Hong Kong investors keen on Thai condos after healthy returns
HONG KONG investors have been sinking more money into Thailand’s condominium market after enjoying returns on investment of more than 5 per cent a year, Theerapan Nunthapolpat, general manager of Siam Commercial Bank’s Hong Kong branch, said in an interview with The Nation recently.
“Condominium units priced between Bt5 million and Bt10 million are popular with Hong Kong investors in Thailand’s property market,” he said.
He added that the popular locations included Bangkok’s Sukhumvit area and tourist destinations such as Pattaya and Phuket.
Thailand is attractive to these investors because condominium prices in the Kingdom are lower than in Hong Kong residential projects.
In Hong Kong, condominiums are priced between 10,000 and 40,000 Hong Kong dollars per square foot, which translates to about Bt450,000 to Bt1.8 million per square metre. But in Thailand, normally prices in the mid-to-upper-range segment are Bt150,000-Bt250,000 per square metre. The highest-priced luxury condominium in Thailand is now Bt550,000 per square metre, for the fully furnished 98 Wireless project.
Theerapan said lower interest rates in Hong Kong had also encouraged many investors there to look for ways to generate higher returns. Investing in condominiums in Thailand is a good choice when the return on investment for a rental property averages 5-6 per cent a year, much better than interest rates of only 0.02 per cent in Hong Kong.
He said SCB had received a number of queries from its customers in Hong Kong about how to invest in condominiums in the Kingdom after Thai property firms had brought roadshows to the city.
Sansiri president Srettha Thavisin said the company had successfully sold its condominiums in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and mainland China after starting to market its |projects overseas three years |ago.
This year, Sansiri targets sales of its condominiums to foreign buyers to be worth Bt7.5 billion out of its total presale target of Bt36 billion for 2017.
“We see strong demand from Hong Kong investors interested in buying condominiums in [Bangkok’s] central business district, especially Sukhumvit Road, focusing on condos priced at no more than Bt10 million.
“All of them also buy our projects with cash. They also need a property-management service if they open their condos for rental, which generates a return on investment averaging 5-8 per cent a year,” he said.
According to research by property agency Knight Frank Thailand, Hong Kong investors are interested in buying luxury condominiums in Bangkok as a business opportunity to generate high returns for the long term.
Frank Khan, executive director and residential head of Knight Frank Thailand, said 2016 was another outstanding year for Bangkok’s prime and super-prime condo market, with strong demand and high price growth despite the spillover effect from the slowing economy.
On the supply side, developers with land banks in prime areas found the segment to be more suitable for development, which could generate higher-than-average returns on plots with higher land-acquisition costs.
On the demand side, buyers in this segment were mostly affluent individuals who do not rely on home loans. There is a lot of demand from Hong Kong buyers in this segment, he said.