Economy October 28, 2016 01:00

By Special to The Nation

IN ALL the uncertainty surrounding the impact of Brexit, a windfall fof London’s property market has been the influx of Thai and other overseas buyers who are lured by the significant discounts that the market now offers with the depreciation of the pound. 

UK developers have always been keen on the Thai market and have promoted their projects here for three to four years.

However, the market was not that active and the project choices were limited until the electorate voted in June for the UK to leave the European Union. 

UK developers are now capitalising on the current situation by becoming increasingly aggressive in overseas marketing. 

Since the Brexit vote on June 23, CBRE has hosted up to five London property exhibitions and seminars for Lincoln Square, One Nine Elms, Lillie Square, Centre Point and Hampstead Manor. 

With Thai buyers’ interest clearly on the up, more developers are planning marketing campaigns and roadshows here.

Centre Point was marketed to Thai buyers twice last year and has grown in popularity in the local market following the Brexit vote, with the number of apartments sold to Thai nationals in the development having doubled.

A range of projects is being exhibited, from the most prestigious addresses in the heart of London’s West End, such as Centre Point and Lincoln Square with prices ranging from Bt1 million to Bt1.9 million per square metre, to Fulham Reach, which is located on the fringe of London’s Zone 1 with a more affordable entry price of Bt580,000 to Bt870,000 per square metre. 

The typical budget for Thai buyers is 1.5 million pounds, or about Bt64.5 million and above per unit. 

This proves the market has the purchasing power and willingness to pay, so long as buyers find the right property in the right location.

Local buyers are now also opting for larger two-bedroom units, instead of entry-priced studios or one-bedroom units.

The favourable exchange rate plays a key part in the buyers’ budget, as they can afford a higher price tag in pounds than they could with the same baht budget. 

To put things in perspective, a 90-square-metre, two-bedroom unit at Lincoln Square cost around Bt100 million in April when it first launched. 

In September, the same unit cost Bt92.9 million.

This is a significant saving for local buyers of nearly 8 per cent in just a few months, during which sterling dropped from Bt50.45 to Bt46.60. 

If we compare last year’s exchange rate in October – Bt55.47 per pound – to where the UK currency had dipped even further to Bt43.90 as of last week, a saving of 20 per cent is immense for buyers. 

With London prices at an all-time low, the opportunities are plentiful for Thai buyers to secure great deals. 

At a time like this, developers are capitalising on the weak pound to aggressively market overseas, while buyers are taking advantage of the increase in options to choose from and the discounted prices.