CEO Morning Brief

Chinese, Russians Push Thai Condo Sales to Above Pre-Covid Level

Publish date: Fri, 05 Apr 2024, 09:23 AM
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TheEdge CEO Morning Brief

(April 4): Chinese and Russians topped the list of foreign buyers of condominiums in Thailand last year with visa waivers and geopolitical conflicts driving property demand above pre-Covid levels.

A total of 14,449 units worth 73.2 billion baht (RM9.5 billion) were sold in 2023, according to the Real Estate Information Center. That’s a 25% jump from 2022, said the centre, managed by state-owned Government Housing Bank.

Chinese buyers snapped up 6,614 units, or almost 46% of the total units sold, for 34.1 billion baht, the centre said, citing property registration data. Russians ranked a distant second at 1,260 units, followed by US buyers in third spot and Myanmar buyers in fourth.

About 41% of the condos were sold in Chonburi province, home to a number of beaches and industrial estates. Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city and a gateway for millions of tourists, accounted for 38% of the apartment sales to foreigners, the center said. Condos priced at no more than three billion baht accounted for almost 50% of the total sale.

Thailand’s temporary visa waivers for tourists from China and some others last year and a permanent bilateral waiver with Beijing from March 1 have helped accelerate sales, REIC said. Geopolitical conflicts were also cited as a factor in the statement, potentially referring to Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine and the political unrest in Myanmar.

“This shows that foreigners’ condominium purchases are improving and returning to normal,” said Wichai Wiratkaphan, acting director at the information centre.

Condominium sales last year were 13% higher than 12,798 units sold for a combined value of 50.61 billion baht in 2019, according to REIC data.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is counting on tourism to drive the nation’s economic growth, with the sector accounting for about 12% of gross domestic product and nearly a fifth of jobs. Last year, Thailand waived visas for travellers from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, India and Taiwan, and Srettha ordered airlines to add more routes while streamlining airport operations to reduce waiting times for visitors.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects a further recovery to 35-40 million visitors this year, including 8.2 million from China. That would put Thailand closer to its record foreign tourist arrivals of almost 40 million in 2019, the year before the pandemic.

Source: TheEdge - 5 Apr 2024

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