Archive for November, 2011

Cost multiplying for industrial market due to floods

November 20, 2011

The ongoing floods that have affected more than 59 provinces in Thailand have devastated huge swathes of agricultural land but the extremity of the floods have put more damaged industrial activity, including industrial estates and further potential flooding threatens more central locations causing greater disruptions to the supply chain, according to Colliers International Thailand.
While the floods have ravaged many parts of Thailand since August, relatively little damage to manufacturing was inflicted due to most factories being located away from initial flooding areas. However this changed on October 5th when water levels reached their highest point in living memory and Ayutthaya, home to significant manufacturing, was seriously affected. According to Narumon Rodsiravoraphat, Senior Manager for Industrial Services at Colliers, far greater damage was caused to industry in the last few days compared to the previous few months. “Over a hundred times greater financial loss to industry was incurred since 5th October due to severe damage to two industrial estates and two others have been evacuated in anticipation of flood waters reaching them”, said Narumon.

Many warehouses and distribution centres have been seriously affected especially in Ayutthaya area and along the main highway of Phahonyothin road which has become effectively the channel for water in the north to flow down to the central provinces. Over the course of the week further flooding is expected due to looming storms and industrial facilities in Pathumthani and Bangkok itself are now in danger.

According to Narumon, more than 500 factories have been forced to close during this situation and more than 100,000 workers have been affected from this crisis. “The damage from the flooding may be take up to two to three months to be accessed and rectified after the water level decreases as companies must take time for renovation of facilities as well as repair and re-operation of machinery”, she added.
The industrial market has picked up rapidly from 2010 and there has already been a shortage of warehouse space in some locations, especially good quality large space in Ayutthaya and some Bangna areas. Lamchabang, where there is strong demand for free zones, also seems short of supply. “Developers should understand more of the market demands and requirements in terms of specification, locations, layout, and general/free trade zones, etc. And we do hope that all new warehouse developments will all be raised floor”, said Narumon.
Although the initial reaction after the flood will be for the relocation of manufacturing, in reality manufacturers will remain rather sanguine according to Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director of Colliers. “Many have invested significant amounts of money over time and they are just not going to walk away”, he said. “It also takes time to create a supplier network as well” he added. Patima also noted that serious damage was not limited to Thailand and the horrors of the flood are also evident in Cambodia, Philippines and Laos. “Manufacturers will be wary of relocating to countries with less reliable infrastructure to cope with floods and they may decide that Thailand is a better location than say Vietnam or Cambodia due to this fact. However new investment for manufacturing locations may be shifted towards non flooding areas in Thailand. All factories, distribution centers, and logistics companies also must create and work out their contingency plan well enough in advance”, said Patima.

One possible ramification could be the development of back up storage centres in locations upon higher ground that can protect goods from damage. “After the riots in 2010 many office occupiers considered back up locations and the same may now apply for industrial activity”, said Patima. However, unfortunately the flooding story has not run its course and a better assessment can be made in a week or so time. “We only hope that further damage is kept to a minimum”‘ added Patima.


Residential market likely to remain uncertain for sometime after the floods

November 20, 2011

With the ever growing inundation of Bangkok and exhausting uncertainties regarding the potential flooding situation in the centre of the city; even in the best case scenario the pattern for the residential market will be difficult to assess even after the floods have receded, according to real estate company Colliers International Thailand. For the rest of the quarter residential launches are very likely to remain subdued due to current sentiment and logistics. However unlike the post May 17 2010 situation, when buyers jumped straight into the market, many will probably be cautious about making such a big decision as a property purchase until the ongoing events have ended and an analysis of the flood is undertaken, according to Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director of Colliers. “The full story will need to be known before buyers come rushing in again and developers will also need to reevaluate projects”, he said.


The decision as to whether to purchase landed property versus a high-rise condominium will likely be in favour of the latter due to the floods but even then people will evaluate which areas are less prone to floods. “Even if your high-rise home is protected you still don’t want the area inundated with flood water for weeks”, pointed out Mr Jeerapaet.  However long the delays in buyers coming back in the market the pent up demand is likely to increase and eventually a significant number of launches will take place. According to Tony Picon, Associate Director at Colliers, condominiums will be even more popular than they were before the floods. “We are noticing that more older people and children are staying in condominiums at the moment and the reason is that the owners are using units as temporary accommodation for their extended families”, he said. In the aftermath of the floods many who were forced to evacuate to centres may rethink their options. “You could find families encouraging one of their number to purchase a condominium unit and even help in financing, as it would then function as a back-up residence”, pointed out Mr Picon.


At the high-income end of the market the same reasoning could add to the trend for purchasing second homes in resorts such as Hua Hin or Pattaya. “Many have fled to these resorts especially people who don’t need to work in Bangkok such as children and the elderly”, stated Monchai Orawongpaisan, Senior Manager for Residential Project Sales and Marketing.  Again family pressure could result in more property being purchased not only as a weekend retreat but also as a back- up residence. “We could see significant activity in the market during the first half of next year based on this trend in Hua Hin, Pattaya and other nearby resorts”, he added.


While high rises will prove more popular, landed property will still remain a strong presence in the city. There are dire warnings of global warning leading to more regular flooding problems, including flash floods as a result of heavy downpours and a future trend could be simply opting for houses on stilts which reflected a common mode of living in the past. “Many countries have been affected by floods and stilt based housing is proving more popular with innovative designs coming to the fore which exclude the use of hardwood pilling”, said Mr Picon. The existence of such properties would also support the city in allowing water to run off quickly. “It is basically a way of accepting Mother Nature and living with it rather than trying to confront the situation “, he added.


Mr Picon pointed out that the problem for buyers finding locations that will be relatively safe from future floods is that effects can vary based on a number of factors. “Firstly, flooding is a combination of run-off from the north, heavy rains and high tides in November; and the impact of each differs for every flood leading to different geographical patterns of inundation “, said Mr Picon. The other variable is that the elaborate flood protection system for Bangkok is managed by politicians and administrators, and their priorities can change. “If the whole of Bangkok is inundated this time then buyers will face a big dilemma as to finding suitable locations in the future”, warned Mr Picon.