Thailand to connect Beijing and Singapore with bullet train
Thailand has begun construction of its 2.07 trillion baht bullet train system connecting Beijing, Laos, and Singapore, the Bangkok Post reported. The much hailed Pan Asian modern transport system is part of the government’s plan to make Thailand the logistics hub of Asean.
The railway is part of the Belt and Road Initiative of China. Thailand aims to increase its competitiveness with faster connectivity with neighboring countries.
The railway will benefit Thai economy as authorities plan to link Nong Khai in the Northeast with the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), the much-touted project to make Thailand’s eastern region an industrial and logistics hub for modern and smart production. In 2018, the EEC – encompassing Rayong, Pattaya, Chonburi and Chachoengsao – attracted 700 billion baht of investments from industries such as next generation automotive, aviation and logistics, smart electronics, medical tourism, food, robotics, agriculture and biotechnology.
The first route links Bang Sue (Bangkok) to Vientiane (Laos) and Mohan/Kunming (Southern China) and is reportedly more than 40% complete. The Bang Sue area, less famous than its neighbour Chatuchak, is home to the grand station and central point of convergence for all the lines. The massive four-story Bang Sue station, largest in Asean, will be linked to Thailand’s existing Blue Line, Airport Rail Link, and other train routes to local provinces.
The Southern Route currently under study plans a line from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Previously unfathomable, Bangkokians may soon find their next trip to Beijing or Singapore from Bang Sue in just a few hours by train.
Harley-Davidson set to shift base to Thailand
The US motorcycle maker has confirmed its plans to move manufacturing of its China-bound motorcycles out of the US to Thailand to escape Chinese tariffs levied on American vehicle imports.
The iconic maker’s moves indicate how companies are dealing with the ongoing trade battle. “We plan to supply China from Thailand by the end of the year,” CEO Matt Levatich had said earlier this year.
Previously, almost all Harley-Davidson exports to the region came from the US with the exception of India, where the company has a factory. But a new facility was set up in Thailand last year to produce vehicles for other countries in the region.
– source: Nikkei Asian Review
Bangkok 2018 property price growth = 4%. Average rental yield = 4.6%
Noteworthy insights from CBRE Property Report (Bangkok) 2019… “demand for condominiums has increased steadily in recent years, with strong influx of foreign (esp Chinese) demand. Market sentiment has been boosted by government spending on large infrastructure projects such as new MRT lines and a new high speed railway linking Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao airports.”
Stable economic growth (4%) coupled with low unemployment rate (1%) provides continued stimulus to a vibrant, sustainable property market.
2018 property price growth = 4%. Average rental yield = 4.6% (one of highest among global gateway cities)
It’s always a good time to buy Thai property, says Hong Kong developer Allan Zeman
Allan Zeman, the driving force behind Hong Kong bar and nightlife district Lan Kwai Fong, has formed a joint venture with Pacific Century Premium Developments, a unit of telecommunications firm PCCW – which is chaired by Richard Li Tzar-kai, the youngest son of Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest man – to develop a luxury villas project in Thai Muang, a town near Phuket. Zeman’s Phuket portfolio now includes four resorts and a retail property.
Other Asian investors, especially from mainland China, have followed Zeman into Thailand’s property market.
According to the country’s central bank, the value of residential property in capital Bangkok has risen by at least 10 per cent annually since 2010. And deep-pocketed mainland Chinese buyers are a major force driving this boom.
“In Bangkok alone, we saw about 15,000 new apartments being sold to buyers from mainland China and Hong Kong in 2018, accounting for about half of all foreign purchases,” said Carrie Law, chief executive of property platform Juwai.com.
Having entered Pattaya, Zeman has now set his eyes on residential property in Bangkok.
Kingston Lai, chief executive of Hong Kong-based “Asia Bankers Club,” said: “There is a good chance for Thailand to become the next Singapore.
Last year, the government unveiled “Thailand 4.0”, an initiative aimed at reinventing the country as a hi-tech, high-value and highly creative economy by 2036, with an emphasis on development in 10 strategic and innovation-driven industries.
The government is determined to double Thailand’s GDP growth from 3 per cent to 6 per cent and create more than 100,000 job opportunities by 2020.
– source: South China Morning Post
Tighter mortgage lending enter into force this month
7 January 2019
Banks in Thailand are bracing for tighter standards for mortgage lending set to enter into force this month in a previously announced plan by the central bank.
The new rule requires people who buy a second home to make a down payment of at least 20% of the value in order to qualify for a mortgage exceeding 10 million baht. This aims to curb loan-to-value ratios at 80%. The rule aims to curb risks and speculation in the housing market and get banks to adopt stricter down payment requirements to deal with a high rate of mortgages turning sour in a nation with ballooning household debt.
The rule, expected to be effective end January 2019, will also apply to a buyer’s second or more homes, regardless of their price.
Licensing of Thai Real Estate Agents Expected … Maybe Soon (Finally)
1 September 2018
A speech by an official from the Government Housing Bank (GH Bank) seemed to indicate that real estate regulations could soon become law in Thailand.
Currently loosely regulated, the industry has seen more than its fair share of scams and crooks. Someone – local or foreigner – can wake up one day, decide to become a property agent, start collecting sales/rental deposits from unsuspecting buyers and tenants, and suddenly disappear overnight and leave victims stuck in a limbo.
Talks about compulsory real estate licensing have been ongoing for years with little progress as government support is seen as lukewarm at best. With more estate agents and even banks now shifting their stance in support of stricter regulation, it seems that mandatory licensing may be closer than everybody expects.
It is understood that Singapore is being looked at as an model to follow. The industry is regulated under the Estate Agents Act (Singapore) which requires all agents to pass mandatory exams and get licensed.
Thai Court ruled Air BnB illegal
4 July 2018
Since a recent court ruling air bnb to be illegal in thailand, there have been multiple crackdowns across the country, including Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin.
In June, a letter was sent to the Wan Vayla condominium complex in Khao Tao from the local authority outlining the court’s decision in two of three cases where condominiums were rented out for less than a month. In one case a fine of 5,000 baht must be paid and 500 baht per for each of twenty days totaling 15,000 baht. In the second case a 5,000 baht fine must also be paid with further fines of 100 baht for an 81 day period. A third case is pending.
The ruling could effectively be the beginning of the end for companies like Air BnB in Thailand who have consistently said that what they are offering in the kingdom is legal.Under the ruling, people renting out their rooms via Airbnb on a daily or weekly basis are acting illegally as they have not obtained a licence to run a hotel business under the 2004 Hotel Act. Only rentals of 30 days or more would be considered legal.
High speed rail from Bangkok to Rayong
26 April 2018
Thailand has approved plan for a high-speed railway to connect Don Mueang airport to Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan and U-tapao Airport in Rayong. The project has been fast-tracked by the government to boost economic development in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The 200-billion-baht megaproject involves constructing railways along the present Airport Rail Link network, which stretches from Phaya Thai to Suvarnabhumi. The entire route will be about 220 kilometres long and reach a maximum speed of 250km per hour.
The route comprises nine high-speed stations: Don Mueang, Bang Sue, Makkasan, Suvarnabhumi, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Sri Racha, Pattaya and U-tapao.
Media Release – MOU with Boonma International
12 February 2018
We are excited to partner BOONMA International to help our local clients as well as foreign friends with their relocation needs as they move to Thailand. Services incl moving of high value furnitures & antiques, pets travel, immigration – visas & permits, cross cultural orientation. Also available – inter-province moving of personal effects and household goods.
Bangkok condo projects lure major offshore investments
1 Oct 2017 (The Nation Newspaper)
PROPERTY firms from Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China have expanded their investment in Thailand’s property market by focusing on condominium development projects located close to the mass transit system.
The investment is happening in parallel with government plans to develop infrastructure projects worth over Bt2.2 trillion this year and in the next five years.
“Thailand has a number of economic corridor projects and the country is considered the hub of the greater Mekong sub-region, while Bangkok has continued to attract people as the centre of the economy,” said Toshiyuki Hoshino, director, senior managing executive officer and executive general manager of International Business Headquarters of Tokyu Corp.
Those factors “bring about sustainable housing demand,” he said, “and as a result we have expand our investment in Thailand since the year 2014 and also decided to set a joint venture firm with Sansiri Plc to develop residential projects in Bangkok.”
Tokyu Corp is not the only Japanese firm to expand its investment in Thailand’s property market. Others have done the same since 2013, most of them expanding their business in the property market through partnering in joint ventures with Thai property developers.
Hiroki Mitsumata, president of the Bangkok office of the Japan External Trade Organisation, said recently that Japanese investors are interested in expanding their investment in Thailand, particularly in hospitality, property, medical, retail, digital content, and high tech sectors.
In fact, Thailand was Japan’s second-largest investment destination in Asean after Singapore as of the end of 2015, according to the Japanese Finance Ministry. Combined initial investment capital from Japan to Thailand was worth US$55 billion (Bt1.9 trillion).
The Board of Investment (BOI) has reported that Japan is Thailand’s leading foreign direct investor (FDI), accounting for 39 per cent of total FDI, followed by Singapore at 12 per cent, mainland China at 7 per cent, Hong Kong 6 per cent, Taiwan 5 per cent, and others 36 per cent.
Firms from others countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore and mainland China, have also expanded their investment in Thailand’s property market. Most focus on developing condominium projects located close to mass transit systems, where they see strong market demand.
Thai companies welcome the investment. “We joint venture with Chinese firm when we see the opportunity to promote our products to Chinese buyers who are interested in buying residential property in Thailand, because our partner will also support both our capital and marketing,” Pairoj Watanavarodom, managing director of WJSP Property Plc, said recently.
Local property firms have to change their approach to succeed in this new market with its higher costs and risks.
Prasert Taedullayasatis, president of the Thai Condominium Association and chief executive of Pruksa Real Estate Plc, said: “Thai property firms have to change their business strategy to joint venture with foreign firms, and also join together with Thai partners to develop their residential projects.”
They need bigger budgets to bring their projects to market, more capital and marketing collaboration to drive their business growth, he said. “Business risks have increased, including the recent bank restrictions on providing mortgage loans, and high competition in the marketplace,” said Prasert.
Research by international brokerage JLL found that Asian investors expanding their investment overseas account for five of the 10 biggest cross-border spenders. Inter-regional investment reached US$19.5 billion in the second quarter of this year, up 71 per cent from the same period last year.
In the Asia Pacific, total transaction volumes amounted to US$31 billion in the second quarter of this year, up 6 per cent from the first quarter. Investment volumes across the region were at US$61 billion in the first half.
Thailand tweaks property land tax
30 August 2017
Thailand’s Revenue Department recently amended the Revenue Code to allow the Land Department to levy a land ownership transfer tax based on either an appraisal or a market price, whichever is higher.
The move is aimed at charging property taxes that better reflect actual prices, as the appraisal price is typically lower than the market price, said Prasong Poontaneat, director-general of the Revenue Department. The amended law is being vetted by the Council of State, he said.
The tax computation is currently based on the Treasury Department’s appraisal price. For example, a landlord or buyer can be subject to the tax based on the appraisal price of a mere 10 million baht, even if the land plot is sold for 50 million baht.
In another development, Mr Prasong warned that it would not be worthwhile if wealthy people were to take advantage of setting up juristic persons as land transfer recipients to avoid paying the inheritance tax, as such entities would eventually be subject to the imminent land and buildings tax.
The inheritance tax is a one-off levy and its rates are fairly low with a tax exemption on the first 100 million baht, while the land and buildings tax is required to be paid every year once the new tax comes into force.
It has been widely reported by media that many affluent people are exploiting the recent cabinet nod for a series of tax perks to ease the transformation of owner-operated small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into juristic persons as a means to avoid paying the new asset-based tax.
The cabinet recently approved tax incentives to persuade family-owned or owner-operated SMEs to register as juristic persons and pay the correct income tax.
The tax perks are a 60% corporate tax deduction on expenses from Jan 1, 2017, exemptions for corporate income tax and value-added tax, a reduction of the specific business tax to 0.01% from 2%, and a reduction of the property transfer fee for those who register properties as new juristic persons to 0.01% from 2%.
The incentives will be effective until Dec 31, 2017.
A draft bill on the land and buildings tax is now undergoing its second reading at the National Legislative Assembly. The draft bill calls for the tax to be levied on first-home owners and farmland appraised at more than 50 million baht.
A tax rate of 0.05% will be applied to first homes and agricultural land worth 50-100 million baht, and a 0.1% rate for homes above 100 million.
People owning second homes will be taxed in a range of 0.03-0.1% of the appraisal price, depending on the value of the property.
The tax on vacant land will rise by 0.5 percentage points every three years, up to a cap of 5%, while land for commercial and industrial use will be levied at 0.3-1.5%.
For the inheritance tax, the levy is set at 5% of the amount above 100 million baht for descendants and 10% for others. For gifts, 5% applies to portions above 20 million baht when beneficiaries are descendants. For non-descendant beneficiaries, the same rate applies but is calculated from portions above 10 million baht.
The inheritance tax was put into effect from early last year.
Thai-Chinese high speed rail project approved by Thai cabinet
12 July 2017
BANGKOK, July 11 (Xinhua) — Thai cabinet on Tuesday approved the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima high speed railway project under Thailand-China rail cooperation, which is set to start operation in 2021.
The cabinet headed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha approved the proposal of the Ministry of Transport, which is in charge of the railway agency, for the construction of the 252-kilometer-long stretch of the high speed rail project between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima province, with an estimated 179 billion baht (5.2 billion U.S. dollars) in funding, all of which is to be raised by Thai government, according to Vice Minister to the Office of the Prime Minister Kobsak Pootrakool.
There will be six stations from Bangkok’s Bang Sue Station to Nakhon Ratchasima along the railway on which trains will run at a maximum speed of 250 kilometers per hour and some 2,815 rai (4.5 square kilometers) of land will need to be expropriated, said Kobsak.
Following Tuesday’s weekly cabinet meeting, Thai Prime Minister Prayut himself told reporters that the construction of the rail project between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima will be completed by 2021 and that Thailand will largely benefit from it in the long run.
The Bangkok- Nakhon Ratchasima section is only the first phase of the Thailand-China rail project.
A second phase of the rail project calls for the construction of the rail system from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai province, which is opposite to Lao capital Vientiane from across Mekong River.
The high speed rail is designed to link with China-Laos railway to form a mega railway from southwest China’s Kunming to Bangkok.
Prayut reiterated on Tuesday that the second phase or the high speed rail between Nakhon Ratchasima and Nong Khai will be built to link Thailand with Laos and China.
Prayut had earlier exercised his absolute power, better known as Article 44, to get rid of legal snags which had stood in the way of the project implementation to allow Chinese engineers and architects to work for the project without Thai engineer or architect licenses. They are yet to undergo orientation courses scheduled for next month.
He had also said most components of the rail system will be supplied by domestic sources rather than imported, while Thai engineers and others involved in the project have been and will be trained to get well versed with the Chinese technology.
Chinese buying up Bangkok property
2 July 2017
adapted from Bangkokpost.com, June2017
Thai property continues to entice Chinese buyers with relatively low prices and good returns. Top destinations in Thailand where Chinese preferred to buy property were Bangkok (29.3%), followed by Chiang Mai (21.8%), Phuket (17.3%), Pattaya and others with 15.8% each, according to Juwai.com, China’s largest website catering to buyers of overseas property. Chinese demand for Thai properties rose by 180% in the second quarter last year from the same period in 2015, which saw only 37% growth.
Thailand was ranked the fifth top country where Chinese looked for property to buy after US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Bangkok is the most preferred as it is a large stable market where property prices tend to rise.
About two-thirds of Chinese buyers are interested in condo unit prices of between 5-10 million baht, followed by 2.5-3.5 million baht (22%) and under 250,000 baht (15%), or within 50,000-100,000 baht per square metre, compared with 200,000 baht in Shanghai.
According to Wason Khongchantr, managing director of Modern Property Consultants Co, Chinese buyers, mostly from the middle class, prefer property in Thailand over China, as prices are lower. Investors who purchase rental properties in Thailand enjoy a return on investment within 219 months, compared with 470 months in Guangzhou, 623 months in central Beijing and 656 months in Shanghai. Sales-purchase conditions in Thailand are also less complicated, with lower property transfer fees.
Most of the units are fully furnished with giveaway furniture, while buyers would have to spend an additional 20-30% of unit price to have interior decoration for a unit in China.
Only Hainan, the smallest and southernmost Chinese province, is situated in the tropical zone. As it is a key safe haven for Chinese in the winter, the beach town of Sanya in the province saw skyrocketing property prices last year. He said strong demand in resort homes in Sanya made house prices rise close to the same level of those in major capitals like Shanghai and Beijing or around 25,743 yuan or 128,715 baht per sq m on average.
Resam (Real Estate Sales and Marketing Association) honorary president Manop Bongsadadt said Thai property brokers should improve Chinese language marketing and sales strategies as well as legal knowledge if they want to profit from the booming demand.
Most flooded areas in Bangkok through the years
1 June 2017
Memories fade. Most people no longer remember the 2011 deadliest floods of Thailand and believe that they won’t be repeated ever again. Take a closer look and you’ll realise that through the years, the same low-lying areas in Bangkok get flooded yet over and over again. If you are a property investor, you certainly do not want your homes to be inundated with flood this time each year. Neither would your tenant (or prospective tenant) want to live in a flood-prone district. Check out below list for most flooded areas in Bangkok:
- Don Muang/Laksi
- Lad Phrao
- Suan Luang
For the past weeks this year, one of the worst flooded areas was the Lat Phrao intersection at Ratchadaphisek Road, where the floodwaters reached about 30 centimetres and seriously disrupted traffic.
Top property investment cities 2017
4 March 2017
2017 Trends in Real Estate Investments, Asia Pacific
Emerging cities are now the preferred destinations for property investors, according to PWC’s latest survey (2017). Traditional investor favorites – Japanese and Australian gateway cities — seen as a vote for “flight to safety approach,” are now relegated to lower priority as opposed to the “quest for yield.”
Top Investment Cities
1st Bangalore & 2nd Mumbai. In its latest survey, Indian cities Bangalore and Mumbai are key for investors as the cities continue to thrive as India’s main hubs for the business process outsourcing (BPO) and IT industries, spurring demand for properties across all sectors including industrial, commercial and residential.
3rd Manila. While some critics are concerned about the new administration in Manila, most investors are convinced that the hugely popular President Duterte will be able to push through much-needed reforms in the country. A vibrant economy led by a booming BPO market and strong remittances from overseas workers continue to boost demand for properties and rents continue to show good growth.
4th Ho Chi Minh City. After several years in the economic doldrums, Vietnam is today one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia. According to one investor, it is now “on the radar screen of nearly all the major investors in the region,” and is arguably the most popular real estate investment destination in Southeast Asia.
5th Shenzhen, 6th Shanghai & 10th Guangzhou. Prices for key gateway cities in China soared in 2016. Government crackdown on peer-to-peer lending and outward fund withdrawals seem to dent little the rising property rises in these cities. This remains to be seen in view of the latest (Oct’2016) limits on currency transfers out of China.
7th Jakarta. While Jakarta has proved to be a popular choice in the PWC survey for the last five years, oversupply conditions in the office sector is forcing investors to look elsewhere, in particular affordable housing projects. According to one fund manager: “In terms of middle classes buying high-rise apartments, the market is very weak, so the strong fundamentals are now at the bottom of the housing market.”
8th Bangkok. With new supply and absorption projections looking healthy, rents and capital values continue to rise steadily over the past few years. Political instability has been an issue for investors in Thailand for several years, and there seems currently little prospect of change in that regard, although to be fair the appearance of ongoing crisis seems to have little impact on day-to-day life or the business/investor community.
9th Sydney. Sydney fell from second in last year’s rankings to ninth in 2017. The housing market is an ongoing cause for concern. Nationwide, real home prices have increased by 45% since 2012, fueled by several base rate cuts and by increasing numbers of foreign (esp Chinese) buyers. Sydney is currently the highest-ranked Asian component of the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index
Source: Emerging Trends in Real Estate, Asia Pacific 2017, PWC
Bangkok condo updates
26 January 2017
In Q3 2016, developers resumed launching new condominium projects. The number of newly launched condominium units increased both Y-o-Y and Q-o-Q in all areas. The majority of newly launched Bangkok condominium units in this quarter were from top public-listed developers.
Overall, demand for Bangkok condominium units was still relatively weak. Sales of newly launched condominium projects have been mixed, ranging from outperforming projects which were sold out on the first day of launch to underperforming projects which did not sell well.
In this quarter, the market continued to see various aggressive promotional campaigns including soft and hard discounts offered by developers in order to boost sales and transfer rates, especially for midtown/suburban Bangkok property projects. The downtown condominium market was slow but still healthy. There is fair demand from affluent purchasers in the prime downtown locations for investment. As for the midtown/suburban area, the market condition was more challenging.
Looking forward, the passing of His Majesty the King could potentially delay the launches of new Bangkok condo property projects in the short term. Some planned Bangkok condominium project launches in Q4 2016 could be postponed to Q1 2017. With the sluggish demand in the lower-end market, most developers have turned to focus more on the upper-end market. There are a large number of planned downtown condominium project launches in the pipeline. This means that competition in the downtown condominium market will be more intense at the end of this year as well as next year. With the buyers becoming more selective, it is, therefore, more essential for developers to develop the right product in the right location with the right price.
Winner and losers – TPP got trumped
4 December 2016
During the election campaign, Trump blasted international trade deals, tapping into a deep well of popular anger over the effects of globalization. Now, President-elect Trump’s first victim could be the TPP that he slammed as a “disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country.”
China will probably emerge the biggest winner from the demise of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). The TPP links America with 11 countries and would have been the biggest regional trade deal in history, spanning 40% of global GDP and a third of world trade. China was left out of any TPP talks. Beijing-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)’s involves 16 nations, is slightly smaller, accounting for 30% of global GDP and a quarter of world trade. Moving ahead on the RCEP, long designed as a counterweight to the TPP, would give China greater economic sway in a region where it seeks to dislodge American influence. The RCEP would complement its massive “One Belt, One Road” initiative now underway, which aims to build roads, ports and highways through much of Asia. All 10 countries of ASEAN as well as China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand are involved in the RCEP which has gone through 15 rounds of negotiations since 2013.
Countries which rely heavily on free trade, particularly Singapore and Vietnam stand to lose the most from the imminent death of the TPP which is expected to add as much as 0.5% p.a. to Singapore’s GDP growth (and 1% p.a. to Vietnam’s) with a TPP deal. The RCEP is not expected to benefit Singapore much as it already has free-trade agreements with other member nations, in a recent study by HSBC.
On the other hand, countries which were originally left out of the TPP but included within the RCEP framework stand to win most from a new world trade paradigm. These include Thailand, the Philippines and others who are close to China, such as Laos and Cambodia. The four ASEAN nations are expected to gain significantly from both the RCEP and the One Belt One Road initiative.
Retire in Thailand
15 September 2016
If you are reading this, chances are you are already sold on the idea of retiring in the “Land of Smiles”. Why here? Lower of cost of living – food, entertainment, transport, medical, etc. Better quality of life. Beautiful beaches. Great food. And for many who came and have never left, a key reason is the generally friendly bunch of people here.
Having considered your finances, what next before you plan your big move?
1) Getting a Visa (refer: http://www.immigration.go.th/)
Retirement visa – 50 years old and above. Proof of meeting Financial Requirements (Thai Bank Account showing THB 800,000 balance or Monthly income (eg pension) of at least THB 65,000
Investor visa – any age. Proof of investing THB 10 million in (a) Thai bank deposits (b) government securities (c) properties i.e. condominiums (d) combination of (a), (b), (c)
2) Where in Thailand to retire? If you wish to continue seeking professional work or business opportunities, Bangkok is likely the place to be. If you wish to chill, then chances are the northern provinces (lots of mountains) or stunning southern Thai beaches are where you want to be.
3) Where to live after deciding on the province/city? If you are completely new to Thailand, it’s probably best to rent for a couple months first. Once you’ve settled, it makes sense to buy if you’re “here to stay”
4) What are you waiting for?
Amidst a slowing economy, Thailand retains spot as world’s top medical tourism destination
17 July 2016
Thailand attracted an estimated 1.8 – 2.5 million international patients in 2015*. Many of these patients stayed on afterward for a holiday, either in Bangkok or at one of the country’s beach resorts. More than one in three foreigners treated at Bumrungrad are from the Gulf states. While stubbornly low oil prices have led to decreased numbers of medical tourists from the Gulf region in recent quarters, the shortfall is made up by the growth of wealthy medical tourists from neighbouring Myanmar and Vietnam that have less-developed health care systems.
Thailand is well known for cosmetic and sex change procedures. Medical tourism generated 107 billion baht ($3 billion) of revenue in 2014, according to the latest Thai government estimate.
Other than directly supporting tens of thousands of jobs directly, the medical tourism industry provides significant spinoff benefits to the economy, such as food and beverage establishments, malls, hotels and even condominiums located near famous hospitals. Many of such apartments are frequently rented out to patients for short stay periods after their surgical procedures.
Recognizing the importance of health care to the Thai economy, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s military government has drafted a 10-year plan to promote the sector. As part of the plan, the staying period for medical treatment for patients from China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam has been tripled to 90 days.
Amidst competition for medical tourists from regional rival Singapore, the country has managed to retain its spot as the world’s top destination for medical tourism.
*Source: (Patients Beyond Borders (Carolina), Thailand Ministry of Public Health, Kasikorn Research Centre
Transit extensions, AEC likely to boost Thailand (esp Bangkok) property rental market
27 May 2016
Transit extensions, AEC likely to boost Thailand property rental market
“Bangkok property-rental market will be able to grow this year mainly thanks to the extension of mass-transit lines and the inflows of foreign investment” : Kiatnakin Bank
Dr Piyasak Manason, the bank’s senior vice president and head of its industrial and economic research department, said the transit extensions were positive to the Bangkok condo/apartment market for white-collar workers. Meanwhile the Asean Economic Community was also providing a boost to the apartment market for foreign businesspeople. However, if considered by segment, the outlook of the hotel market is strongest thanks to tourism, both inbound and local. The bank estimates the number of inbound tourists this year to reach 32 million, 34 million next year, and 36 million in 2018. Medium-sized and budget hotels are expected to benefit largely from Asian and local tourists, he said. In the apartment sector, the market for serviced units for expatriates is well placed to grow, especially the Grade B segment, in line with the mass-transit extensions. The transit extensions are also widening the central business districts, enhancing the market for white-collar serviced apartments.
As for apartments for labourers in the manufacturing sector, they might face challenges from the changes in the country’s manufacturing structure. “However, the change we have seen this year is Thai developers having partners from Japan to do condominium projects. Therefore, the number of new projects this year is expected to grow by 20-25 per cent to 65,000 units, of which 55-60 per cent are condominium projects. With partners making joint investments, the market share of major developers will increase as well,” Recently, major Thailand condominium developers have also focused more on the luxury segment, and prices per square metre had reached Bt250,000-Bt400,000, so it is unclear that demand will be high enough to support such prices. In the past, researchers had advised investors that condos priced below Bt2 million would replace the apartment market, but in fact sales in this segment are slower. Most potential condo buyers delay their decisions until the construction is complete because they want be sure they can make the mortgage payments. Phatra Securities estimates that the value of the residential property market in Bangkok and nearby provinces this year will expand by 17 per cent to Bt274 billion. In the first four months, a total of 13,500 condo units were launched, representing total value of Bt45 billion.
Thailand is top tourist destination for mainland Chinese, overtaking South Korea in 2015
1 March 2016
Thailand continues to be a magnet for mainlanders, attracting more Chinese tourists as South Korea draws fewer. The mainland sent 7.9 million people to Thailand in 2015, an annual increase of 70 percent to become the top country destination ahead of Korea, which had 2 percent fewer arrivals, and Japan, where visitors more than doubled to 5 million. That one-two-three ranking continued during last month’s Chinese Spring Festival, according to preliminary data reported by the People’s Daily newspapers.
Duplex condos in Bangkok
1 March 2016
Many dream about living in two-storey duplexes amidst an urban setting. A relatively new phenomenon in Bangkok’s property market, duplexes are still a rarity. Think duplex, think St Regis luxury residences where a duplex penthouse presents the ultimate urban living, complete with a private swimming pool and personal garden.
A quick google search will show no more than 10 condo developments featuring only a couple of duplexes each. Several are in central Bangkok (Ratchadamri area) or prime business district. These are typically 4- or 5- bedroom duplex penthouses costing a minimum 150,000 baht psm and setting you back by no less than 18mil baht a piece.
For those seeking a rather pocket-friendly duplex purchase, the current trend is one-bedder duplexes around 50sqm. Almost a house, and better than a “mere condo”, these duplexes are slowly but surely gaining popularity. Catering to a niche clientele, prices of one-bedder duplex condos have crept up slowly since they started appearing few years ago. Considering on-off chatters of oversupply of mass market condos in Bangkok, duplexes may be worth a look after all (despite naysayers decrying them as a fad).
For the discerning ones, check out below:
Brand New Ideo Mobi Sukhumvit One-Bedroom Duplex Penthouse for sale only 6.68mb | 24 & 25th floor with stunning clear views over On Nut and Eastern Bangkok city | 50m from BTS On Nut | 44 Sqm, brightly painted, tastefully decorated | Fully furnished with LED TV, electric stove, fridge, washer etc | Full condo facilities, incl outdoor swim pool with sun bathing decks, gym & fitness centre, games room, library & reading room, roof top garden, reception lobby, 24 hour security etc | Walk to Tesco Lotus, Big C, malls, restaurants, street markets, spas: http://www.findyourspace.co/en/property/4dff72d0-a98e-4520-9dde-874d766fe25e/brand-new-ideo-mobi-sukhumvit-81-penthouse-duplex-for-sale-rent
Retire in Thailand … ranked #7 in World’s Best Places to Retire
13 December 2015
The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2016 … Thailand ranked #7, again top 10 in yet another survey: http://internationalliving.com/2016/01/the-best-places-to-retire-2016/
Kra Canal: Golden opportunity or commercially unviable?
13 December 2015
extracted from ChannelNewsAsia, Singapore
The idea of digging a shipping canal through southern Thailand is not new, but it is gaining currency again because of China’s One Belt and One Road initiative. However there is stiff opposition to the Kra Canal project.
BANGKOK: The Kra Canal has been making headlines in Thailand again after reports of renewed interest from several Chinese companies to develop the project.
The idea of digging a shipping canal through southern Thailand is not new, but it is gaining currency again because of China’s One Belt and One Road initiative.
Pakdee Tanapura has long advocated the Kra Canal. He dreams of a new shipping lane carved through southern Thailand that would connect the Indian Ocean and South China Sea – thus allowing shipping traffic to bypass the Strait of Malacca.
Mr Pakdee and the Kra Canal support group he belongs to say the project could become an important part of China’s Maritime Silk Road. And this could position Thailand as a key logistics player in the region.
“Right now we are not telling people that we want to dig the canal, but we would like a detailed study to be done,” said Pakdee Tanapura, member of the National Committee for the Study of the Kra Canal Project. “So that we can determine what are the economic implications.”
The idea for a canal – similar to the Suez or Panama canals – that cuts through the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand has been around for centuries. It’s been mooted again as an alternative shipping route to the Strait of Malacca, which would cut travel time by several days, and compliment China’s One Belt and One Road initiative.
Some Chinese companies have expressed interest. Bolstered by their Thai lobbyist, who says the massive project at an estimated US$28 billion, will create jobs and business opportunities for millions over the next decade.
But some observers disagree. “It is a big challenge if you really think of actually digging the canal,” said Associate Professor Ruth Banomyong, Head of Department of International Business, Logistics and Transport, Thammasat University. “Because today we have to think about the environmental and social impact of a project of this scale. And when do you expect to see a return on the investment: In 10 years, 20 years or in 90 years?”
He added: “Commercially, it does not make sense. And this is why we have bridges. So instead of digging, why don’t we go across land?”
THAILAND BANKS ON MYANMAR PORT
Successive Thai governments have wanted to create a gateway to the Indian Ocean. But its focus now is a massive deep-sea port, industrial estate and oil refinery on the outskirts of Dawei – a small town in Myanmar’s southern Tanintayi region, around 250km from Bangkok.
The Thai Government wants to develop the Dawei Special Economic Zone into a key industrial hub for Thailand in ASEAN and beyond.
“Our main focus in linking the two seas together is through the town of Dawei in Myanmar, where there will be a deep-sea port and a special economic zone,” said Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Thai Transport Minister. “This will link to Thailand and connect with Laem Chabang port and the industrial zone in eastern Thailand. The idea here is to eventually link two industrial clusters together.”
“By extending this production network to Dawei, you can capture the new market within Myanmar itself,” said Newin Sinsiri, President of the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency. “And it is a potential for you to move beyond that to India, to South Asia, to Middle East and then European countries.”
Spanning nearly 200 sq km, the Dawei infrastructure project is expected to take 30 years to complete.
But mired in constant delays, the slow pace of Dawei’s transformation could mean the Kra Canal will continue to re-emerge as Thailand’s answer to becoming the world’s new maritime gateway.
Thai Cabinet approved tax, fee cuts for home buyers to 0.01%
30 August 2015
To revitalize Thailand’s property industry, the government recently approved a series of economic measures including such incentives as cuts in the housing transfer fee to 0.01% from 2%, and slashing mortgage fees to 0.01% from 1%, applicable till April 2016. Buyers of homes costing less than 3 million baht have an extra incentive as 20% of the price tag will be tax deductible for five years, starting 31 Dec 2015.
The Thailand Government Housing Bank (GHB) also planned to set aside 10 billion baht in mortgage loans for borrowers refused by other banks.
Expect further details from the government as it launches more measures to spur the economy.
Bangkok condo prices expected to rise > 10%, driven by new land appraisal prices
30 August 2015
With sales rate for all Bangkok condominiums during the first half of 2015 standing at 88 percent, the average condominium price across Bangkok rose by 6 percent from the end of last year to approximately THB 101,500 per sqm. As Bangkok condominium prices rose consecutively during the past several years, rental rates were not reflective of this and yields have declined over the past three to five years. City area condominiums, like in Sathorn, Langsuan, and the area from Lower Sukhumvit to On Nut, retained higher rental rates. New one- and two-bedroom condominiums in Thonglor and Sukhumvit had the highest rent at THB 889 per sqm per month, while the Sukhumvit-Bang Na area achieved the lowest rent at THB 384 per sqm per month.
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