Small developer dares to be different

An L-shaped house and another with a garden and swimming pool on the third floor represent one small developer's attempts to carve a niche in the housing market.

A porch area at one of Private Nirvana’s housing projects. The developer has launched a project of 80 single houses on a 23-rai plot on Yothin Pattana Soi 11.

Private Nirvana Co Ltd hopes that product differentiation will give it room to grow in a competitive sector.

"Innovative design is key to enable a new property firm to grasp a slice of the housing market, which is dominated by large developers," said executive director Katechai Norrachetwuttiwai.

Over the past decade, the company has launched five housing projects worth a combined 2.3 billion baht in Bangkok's Kaset-Nawamin area alone. They were sold out 8-12 months after being launched despite the company being a new face in the market.

They comprised two single-house projects, two townhouse projects and a duplex house project. All had fewer than 100 units priced at 4 million baht to 15 million baht. All were located within a radius of five kilometres.

"We launched our first project in 2002 with L-shaped single houses, which were very new to the market and rare at the time," Mr Katechai said.

Compared with box-shaped houses, the L-shaped one had a smaller usable area as some spaces were used for an outside garden. It also had higher development costs, making it more expensive.

However, the design got good feedback from buyers and Kiatnakin Bank approved a project loan due to its different design, said Mr Katechai, formerly sales and marketing manager of BMW dealer Barcelona Motor Co Ltd.

This year the developer launched a new project, Private Nirvana Residence, with a new design of a three-storey single house with a choice of a garden or a swimming pool on the top floor.

To have a 30-square-metre garden or a swimming pool of 2.7 by 8 metres on the top floor requires the structure to support a weight of 900 kilogrammes per sq m, higher than the usual 250kg.

The garden has a geotextile 40 centimetres thick to support the soil. However, large trees with penetrating roots cannot be planted.

The project, with a sales value of 1.2 billion baht, is on a 23-rai plot on Yothin Pattana Soi 11. It comprises 80 three-storey single houses priced at 12.9 million baht to 30 million baht for a usable area of 330 to 370 sq m.

Launched five months ago, the project has seen 60% of units sold. The company expects to close sales in mid-2013.

"Most of our buyers were living in condominiums in the Sukhumvit area and looking for a larger unit as their family extended," Mr Katechai said.

Private Nirvana also plans to launch two new housing projects worth a combined 1 billion baht on a 30-rai site in the Kaset-Nawamin area with unit prices of 7 million baht to 10 million baht.

"There's room in the Kaset-Nawamin area to develop housing units in this price range," Mr Katechai said.

During the past five years, prices of raw land in the area have almost tripled to 50,000 baht per square wah.

Mr Katechai said Praditmanutham Road is the new Thong Lor because of its many high-end shopping areas.

Next year more projects will be completed in the area, including 24-Hour House, a 24-hour food centre developed by Chic Republic's owner.

Phothara Co Ltd, owner of the Phothalai Wellness Centre on Yothin Pattana Soi 3, is developing Phothalai Convention & Event Centre with restaurants, a wine cellar and a golf complex.

K.E. Land Co Ltd, owner of Crystal Park, will develop a cinema complex and office spaces in the area.

About the author

Writer: Kanana Katharangsiporn
Position: Business Reporter