Thailand: Prime time

Thailand, despite not securing a place in this years World Cup, is a country full of promise and hope for future success. It is this hope that sees many football fans in the country already wearing T-shirts for this years World Cup that state The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa: See you there.

The Thailand property market is another area that exudes confidence, especially in the capital city of Bangkok, where any space is sold at a premium. Above all, the residential and office building sectors are healthy and, overall, the signs for the future are promising.

One of the main factors influencing such a strong market in Thailand is the demographic of the country, where 33% of the population is aged between 25 and 44 years old. This sector is behind a surge in demand for property across all residential levels in the country, helping to overcome the negativity of the 1997 crisis and boost the property market of the future.
Despite this high demand for real estate, it is developers that have to pay special attention when embarking upon projects.

With the increases in oil prices, interest rates and overall building costs in the country, projects have to be carefully managed to ensure a profitable return. It is now evident that property developers are spending more money on the
finishing touches and marketing and advertising their schemes than ever before. They are taking no chances when launching projects to ensure they target the right consumers and gain their confidence. Not only do these projects have to offer value for money, but the Thai market is now focussed in the right locations, especially in Bangkok, as a unique selling point.

As we look to the future, a number of factors will determine how quickly the market continues to gain pace,
however, factors such as inflation, land and construction costs, the level of tax and interest charges will all play a part.

The rental market in cities such as Bangkok has also gained pace, with competition particularly strong in the serviced apartment sector. As space becomes a premium, rents are increasing for many, above all for those in prime locations within the city. Many developers are looking to new projects in areas such as Sukumvit in the city, where a strong expatriate presence continues to put extra pressure on the local property sector.

The past decade has seen the market go from strength to strength after a cautious start. The country can now look forward to increased growth in the sector as demand continues to outpace supply.

Paradai Theerathada is vice-president of communications and public affairs at GE (Thailand)