Property

Is Violence in Thailand Finally Going To Have An Impact?

Is Violence in Thailand Finally Going To Have An Impact? The Land of Smiles is frowning these days. When a bomb blast ripped through central Bangkok in August, it was the latest demonstration of the country’s customary political unrest. Or was it? Thailand’s property market and vital tourist industry have weathered attempted and/or successful coups and currency fluctuations in the past, but it hasn’t faced anything quite so aggressive — particularly targeted at foreign investment — in years, if ever.

Rocky Road
Thailand’s second quarter numbers were fairly strong. Research by Colliers International stated Bangkok’s condominium supply, launches, take-up and prices were all on the rise despite some negative factors coming to bear, such as lowered confidence due to Thailand’s shaky economy, existing stock yet to be absorbed and a slumping mass market sector. Still, new transit infrastructure will have a positive impact on the condo market, and developers are tweaking their plans for new launches to avoid oversupply for the rest of 2015. In addition, “Second-hand and ready to move in units are becoming more interesting than newly launched units in the market, due to the lower prices,” said Colliers. In the office sector, Jones Lang LaSalle’s second quarter report noted office rents were still growing — albeit slowly — and tight supply is keeping demand strong. That, however, could change if the central bank’s reduction of the monetary policy rate to 1.75 percent doesn’t stimulate the economy. In the second quarter, things were reasonably steady.

But then came August 17. In late August, The Bangkok Post reported that in light of already soft demand, developers were scaling back plans for new project launches ahead of what is traditionally peak sales season. Among them were some of the country’s biggest: Supalai, Property Perfect, Major Development, Noble Development and Pruksa Real Estate. “The impact from the Bangkok bombing on the property sector may be minimal in the short term but it will be bigger if the effect on tourism prolongs,” Pruksa managing director and Thai Condominium Association president Prasert Taedullayasatit told the Post. Micah Tamthai, vice president of real estates for Minor International (MINT) isn’t worried. He’s confident in Thailand’s resilience and it’s position as one of the world’s most attractive destinations. “Statistics have shown that visitors continue to go ahead with their plans to visit Thailand and we remain very positive about the steady increase in arrivals into Thailand in the future,” he says. Nonetheless, since the bombing at tourist-heavy Erawan Shrine, visitor arrivals have fallen 17 percent and research by travel data specialists ForwardKeys suggests fourth quarter travel plans to Thailand are down as much as 65 percent over the same period in 2014, with Chinese bookings down a whopping 350 percent.

Villa Repose
But it is business as usual in northern Chiang Mai and southern Phuket with MINT’s launch of a collection of private villas at The Residences at Four Seasons Chiang Mai. Overlooking the lush tranquillity of the Mae Rim Valley, the hotel’s five-star amenities are at residents’ fingertips. In Phuket, MINT is launching Anantara’s Phuket Layan, just 15 unique villas on Layan Beach offering access to the Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa and set against the backdrop of the Andaman coast.

The properties certainly aren’t the only ones like them in Thailand: the country has welcomed millions of dollars in investments in Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi among other similar properties. Tamthai argues that Chiang Mai’s position as northern Thailand’s most culturally significant city set it apart. “This is a great place to soak up Thai culture and to breathe in the delicate fragrance of Thai orchids, and thus has attracted increasing number of people to think about living and working in the city on a long-term basis,” he points out. Demand for ownership is on the rise, and branded residences provide investors peace of mind that it will be managed to high standards and provide as strong return. “It is more than just investment in terms of dollars for these buyers. Rather it is an investment in terms of lifestyle that they pursue,” he states.

Conversely, Phuket is a stalwart, stable market, but the less densely popular Layan area is seeing steady demand. “Layan remains a favourite with savvy overseas visitors seeking tranquillity on Layan’s untouched white beaches lapped by turquoise water,” says Tamthai. “Home ownership … has provided people who love Layan an ideal and comprehensive way to experience the lifestyle of this legendary place.” Anantara, of course, provides an alternative to the Four Seasons in a completely different environment. “With more luxury hotels entering various Asian markets in the last few years, we are seeing an increase in brand loyalty, with guests seeking hotel brands when they travel or when they are considering buying homes,” theorises Tamthai. “Branded residences are popular because the buyers are purchasing a lifestyle with which they’ve become familiar. With Residences by Anantara Phuket Layan, homeowners are buying laid-back luxury, intuitive service and a sense of discovery.”

The Residences at Four Seasons Chiang Mai are made up of two- to four-bedroom Lanna Thai style villas, each guaranteed indoor/outdoor living and surrounded by lush greenery. The Residences are available in three types: the ground-level Garden Terrace Residences with private plunge pools; the Wat Saengfang-inspired Mountain View Residences; and the multi-level Penthouse Residences, featuring rooftop master bedrooms and terraces. Residences by Anantara Phuket Layan range between three and seven bedrooms, and boast private infinity pools and unobstructed views of the Andaman Sea. In both cases, owners are welcome to take advantage of the facilities offered by the hotels, and entry into the rental programme is optional.

For details on The Residences at Four Seasons Chiang Mai or Residences by Anantara Phuket Layan contact Minor International at propertysales@minor.com. For information on Minor International refer to www.minorinternational.com.