I get at least a dozen emails each week from fellow expats who have read an article or seen a vlog on Dan about Thailand and they either relate to it or have some questions; and yes I even get those that want to moan or tell me how bad my content is!
The subject of properties has become increasingly common. There has been a growing trend from expats who say they cannot rent or even sell their condo and so for the short term at least they have had to put any plans on hold. It’s a shame, but in life nothing is ever certain, and so we should expect some variables to come along and put a spanner in the works!
One retiree I knew in Hua Hin has just had to return home due to poor health and try as he might he was unable to sell on his condo before he left. He is back in Australia now and his condo sits empty in Hua Hin. This kind of thing is not uncommon.
I too have a condo in Pattaya that four years ago would have commanded 50k baht a month rental, nowadays I cannot even rent it for 30k baht. Issues like currency fluctuations from the Thai baht, Sterling to Aussie dollar are putting a strain on the Western property market in Thailand.
It is not only restricted to Thailand I should add. By all accounts the property market in the UK is somewhat depressed over uncertainty to Brexit.
I remember when the Spanish property bubble popped and it impacted thousands of Brits with villas there, but by all accounts this market has recovered somewhat and prices are increasing again following the crash over 10 years ago.
But Thailand is no Spain, is it?
Personally I think there is bags of opportunity in Thailand still but we must weather the storm now. For an investor looking to pick up a bargain during this uncertainty and shifting of foreigners residing here, it could well be a great time to buy.
You have some Western retiree expats wanting to sell because it has become too expensive to live in Thailand for them and some Russians are happy to cash in due to the Russian ruble being half the value of when they originally purchased a unit in Thailand. Don’t forget also many Westerners can actually cash in by selling at a discount due to the fall in value of their domestic currencies too. Some Brits, for example, purchased their property when the rate was 70 baht to the pound, now at 39 baht to the pound there is good room to reduce the sales price.
On top of this building work, although slowed, is still happening in areas like Pattaya. So you have lots of units on the market and a smaller demand wanting to buy. But, this is key I think, at the moment that is.
Thailand is improving its infrastructure all the time and we are seeing the increased numbers of Chinese and Indians replacing the dwindling Western visitor. Neighbouring countries also fall short of being a viable alternative to Thailand for visitors; so Thailand is a little protected here.
Pattaya and Hua Hin, naming just two locations, are far better destinations than they have ever been – it has never been a better time to live here. The country is moving forward and this has to be healthy for the property market over the longer term.
Seemingly everywhere I look there is progress. The main airports are growing and high speed trains are on the horizon – all boding well and in preparation for a growth in visitors that is expected.
The more people visiting Thailand, the more opportunity – and that is great news for the property market.
So although as a condo owner in Thailand I am somewhat frustrated I cannot sell right now, I am not overly concerned and feel it is more a waiting game whilst the market around it adapts during the significant transitions we are seeing.
Of course, what do I know, I could be wrong.
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