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Foreigners still interested in Thai property despite coup

Foreign investors have continued to expand in the property market even though the country has been under the management of the junta since May 22, according to Knight Frank Chartered (Thailand) Co.

"Last week, we roadshowed in Singapore. We [were able to] sell 12 condominiums on Sathorn Road to foreign buyers from both Asia, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, and Europe, such as the UK," executive director Frank Khan said yesterday.

Foreign investors have understood what's happening here and also have continued to have confidence to invest, especially in residential projects, because prices are still lower than in other countries in Asean, he said.

European buyers especially from Britain and Russia are looking for units in the resort destinations of Pattaya and Phuket at prices ranging from Bt5 million to more than Bt10 million.

The company plans to promote the Thai property market in Singapore, Hong Kong and Britain in the second half of this year with the focus on condominiums and resort residences.

Local investors are interested in properties in Asia and Europe, as returns on real-estate investment are higher than on deposits and other assets. London is a potential target as real estate there still generates a return of 7-8 per cent a year, said Nicholas Holt, head of Asia-Pacific research.

Since last year, Chinese have been buying residences in London to accommodate their children who study in the city or to generate rental income. Residential demand in London is running 50 per cent higher than supply, so investment in houses and apartments has yielded high returns since the economic crisis several years ago.

"Residential prices in London this year are rising more than 50 per cent from four years ago," Holt said.

Khan said prime central London would perform well in the future. There are opportunities especially for non-UK buyers, but they need to study the market. This is because of the currency advantage of the baht, while there is also no capital-gains tax at this moment.

However, Knight Frank is aware that there will be a capital-gains tax in Britain starting next April, but does not know how much it will be.

"It is interesting to note that for any transaction happening before April 2015, the capital-gains tax is zero per cent. This means this is the best time to buy property in London," he said.

Thais are interested in investing in London. Individuals want to buy a place for their child to stay when studying in that city, and corporations want to buy apartments or retail outlets.

"Next month we will pick up Thai investors to visit London to see properties there, while in September property owners in London will roadshow their property in Thailand. They have continued to have confidence in Thailand at a time when the country is managed by the National Council for Peace and Order," he said.


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