PROJECT DESIGN, facilities, and functionality are the key factors in a homebuyer’s decision on the purchase of a luxury residential unit in the central business district of Bangkok.
“I decided to buy a unit at Saladaeng One in 2015 as the project’s design, construction materials, and usable space matched my lifestyle when compared with other condominiums in the same area,” Assistant Professor Dr Kulachet Mongkol said at an interview with The Nation recently when asked why he bought a one-bedroom, 57 square metres unit at Saladaeng One, developed by SC Asset Corporation Plc. The property is one of the luxury projects in the area, costing Bt350,000 per square metre.
Kulachet said its location was the main attraction as the property is sited close to the mass transit network. Others are its design work using the right raw materials and space that matched his needs.
Saladaeng One was introduced to the market in 2015 with a starting price of Bt260,000 per square metre. Its sale prices has since risen to about Bt280,000 and Bt320,000 per square metre, depending on the location of the unit. The completed project, valued at Bt4.4 billion, is now 49 per cent sold and unit transfers to customers started early this year.
Rateeporn Visuthakul, who purchased a unit at Ashton Chula-Silom of Ananda Development Plc, said that the decision was based on her confidence in Ananda Development Plc and its management team as well as the project’s location and design.
Ashton Chula-Silom is one of the luxury condominiums selling at Bt280,000 to Bt320,000 per square metre. The completed project, valued at Bt8.5 billion, has already sold 80 per cent of the units, while transfers to buyers are underway.
Kunyarat Pladisai, who bought a unit at “Vittorio”, a luxury condominium developed by AP (Thailand) Plc, said that this is the first time she has moved into a condominium unit. She decided to stay away from her home in soi Thong Lor as she was much bothered by the noises from a nearby construction site and the heavy traffic in front of her property.
“Being a outdoor person, I never thought that I could stay in a condominium. But a visit to the Vittorio project changed my mind. The project’s facilities matched my lifestyle, with a swimming pool and a spacious green area. It also offers after-sale service,” she said.
Construction of the “Vittorio” has been completed. Up to 55 per cent of the project , worth a total of Bt3.2 billion, has been sold. The project’s sale price averages Bt350,000 per square metre.
Amid fierce competition in the property market, developers have adjusted their business models to cope with the ever-changing demands from their customers.
“We are now more focused on improving our after-sale service and added facilities for our clients via innovation and technology,” said Vitttakarn Chandavimol, AP (Thailand) Plc’s chief business group officer/condominium.
He said the company has adopted artificial intelligence (AI) in the design process of its residential projects to meet the new requirements of prospective buyers.
“We have also created a system of intelligence applications and other smart devices for extra securities, home services, and the convenience of modern living, among others. This marks a change from being just a property developer to one that caters to every need of our customers ,” Vittakarn said.
Recent changes in the property market has seen customers demanding new services and facilities as a priority over a project's location and design, especially in the luxury segment.
“Nowadays, when a customer shops around for a new home in the same area, he/she tends to select a residential project that provides more services despite the high price tag,” Vittakarn said.
To cope with the change in customer behaviour in the digital era, most property firms have now taken on the extra role of a service provider with the use of big data.
Ananda Development Plc is one of property firms in the luxury segment opting to heavily invest in the creation of new digital platforms for new services, based on big data summary.
The company's chief executive officer Chanond Ruangkritya said the technological advancement would gather speed in the next five to ten years and would play a greater role in revolutionising the property industry in many aspects from the construction process to the enhancement of urban living. The company will keep adjusting to keep pace with the technological disruption. Last year, Ananda announced a plan to become a UrbanTech company as part of its strategy to deliver urban living solutions to customers. It has also partnered with promising tech startups to provide innovative services to its condominium customers.
Besides the technology disruption, he said condominium developers in the next five years might face more business challenges, including the current uptrend in land prices in some locations of inner Bangkok.
When condominium developers pay higher land prices, they will have to raise the price of room units accordingly, while the number of potential buyers with high purchasing power might not expand fast enough to match the higher room prices. Part of Thailand's development depends on state investment in infrastructure projects under the government's 20-year strategy, which began last year.
Other property companies in the luxury market - such as SC Asset Corporation Plc, Sansiri Plc, Land and Houses Plc have also shifted their focus to new project design, facilities and functionality via technology.
“Luxury home buyers demand more for the hefty price and that means getting the best and broadest services from developers. This is the new goal of all involved,” said Vittakarn of AP (Thailand).