Looking back at how Asia’s resort real estate markets were able to sustain demand from Singapore and Hong Kong for nearly two decades is a classic case study of location, location, and location.
Granted much of the transaction volume was to cashed-up expatriates, yet the continued influx of new faces in the region created a property legacy. Door-to-door travel time has been one of the biggest stimulators, given the ease to pop in and out of airports such as Phuket for a weekend or short public holiday.
Today the gorilla in the room of these locational high-net-worth markets have turned decidedly urban and everywhere I look Bangkok is making inroads and becoming a key competitor to resort properties.
This morning as in too many mornings to count I am sitting at some 35,000 feet above the earth on a flight to Singapore. Popping open the Sunday Times, the first thing I see are advertisements and even one advertorial for Bangkok condominiums.
In a nutshell the sales proposition is similar across the board touting freehold ownership of condos for foreigners, low down payments, guaranteed rental yields of 5% for the first few years and easy access to the BTS and retail shopping havens.
Most of the offerings are sponsoring investment seminars and decidedly are taking a hard course towards to local Singapore and Hong Kong residents. The investment game abroad is no longer the domain of the expatriates but with real estate prices spiraling in their own cities, locals are increasing induced by attractive pricing that comes with financing abroad.
Bangkok developers who have been hard hit by reduced domestic demand this year are joining the herd to push towards supplementing the gap from the international segment. The nearest logical locations to market the increasingly smaller and cheaper flats are the twin cities.
Bangkok is visibly being uplifted by foreign real estate buyers and for the resort destinations the competition is unwelcome and troubling. A prevailing climate exists where the Thai government is taking increasing scrutiny on residential projects offering daily tourism rentals without licenses, hence the more measured risk for investors is shifting to CBD locations with a stabilized long-term rental yield environment.