investor make sense of this?
Very simply, by focusing on the essentials which are as follows:
“Location, location, location”, is probably the oldest adage in Property Investment and requires very little elaboration. In Bangkok, individual investors best stick to properties close to the established BTS or MRT Lines. While there is currently some hype around the “future/new transport links” being developed or in planning, these areas have not established their investment track record and investors should generally be cautious.
Property Investors often make the mistake of considering only the financial returns of the property investment. However, the lifestyle factors such as layout, size and general quality of fixtures/fittings are vitally important. More aesthetic details such as View, Floor, and Orientation can make a huge difference especially in Bangkok’s competitive condo market. Finally in a city like Bangkok, well-presented facilities such as Pool, Gym, etc., are always great bonuses that increase the attractiveness of a Unit.
Finally, we arrive at the topic of this Article, Condo Developers.
While this may seem a peculiar third factor to consider, just like any product, Bangkok Condos are branded and each developer brings its own “cachet” and “appeal”. There are several reasons why buying into the right developer, is an important factor in Bangkok’s residential condo market:
Brand and Track Record
Well-known developers reassure homebuyers and investors, who generally want to minimize their risk and guarantee a secure investment. The top developers in the Capital have a proven track record of successfully completed and sold out past projects. This is an enormous advantage especially for second-hand sales, as buyers immediately recognize the Condo and its brand.
Management and Maintenance
Top developers in Bangkok have an established Building Management setup and team, for the maintenance of common areas and most importantly public facilities (e.g. Pool, Gym, Elevators, etc.). This also relates to top-notch ancillary services, such as security guards, porter service and cleaning services. Some Developers have even gone so far as to launch subsidiary Building Management companies.
Since Condos tend to be densely packed with 100+ Residents even in the smaller projects, this means that the building is subject to substantial wear and tear. If a building falls into disrepair, this always affects the value and desirability of a Condo project, especially in Bangkok where Condo buyers are faced with an enormous amount of choice.
On a more basic level, the top residential builders in Bangkok do a large amount of planning before launching a project. This means everything from location, unit layout, facilities and design are carefully planned. Since the developers are experienced, the building itself is of higher quality and details such as fixtures and fitting are carefully selected.
Here is a snapshot of some of these leading developers:
One of the most established Residential Developers in Thailand; ask any Thai whether they have heard of Sansiri and you’ll probably get a positive nod of approval! With over 30 years of experience delivering quality projects, this Developer has established an aura of luxury and durability. The company boasts of being a “fully integrated developer” and it runs an efficient Property Agency and Facilities Management subsidiary known as “Plus Property”.
This developer covers different price brackets from the lower-end (60,000-80,000 THB Per Sqm) with keystone projects such as “The Base” and high-end (120,000+ THB Per Sqm) with developments such as “XXXIX and HQ”. It recently launched “The Line Sukhumvit 71” which was sold out to a mix of foreigners and Thais within a month.
Launched in 1999 by Chanond Ruangkritya, the Residential Developer prides itself in providing “Urban Living Solutions”. It develops its Residential Projects in close proximity to Mass Transit Transport Lines and its target market tends to be “buyers who value convenience and ease-of-access”. Just like Sansiri, it runs a Subsidiary Property Agency operation known as “The Agent” and Facilities Management Operation dubbed “The Works”.
Anyone who has spent some time living in Bangkok would have come across its iconic “Ideo” and “Elio” branded condos; on the more luxury-end of the market, Ananda uses the brand “Ashton”. Some of its project launches have had enormous success, most notably “Ashton Asoke”, launched in September 2014, which was sold out within a month.
Since its establishment in 1991, the Company has launched a variety of Condominium, Town House and Single-Detached House Projects. It has developed numerous recognized brands to appeal to different market segments; notably lower-priced more affordable “Aspire” and “Life”, mid-market “Rhythm” and higher-end luxury “The Address”. Interestingly, AP has joined forces with The Mitsubishi Estate Group, a leading Japanese developer, to develop its projects and operations.
Examples of a few completed projects include, “The Address Asoke” located on Phetchaburi Road, “The Address 28” which is within walking distance of BTS Phrom Phong and “Aspire 48” which has just been completed and is within walking distance of BTS Phra Khanong.
Also launched in 1991, Noble Development has to date launched a total of 40 plus Residential Projects. These include established condos such as Noble Solo located on Sukhumvit 55 (Thong Lo), Noble Refine in Phrom Phong and Noble Reform located next to BTS Ari.
The Developer has recently launched “BE33” a 31-storey Condominium Project comprising of 282 Units. The Project is located in the heart of the CBD and is only 350m from BTS Phrom Phong.
As with any decision involving large sums of money, the Latin phrase “Caveat Emptor” (Let the buyer beware), perfectly sums up the need for “caution” when approaching Bangkok’s confusing property market. Buyers should not only buy based on “Brand” but should take the precaution of conducting extensive research rather than believing fancy marketing materials produced by developers.
However, by sticking to the basic principles of Location, Property Specifications and Condo Developer (brand), investors can navigate the complex Bangkok Property Market with more confidence. Where there are chaos and uncertainty, there exists opportunity – lucrative returns are on offer for savvy investors willing to take the time to study and research the Bangkok market!
Pierre Leung is the Sales Manager of Fresh Property, a boutique property agency that specialises in sales and rental of residential property in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok.