Things may be dodgy in other parts of Asia where cooling measures and other assorted regulations are being implemented and causing minor market freak-outs. It’s likely to pass — Asia is the global property darling right now — but for now it’s all pins and needles. Except for Bangkok, where there’s a veritable ocean between despair and ecstasy right now.
According to Colliers International’s first quarter Bangkok Condominium Report, supply in the city is down, but launches (over 16,000 new units), prices (6 percent) and take-up (62 percent) are all on the rise and the market is booming. Though the greatest demand for property is coming from domestic end-users, developers are bullish on the market in general. Despite being surrounded by better bargains, Bangkok luxury property is experiencing price and demand increases. And despite that demand, luxury stock is limited and Thailand remains the world’s lifestyle destination vanguard. “Demand for luxury real estate in Thailand is upbeat on the medium and long term outlook for the region. Many property firms are reporting a recovery of purchasing power affecting the luxury residential markets in Bangkok, as well as resort destinations and projects that were on hold, are now moving forward,” explains Thanawan Chaiwatana, managing director at Magnolia Finest Corporation Limited. Foreign investment is driving the new wave of activity and is aiding in the country’s property recovery.
The latest luxury development to come onto the market is the 60-storey Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard Residences, by MFCL, part of the DT Group. Sitting on just over one hectare of land in the heart of Bangkok on Ratchadamri Road, the city’s central business and upmarket leisure district, Magnolias is being positioned as the pinnacle of luxury in Bangkok and a new benchmark for Asia. Them’s is fighting words, but the tower’s design in itself is going to draw a great deal of attention.
The building features a spiralling petal design inspired by the project’s namesake — a magnolia — and will incorporate two layers of a three-dimensional architectural petal that spirals the tower’s height and the podium’s length. Set for completion in early 2015, the innovative architecture comes courtesy of DI Designs (also part of DT Group) and The Beaumont Partnership (North Point, Pattaya).
“The design of Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard deconstructs the typical tower and podium typology to render not a tower, but instead an elliptical skyscraper that balances the lyrical nature of a petal with tectonics as it moves vertically between ground and sky. Efficient elliptical floor plates at the tower and a … podium optimise stunning wide-angle city views for residents and hotel guests,” explains design director Surawat Hant. Complementing the novel exterior is a mandate to sustainability and compliance with Thai 2009 Green Building Code and certification by LEED.
The Residences are part of the larger mixed-used development that will house an exclusive shopping mall and Bangkok’s new Waldorf Astoria hotel. Magnolias is the kind of development that for some proves once and for all Bangkok is now a major property player with a mature market. And the development is just the kind of high-end, top-tier project that has become the standard in the city. “Certainly, this type of development is the next wave for Bangkok. Investors/residents look for property in a prime location that is multi-purpose and offers value for money,” says Thanawan. “The building fulfils its brief as a genuinely high-end project in Bangkok. Comprising beautifully finished residences… and a five-star hotel, the project is set to become the city’s most sought-after address for those who demand uncompromised luxury.”
The Residences at Magnolias comprise 88 one-bedroom units ranging between 517 and 646 square feet (starting at approximately HK$2.5 million) and 220 two-bedroom units from 775 to 1,141 square feet ($4 million). Rounding out the homes are two 3,230-square foot penthouse units and six penthouse duplexes ranging from 2,700 to 3,875 square feet (all starting at $18 million). Interiors are designed by PIA (Anantara Hotel, Okura Prestige) and boast three-metre ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, custom designed and manufactured Bulthaup kitchens and state-of-the-art appliances by Siemens, Kasch, Donbracht and Hansgrohe. Magnolias also features an exclusive clubhouse and lounge, fitness centre, swimming pool (and children’s pool) and a dedicated director of residences for all tenant needs.
And Magnolias is likely a smart investment, given its location and status as MFCL’s flagship development. Since its launch last year, the project has already seen a 10 percent price rise. “Due to its prime location, and the quality of the project, MRB will definitely perform very well in terms of investment potential,” Thanawan reasons, continuing, “Since the location is truly international we have got a strong response from foreign buyers from Hong Kong, China, and European markets.” Music to an investor’s ear.