All-clear sounded for foreign buyers

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With the return of political stability, foreign property buyers have resumed their shopping spree for Bangkok condominiums, as evidenced by the 480-million-baht penthouse unit recently acquired by a retired Indian property investor based in Dubai.”This year will be good for the high-end residential market, as foreign buyers’ confidence is growing stronger,” said Sorapoj Techakraisri, chief executive of the luxury property developer Pace Development Corporation Plc.

The company last month sold a penthouse at The Ritz-Carlton Residences that covers 1,500 square metres over two whole floors and priced at 480 million baht.It is claimed to be the single largest and highest-priced condo unit ever sold in Thailand. Pace will hit Dubai and Abu Dhabi with a roadshow in March after selling seven units worth a combined 240 million baht in Hong Kong two weeks ago.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences will be a luxury condo project with 194 units priced at 280,000 baht per sq m on average for a 99-year leasehold. It is part of the 77-storey MahaNakhon luxury mixed-use skyscraper being built on nine rai of Narathiwat Road next to Chong Nonsi skytrain station. To date, Pace has sold 100 units worth a combined 5 billion baht, with 60% bought by foreign buyers. Another 3 billion baht in sales is expected this year. The tower will be also feature the 150-room Bangkok Edition Hotel.

The hotel and residences will be completed by 2015.In front of those buildings will be a 10,000-square-metre, seven-floor lifestyle mall called the Cube. Total investment will be 14 billion baht for a project value of 19 billion. Phanom Kanjanathiemthao, managing director of the property consultant Knight Frank Chartered (Thailand), said Thai condo buyers will eventually accept condos priced above 200,000 baht per sq m.

“In the past, the number of high-priced condo projects launched in the market was very few in number. This year will see the launch of many new high-priced ones,” he said.

Wealthy foreign buyers do not feel 400,000 baht per sq m, the level now offered for a resale penthouse at the St. Regis on Ratchadamri Road, is high, as they are used to paying more than that in major destinations such as London, Hong Kong and Singapore, Mr Phanom said.Knight Frank will hold roadshows in Singapore and Hong Kong from March-May. Featured will be 40-50 units worth a combined 300 million baht at three high-priced condominium projects including the Nara 9 and the Royce Private Residences.

Last year it recorded 200 million baht in sales from a condo project in Bangkok that was promoted in Singapore, said Mr Phanom. With improving sentiment in the high-end segment, Pace will launch two new luxury projects, in Hua Hin and on Bangkok’s Lang Suan Road.For these, it will pay 1.5 billion baht for 120 rai on Soi Hua Hin 112 and three rai on Lang Suan. The inland Hua Hin site will offer 120 villas worth 1.8 billion baht, with units priced at 15 million. The Lang Suan site will become a 5-billion-baht luxury condo with a sellable area of 25,000 sq m and priced above 200,000 baht per sq m.

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