Bangkok's new high-end residential launches at a 6-year low

Only 200 new condominium units were completed in 2Q21, the lowest since 2015.

There will be very limited high-end and luxury residential launches in Bangkok for the rest of 2021. According to JLL, completed condominium units totalled only 200 in the second quarter of the year. This is the lowest level since 2015 and well below the ten-year quarterly average of 1,200 new units. JLL notes that the three newly completed projects included La Citta Delre Thonglor 16, Chewathai Residence Thonglor 20, and Baan Sindhorn. Prime grade condominium stock increased to 68,500 units.

"There were no new luxury condominiums launched in 2Q21. The third COVID-19 outbreak that intensified in April-June caused many developers to postpone and delay new launches to the second half of the year, where they hope to achieve a better pre-sales rate and selling price."

Here's more from JLL:

End-users and long-term investors remain key sources of demand

Condominium purchasing sentiment remained weak in 2Q21. Wealthy end-users and long-term investors remained the key groups of active buyers in the premium market. The prolonged third wave of COVID-19 has created difficulties in sales and marketing activities, especially for sales galleries and in-person unit viewings. The market unsold rate stood at 4.7% as of 2Q21, equivalent to 3,250 units.

The demand for luxury rentals also remained low in 2Q21. Single-owner, multi-family apartments continued to face high vacancy. Landlords had to offer flexible lease terms and discounted rental rates to keep existing tenants in place. Many tenants chose to relocate to a larger unit type as monthly rates had come down, leaving many smaller units in the market vacant.

Promotional discounts continue to weigh down capital values

The prolonged third wave of COVID-19 further pressured condominium investment sentiment. The affordability level in the market remained low, both from the buyer and the renter perspectives. New unit take-up continued to slow and developers had to retain discounted prices on unsold units to stay competitive. As a result, capital values fell by 5 bps q-o-q.

Condominium net effective rents dropped by -83 bps q-o-q as owners struggled to fill their buy-to-let units. A limited number of new expatriates entering the country also caused the leasing volume in the rental market to remain low.

Outlook: Oversupply issue remains a challenge for developers

Both developers and buyers continue to hold off from making major investments and purchases. The overarching concern around condominium oversupply is expected to remain after the pandemic. Due to the third outbreak, the government ordered construction sites to be closed for one month, further delaying under-construction projects that are scheduled for transfer in 2H21.

As cryptocurrencies gain greater recognition and adoption, some local developers are now accepting major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as a means to pay for condominium units and to widen exposure to new sources of demand. Other sales and marketing tools gaining prevalence include guaranteed yields and waived common area fees, which we expect to continue seeing through the next 12 months.

Note: Bangkok Residential refers to Bangkok's high-end and luxury residential market.

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