Turmoil hits Pattaya condos

Although launches of condo units increased in Pattaya last year, demand dropped significantly in the fourth quarter due mainly to political turmoil.

Surachet Konghcheep, associate research director at the property consultant Colliers International Thailand, said the protests in Bangkok since last year's fourth quarter had affected the resort's property market.

''Many foreign tourists cancelled their hotel reservations for the Christmas and New Year period,” he said. ''If political issues are not resolved within a few months, Thailand's property market including Pattaya will probably be more affected.”

In the second half last year, the average take-up rate in Pattaya's condo market was 71% compared with 76% in the first half.

There were 9,575 condo units launched in Pattaya in the second half, about 30% more than in the first half.

At the end of 2013, condo supply in Pattaya totalled 54,650 units. Only about 800 units were added to the market in the first half, while nearly 7,100 were completed and transferred in the second half.

The average condo price was 55,550 baht per square metre, similar to 2012.

Government agencies and property experts are concerned about oversupply, especially in the Jomtien area, where 10,770 units are scheduled for completion this year, more than in other locations.

Jomtien will continue to be the main player in Pattaya's condo market, particularly in the mid-range and low-end sectors, due to the large number of units launched in the past two years.

Many large projects were launched in Jomtien, some with more than 1,000 units. The area has lots of available land for future development.

Most condo projects launched in the last 12 months focused on mid-range and low-end buyers, although some projects in the upper end of the market reported strong sales figures.

Mainstream buyers, both foreign and Thai, were mostly looking for an affordable holiday home not far from the beach with good facilities and trusted management from a recognised developer with a good track record, Mr Surachet said.

Foreign and Thai buyers were affected by political protests in the fourth quarter, so they postponed decisions until the situation is clearer.

Many foreign buyers were unaware of big-name Bangkok developers, whose marketing was often not even foreigner-friendly.

The Russian market for Pattaya condos continued its resilience during the second half, and it appeared Russians were less affected by global economic problems.

European and American buyers did not show the same high demand.

Emerging markets such as China and India have started to invest on an increasingly large scale in Pattaya.

Costs increased for construction materials and logistics, so the average price of a Pattaya condo unit this year will probably increase by 5-10%.

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