Bangkok condominium market cools down for Q1 2011

April 28, 2011

Concerns regarding an overheating condominium market supply were allayed in Q1 2011 with a fall of around 46% of new launches compared to  the previous quarter according to the latest Condominium Market Report from Colliers International Thailand.

Approximately 10,800 units were launched in Q1 2011 with slightly more coming from suburban Bangkok . The six months prior to Q1 were a frenetic time for the condominium market and Antony Picon, Associate Director of Research at Colliers believes this represented an aberration rather than a trend. “Many of the launches were tapping into the first time buyer market with small unit sizes and affordable prices and the reaction was similar to any new high profile product hitting the market  for the first time such as the ipad”, he said.  “After a while things steadied and become more sustainable and that is what we are seeing with condominiums now”, he added.

Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director of Colliers, stated that the recent Bank of Thailand’s loan to value requirements and the steady rises in interest rates went a long way to restrain the breakneck pace of launches. “There was considerable media attention at the end of last year regarding the high number of launches and prudent action has been taken that allows the market to consolidate rather than come to a complete halt and this can only be good for the market in the long term”, Mr Patima pointed out.

Increasing land prices and construction costs are creating pricing pressures and it will be difficult for developers to pass these on the buyers, claimed Mr Picon. “Unit sizes can only be reduced by so much and already there is talk of action to limit this so any future price rises will only be possible with strong economic growth translating into higher wages”, he said.

New launches for Q1 2011 were down compared with the previous quarter by around 46%. Just under 10,800 units were launched in Q1 compared to around 20,000 in Q4 2010.

In Q1 2011, the Suburban Bangkok area trumped urban Bangkok with the higher number of units launched. Many projects in the Suburban Bangkok area contain over 600 units.

Within urban Bangkok, the Northern Fringe and Southern Fringe areas have shown the highest numbers with approximately 1,600 units or 15% of each location from the total.

New supply

 Approximately 3,500 new condominium units were completed and registered at the Department of Land in Q1 2011 and the total number of the whole of Bangkok was approximately 300,000 units, and more than 39,500 units are scheduled to be completed in 2011. The number of condominium units under construction and scheduled to be completed in 2011 is the highest since the global financial crisis in 1997.

The average selling price in the City area is the highest at more than THB 95,000 per sq m, however this is nearly 13% lower than the average selling price in 2010. This was due to less prestigious projects being launched in Q1 2011.

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Bangkok remains the biggest supply of office space in ASEAN

March 21, 2011

Bangkok contains most office space compared to other ASEAN commercial cities including Singapore according to research by Colliers International throughout Asia Pacific. Tokyo contains by far the greatest amount of space in Asia as a whole with around ten times the amount as Bangkok. Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director of Colliers in Thailand asserted that Bangkok’s strong position is a springboard for Bangkok to benefit from the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. “The service sector will be a key factor in the changes that will occur in 2015 and the fact that there is a significant amount of office space already and potential for more is a huge advantage for the city” he said.

Research by Colliers shows that Bangkok has around 7,900,000 square metres compared to Singapore’s just over seven million. The other cities of Manila, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur are further behind but not by much, according to Antony Picon, Associate Director for Research at Colliers. Most of the supply in Bangkok occurred in the 1990’s. “Other cities are catching up but opening up the service sector in Thailand should lead to the next wave of office development” he pointed out. Mr Picon also explained that commercial activity in Thailand was centralized in Bangkok while in other countries it was more dispersed. “In Philippines there is a large office market in Cebu, Indonesia has Surabaya, Malaysia has Penang and Vietnam has an additional office market in Hanoi and Danang; in Thailand it is limited to Bangkok”.

One of the key components of the AEC is the allowance for 70% ASEAN foreign equity participation in all domestic service industries by 2015. “It takes time for companies to really pay attention to the changes and make plans for benefiting from this, stated Mr Picon. “Thailand has many service sectors that can compete in the region such as architecture and IT but companies must hone the skills of their employees to become true regional champions”, he said. “Language skills will be a key factor in all types of business in the future and this is one area that Thailand must move forward on”, he stressed. The danger for Thailand, according to Mr Picon, is the wish to have greater protection from non-ASEAN companies using the AEC to further penetrate the market.”The more protectionist clothing you wrap yourself in, the weaker you become” he warned. “Manchester United wouldn’t be where they are today if they didn’t play the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool”, he contended.

Mr Patima recognizes the great potential for Bangkok to be a key service sector provider in the coming decades. “There is still plentiful land available for office development especially close to the mass transit lines and rentals will remain very competitive within ASEAN”, he said. Mr Patima believes that concerted action by both private and public sectors should take place as soon as possible to ensure that 2015 will be a positive for the country. “If this happens then we will see a renaissance of the office market in the second half of the decade and Bangkok will continue to lead the way”, he added.

EARTH HOUR 2011 : One hand for our WORLD

March 18, 2011

Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director of Colliers International Thailand

Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director of Colliers International Thailand

Colliers International Thailand would like to invite everyone to be a part of EARTH HOUR 2011 campaign to help the EARTH.

Earth Hour 2011, the annual ‘Lights Out’ event, will take place on Saturday 26 March 2011 at 8:30pm. By turn off the lights for 1+ hour. “We are creating a campaign to public and our clients to be aware and to understand Earth Hour initiatives. We would like to raise awareness about better environment and sustainability living on the public’s perspective. We want everyone to get involved and have the sense of belonging of their own contribution to the earth.” said Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director of Colliers International Thailand.

“We start this campaign since 1st of March 2011 with 3 properties under our management, Deutsche Bank, Assumption University (Suvarnabhumi Campus) for AU Mall, Dormitory, Sport Complex, Car Parking and The Tepp Serviced Apartment and we are promoting this campaign with our clients during this period” he added.

Colliers International Selected By International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) as Top Outsourcing Provider

March 18, 2011

— Leading Real Estate Services Firm Makes Elite List for Sixth Consecutive Year —

Reinforcing its position as a best-in-class commercial real estate organisation, Colliers International has been selected as one of the world’s top 100 outsourcing providers for the sixth consecutive year as part of the 2011 Global Outsourcing 100®. The list recognises the best outsourcing firms across multiple industries, as selected by an independent judging panel organised by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP).

The Global Outsourcing 100 is a critical resource for all companies seeking to do business with best-in-class service providers and vendors. In this way, The Global Outsourcing 100 is more than just a ranking – – it is a critically important referral tool for any company seeking to find top-quality business partners.

“It comes as no surprise to us that Colliers International has once again been recognised as a leading firm by the 2011 Global Outsourcing 100,” said Douglas P. Frye, Global President and CEO of Colliers International.  “Our enterprising service philosophy and approach truly differentiates our professionals from other service providers. In addition, our shared culture and commitment to excellence has enabled Colliers International to accelerate the success of clients throughout the world.”

“To make this prestigious list for the sixth consecutive year is a great achievement for us and a true reflection of our company’s essence. At Colliers, our people are our asset,” said Piers Brunner, CEO of Colliers International Asia. “In Asia, we have carved a name for ourselves in service excellence and we will continue to advance further this year to become the undisputed top real estate organisation in the region. We look forward to collectively accelerating our success.”

Condominium growth matching demand in Pattaya’s vibrant market

March 15, 2011

The Pattaya condominium development market is in good health according to the latest market report from Colliers International Thailand. Supply of units in 2010 was the greatest since 1997 with around 4,700 being added and launches for last year were also strong with over 3,400 being introduced. However take up remains robust throughout all zones so the new supply is being absorbed well. “There are no concerns regarding a bubble in Pattaya as many are talking about in Bangkok at the moment”, said Antony Picon, Associate Director of Research at Colliers.

“Take up was high at around 70% in Jomtien which reflected the popularity of the lower end products on the market there” he added. The new darling of the condominium scene in Pattaya is Cosy Beach located in the Pratumnak Hill area, according to Mark Bowling, Senior Sales Manager at Colliers Pattaya Branch located on Second Road opposite Central Festival. “Several high rise condominiums are either currently under construction or in the relatively early stages of sales and marketing” he said. The Cliff by Nova Group was the first to enter the race in late 2009 and has successfully sold approximately 70% of its 427 units in little over 12 months, “a fantastic achievement taking into account the economic climate during that period”, added Mr. Bowling. Following on from the success of The Cliff, Nova Group recently introduced the similarly priced Legend on Cosy Beach, which together with five other proposed high rises in the same area, will increase the supply hugely in this hot spot by several thousand units between 2012 and 2013. Wongamat will also fuel future supply for 2013 with the introduction of three large scale luxury projects The Palm, Zire and W Tower. The success of Pattaya stems from a number of factors maintains Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director of Colliers, ranging from the introduction of retail outlets such as Central Festival shopping mall, a wider choice of trendy entertainment and dining venues, faster access to Bangkok and an increasing number of family friendly tourist attractions. “That is why many Thais are now purchasing property in the city like never before”, he added. Mr. Bowling was also keen to point out the number of local developers who are now well established in Pattaya, which provides buyers with confidence when purchasing off plan. “Local developers such as Nova Group, Heights Holdings, Iguana, View Talay and Rattanakorn Asset have a strong portfolio of already constructed products”, he said. “Also two well known listed developers, Raimon Land and Major Development, are engaged in the market here and for others the city is appearing on the radar screen”, he added. Despite the continued strength in the Baht foreign buyers from the Euro zone, United Kingdom and USA continue to buy property in Pattaya in large numbers. Nevertheless spending power has been curbed with the most popular price range being between three to six million Baht. Mr Bowling added “There is plenty of availability in this market segment as we see designers and architects have given much thought to innovatively maximizing limited floor space more efficiently thus reducing sales prices without sacrificing location, facilities and overall quality”. The Russian market has become a force to be reckoned with especially in Cosy Beach and Wong Amat. Growth in tourism from India and Middle East also presents an opportunity but one for the future claims Mr. Bowling. “They mostly have a huge desire to buy property here, but are still very cautious and many have modest budgets. I do however see these countries becoming super powers on the Pattaya property scene in the near future, just as the Russians started off slowly several years ago” he explained.

Bangkok Office Market Q4 2010

February 4, 2011

The year 2010 represented one of the least active years for the office market as a whole in Bangkok as businesses were preoccupied with political disturbances and a possible double dip recession for many of its export destinations. The latest Bangkok Office Market Report Q4 2010 by Colliers International Thailand was released with one positive being that limited new supply over the coming few years should help bring occupancy levels back up. Antony Picon, Senior Manager of Research, pointed to issues facing the office market. “Future limited new supply can provide the market with an opportunity to reduce vacancy rates over the next few years”, he said. Mr Picon feels that Bangkok should try to capitalize on future opportunities for service sector growth especially in the form of ASEAN 2015 liberalization. “Thailand should compete harder by improving education as well as more incentives from the Board of Investment .  Other countries are moving fast in the Business Process Outsourcing market such as Philippines and Vietnam; Thailand shouldn’t be left behind”, he remarked.

Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director of Colliers emphasized the positives including new incentives for Regional Operating Headquarters and growing interest from China in Thailand as a regional hub. “Thailand is located in the heart of South East Asia and could gain significantly from the dramatic changes that are shaping the region and this will be very beneficial for the office market,” he pointed out. Mr Patima was also optimistic regarding Sathorn Square, the largest office building in the CBD since Empire Tower. “It is time that we saw new modern office towers being built in our city which reflects the energy and optimism we feel about the future”, he added.

Occupancy rates remained stable over the course of the year as a whole but with variance according to area. The Northern Fringe dipped from just over 86% to just below 84%, while the Outer CBD improved by about the same amount and now reaches 86%. The CBD registered about a 1% improvement over the course of 2010. Rental rates remained fairly static in 2010 as landlords maintain rates and provide incentives to attract tenant s to stay put.  Only just under 6,000 sq m was added to supply in 2010 in the form of Office@Sivatel . “In many ways the big story of the office market in 2010 was that there was no story,” asserted Mr Picon. “ My forecast for 2011 is the same again although the opening of Sathorn Square in Q1 2011 will alter the dynamics in the Sathorn Road area but overall the tense global financial situation and lingering domestic tensions will keep many businesses in a holding pattern” he said. However Mr Picon ended on a more optimistic note. “If the country can move forward in the latter half of the year with developing its service sector in a more stable environment, then we might see a big improvement ”.

Bangkok Retail Market Report Year End 2010

January 25, 2011

The retail market in Bangkok remained resilient in 2010 against the backdrop of the troubles in April and May, according the latest report from the Colliers International Thailand. Rentals remained stable over the year and th ere was even a slight uptick in occupancy in all areas.  Around 185,000 sq m of retail space was added to supply in 2010 and in Q4 five community malls came online adding approximately 38,000 sq m. Although these community malls are small in size they represent an increasing feature of people’s daily lives, according to Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director of Colliers. “They fit into the pattern of condominium development around the city”, he pointed out. “They are also beneficial to the environment as they reduce the need to drive long distances to shop”, he added.

The big story for 2010 was the sale of Carrefour’s hypermarkets to Big C, another hypermarket chain. This will create something approaching a duopoly and the high price recorded for the sale reflects the new reality for the retail sector in Bangkok’s urban area, contends Antony Picon, Senior Manager for Research at Colliers. “Impending legislation restricting large scale retail development in the centre of the city will lead to existing retail centres having a premium attached to them”, he said. Mr Picon believes that the Carrefour episode is unlikely to be last. “Developers are likely to scramble for these increasingly prized assets”, he added.

Future supply for 2011 is expected to be just shy of 300,000 sq m based on current projections. However one of the key stories over the next few years is the renovation of existing centres. Mr Picon referred to the total difference in design of retail centres now and those that are decades old. “Modern centres have designs that entice people to move up its levels by allowing them to see what is above, where older centres just have straight forward ceilings that block the views of the uppers floors”, he explained. Mr Picon pointed out that older retail centres need to be refurbished in order to maintain their customer base. “When a new centre is placed alongside a much older one the difference in appeal can be stark, so developers have no choice but to upgrade in order to remain competitive” he said.

RICS Thailand announces the new appointment of new Chairman and office bearers (2011-2012)

January 22, 2011

RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) announced today the new Chairman and office bearers for its Thailand board were elected on 13 January, 2011 (Thursday) for a one year term of office with immediate effect.  

Patima Jeerapaet, PhD, MRICS, MVAT, MTVA, is Managing Director of CIT (Colliers International Thailand) Property Consultants Co Ltd, a global real estate services firm equipped with more than 23 years of knowledge of Thailand’s property market.  In addition, he also chairs the Property Committee of Joint Foreign Chamber of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT) in monitoring and enhancing Thailand’s property industry’s competitiveness.  He also serves as board member of Thai-Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce to promote Thai properties to Singapore and Swedish investors. 

The newly elected office bearers and members of Thailand Board are as follows: 

Major Office bearers:
Chairman:       Patima Jeerapaet
Honorary Treasurer: Navaporn Wongurai
Honorary Secretary:   Nicholas Brown
Elected Members: Apibarn Ariyakulkarn
Roy Beevor
Sonthaya Vanichvatana
Janet Geddes

Ian Hamilton

Simon Landy

C P Leong

Sutee Sumatanonsak

 Dr Patima Jeerapaet, the first Thai elected as Chairman of RICS Thailand, says “I am honoured to take up the post and hope to build on the achievements of Ian Hamilton and the executive team.  Having built a presence in Thailand for more than ten years, RICS Thailand has over 100 Chartered Surveyors practicing in the country.  I foresee the market of Thailand will continue to grow and become one of the key markets in South East Asia. I am looking forward to further strengthen membership services locally and create a strong RICS brand by working closely with fellow board members and staff of RICS.” 

About RICS & RICS Asia  

RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) is an independent professional body originally established in the UK by Royal Charter. Since 1868, RICS has been committed to setting and upholding the highest standards of excellence and integrity – providing impartial, authoritative advice on key issues affecting businesses and society. 

RICS is the worlds’ leading qualification when it comes to professional standards in land, property and construction. With over 150,000 members globally, RICS represents, regulates and promotes the work of property professionals throughout 146 countries. 

RICS Asia supports a network of over 11,000 individual professionals across the Asia region with an objective to help develop the property and construction markets in these countries, by introducing professional standards, best practice and international experience. It promotes RICS and its members as the natural advisors on all property matters. It also ensures that services and career development opportunities are provided to members. 

RICS Asia region covers national associations and local groups locating in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, The People’s Republic of China and the SAR Hong Kong. It also has members working across the region such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos PDR, Macao, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, The Maldives, The Philippines, Timor East and Vietnam.

Investing in Thai property market, be ready for the big changes, AEC 2015!!

January 17, 2011

Thailand’s property market is considered one of the major business sectors in Thailand which is inevitably on the boom with the economical development of the country.

Thailand has passed its turbulences in year 2010 which is considered one of the most difficult years in the Thai history as well as for businesses in all sectors. Surprisingly, despite the political turbulence, many huge deals were closed during 2010.  In fact, some property investment sales did hit the highest record.  This is an indication of high confidence in the property sector as investing in a property is a long term investment.

The property market is mainly categorized into 5 different sectors which includes: industrial, commercial, residential, retail and hospitality.  But when property is talked or discussed about, the general public will most likely perceive on the residential market or condominiums. So, what about the property market in Thailand? Will prices go up in 2011?  Is there really scarcity of land? Is it equilibrium for the property market and what will happen in 2011?

We have so many questions on our minds. There is no doubt that prices of property along the BTS or MRT lines will increase continuously because of the limited amount of land and the high demand.  This is a scarcity amongst developers because these are considered the prime locations.  However in the future, should these lines expand, I believe that land along the extended lines would then become more attractive for developers. 

For year 2011 – the right defined statement would be “Certainty is uncertainty”. We should be ready to surf the changing wave if there is any!! We should plan for uncertainty and be ready to apply all strategies for each challenge and each circumstance.

Judging from the Q4, 2010, I would view the Thai property marketing in each sector for below for 2011.

Industrial
Many key industrial estate developers were able to achieve their targets in 2010.  The overall industrial market seemed to have improved and growth is expected by 10% in 2011, especially in manufacturing, automobile and parts, electronics and IT businesses.  There are also more demand from foreign and local manufacturers for the expansion of industrial estates. The many concern for the industrial sector would be Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and Health Impact Assessment (HIA).

Commercial
The office market has improved slightly especially for Grade B office buildings because of the extended mass transit.  Many office buildings outside the CBD seem to attract interest from Tenants as well.  Within the CBD, many office buildings are adopting the trend of renovating their office buildings with a more modern look to retain existing tenants as well as attract new tenants. 
Where Regional Operating Headquarter (ROH) is concerned, no clear movement can be seen as yet but can expect to see results with 2011.  This year should be a brighter year for the office market. 

Residential
The overall residential market in 2010 mainly condominium was on the rise.  In 2011, this will rather be stable.  Condominium prices ranging between 80,000 – 120,000 baht per square meter will still be available within the city while on the outskirts prices would range between 50,000 – 75,000 baht per square meter.  Upper-end condominiums for foreign investment have slowed down because of the strong Thai currency there are still some investors who look for quality products at bargained prices.  This year we can expect for developers to gear their interest to building town houses or detached houses along the new mass transit extension lines.

Retail
The retail market has shown continuous improvement.  Local demand continue to grow strongly but for tourists, this might be a little hesitant because of the strong Thai currency.  There are many newly launched retail projects, for example supporting retail space in residential projects and community malls along the new mass transit lines.

Many big retailers and department stores are also adopting the trend to renovating / face lift / re-branding their stores to attract shoppers both in the capital and upcountry.  There are also a number of new shopping centers which is likely to be completed in 2011.

Hospitality
For hotels industry in 2011, we can expect that there will be approximately 1,662 new rooms for the upper scale and luxury hotel.  Hotel investors look for long term investment.  Please do not perceive this to be an oversupply because the expected payback period for hotel investors in between 10 – 12 years.  Hotel investors invest with an objective for capital gain in the future.  The low labor costs, low material costs and low import cost since 2010 are striving hotel investors to seize the opportunity for construction.

Like other businesses, the property market also has its life cycle. Certain properties within the main business and shopping areas are also starting to rejuvenate their assets such as properties within the Sam Yan area of Chulalongkorn University properties, Bangkok Bazaar and Langsuan of Crown Property Bureau, some old shop house projects along Sukhumvit Roads and other main roads.

Nevertheless, there is another sector that the locals should look into as another choice of property investment.  This is the agricultural sector which is rather sensitive, complex and controversial with regards to property rights and cultural rights.  This is an opportunity for the local property investors and is a way for life’s sustainability as well.

Another major change in the Thai property market we look towards in 2011, is the possibility of leasehold extension that will encourage and assist Thai developers, Thai investors as well as foreign investors in their property investment.  This will also bring in foreign direct investment into the country.

Looking a little bit further, the major change in 2015 would be the Asian Economic Community (AEC) which will positively impact the property market in all sectors as well as transportation and logistics. The high speed trains from China and the roads connecting countries will hugely benefit Thailand.  AEC will open up businesses amongst the Asian countries.  Geographically with Thailand in the center of many countries, Thailand will have a larger distribution channel.  The public may be scared of over supply of condominiums but once AEC is introduced this will no longer be on ‘over supply’ as we will have more demand for residential.  There will be a higher possibility and opportunities for Commercial, Industrial, Retail and Hospitality sectors as well..

Some of the property investment tips are:
1. Aim for best price, high return with low risks
2. Be well aware of the rules & regulations
3. Select for good location
Use them wisely and they could make you rich. 

Dr. Patima Jeerapaet is the Managing Director of Colliers International Thailand
Please feel free to drop your comments or questions to patima.jeerapaet@colliers.com

Serviced apartments weather hard times but future supply poses more problems

November 22, 2010

The serviced apartment market bounced back after a torrid Q2 with occupancy up as expats flocked back to the city, according to Colliers International Thailand research report for Bangkok serviced apartments in Q3 2010. While occupancy increased to around 60% in Q3 this still remains below the 70% recorded in the 3rd quarter of 2009. However Antony Picon, Senior Manager for Research at Colliers was upbeat regarding the numbers. “Considering what the sector has gone through the figures are robust. The Japanese are the key market for the longer stay segment of the market and most who left during the troubles appear to have returned”, he said.

But even if the market continues to pick up, the short term future could be bleak according to Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director at Colliers. He pointed out that in three years from 2009 to the end of 2011 supply could have increased by 40% which would be difficult for even a strong market to absorb. “The long term stay market, while keeping this sector stable compared to hotels, also means that you are highly unlikely to have an upsurge in expats coming to work here in a small space of time”, Mr.Patima said.

The new growth area for apartments is along Thong Lor road in late Sukhumvit.  Considering the distance from the CBD, rental rates in late Sukhumvit are the second highest in Bangkok, even greater than the upmarket Central Lumpini. Jean Marc Garret, Director of Advisory Services | Hospitality explained that a higher proportion of Grade A newer branded residences located in Thong Lor drive up overall rental rates. “Also the area has more of a community feel and is very popular with Japanese expats” Mr. Garret remarked. “The area also benefitted somewhat from the troubles in May as many expats felt it was far away from the riots witnessed on international TV stations”.

Serviced apartments are sandwiched between two types of business, according to Mr Picon; competing for short term business with hotels and long term stays with apartments for lease or condominiums. “They can do this successfully but many will have to distinguish themselves more in the future”, he added.  “ With their larger unit configurations some could develop a niche in the medical tourist market, especially for families coming from the Middle East or even create flexible home offices and meeting rooms for visitors who wish to conduct business”, he added.