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Chinese investors up demand in Chiang Mai

Demand for both condominiums and detached housing in Chiang Mai is strong, especially from investors from China, many of whom snapped up residences after visiting the northern province following the popularity of the Chinese-language movie "Lost in Thailand", which was released two years ago.

"Up to 80 per cent of our foreign customers are Chinese people who have a business in Chiang Mai, either a trading firm or a manufacturing plant," said Quality Houses CEO Rutt Phanijphand.

Foreign residential demand in Chiang Mai is for luxury homes priced more than Bt10 million, he said, adding that some male foreign investors buying detached housing in Chiang Mai will bypass purchasing a home in a joint venture with a Thai and instead marry a local woman, as Thai women can buy property.

Given the strong demand in Chiang Mai, Quality Houses has developed five residential projects in the provincial capital: Laddarom Elegance, Wararom Kaew Nawarat, Wararom Charoen Mueng and Casa Condo, and its latest project - Q House Villa Nakorn Ping.

Meanwhile, others listed developers such as Sansiri, Pruksa Real Estate, Property Perfect and Land & Houses are also expanding their investment in Chiang Mai.

Property Perfect's deputy chief business development officer, Wongsakorn Prasitvipat, said the company this year plans to launch is first detached-house project in the province - Perfect Place Chiang Mai - with a focus on both domestic and foreign demand.

"We will launch our new project in Chiang Mai this year, having seen strong demand from both local and foreign buyers who want a luxury residence costing more than Bt10 million," he said.

Furthermore, the property market in Chiang Mai is booming not only for residential projects, but also for the retail and hospitality sectors, following the provincial infrastructure that supports Chiang Mai as central business hub for the upper-northern provinces.

Chiang Mai also links with Chiang Rai province, which neighbours Myanmar and Laos and is the gateway to China.

Meanwhile, most major shopping-mall operators and superstore chains with extensive coverage in Bangkok already have Chiang Mai outlets, such as Central Group, which operates the Central Chiang Mai Airport mall and the Central Festival complex, with the latter opening only last year.

Tesco Lotus and Big C Supercentre also have branches in the city.

Adding to the list is the Netherlands-based ECC Group, which has invested Bt2.9 billion to open the Promenada Resort Mall in Chiang Mai.

Following property-business growth in Chiang Mai, land prices in the city have increased by between 10 and 20 per cent a year since 2010.

"We see overall land prices in Chiang Mai increasing faster than those for residential land," Rutt said.

Although the government's Bt2-trillion mega-infrastructure programme has been delayed by the ongoing political conflict, this will have less of an impact on property business in Chiang Mai because it already has sufficient infrastructure to support provincial growth, he added.


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