Noble deflecting poor market

Noble deflecting poor market

SET-listed developer Noble Development is bracing for negative momentum in the condo market, with a plan to launch new projects covering broader segments.

With locations that have potential and the ability to reach out to overseas markets, Thongchai Busrapan, chairman and co-chief executive, voiced confidence that opportunity remains for these "groundbreaking" projects.

Mr Thongchai said only less-appealing locations packed with unsold supply would suffer from negative growth.

"Our strategy involves choosing the right location, having strategic partners and access to international buyers," he said.

At least two new projects will be in the central business district (CBD) -- namely Wireless Road and Soi Ruam Rudi -- where demand remains strong.

The Wireless Road project will be a joint venture development with Hong Kong-based property investment group Hongkong Land. A super-luxury building with a sales value of 10 billion baht will feature units priced above 300,000 baht per square metre on average.

"This project is scheduled for the second half of this year, following Central Embassy 2, which is likely to be launched in the second quarter," Mr Thongchai said.

Next door to Central Embassy, Central Embassy 2 will be a luxury mixed-use property developed under a joint venture of Hongkong Land and Central Pattana.

The site occupies 23 rai of Wireless Road, the last plot of the former UK Embassy, which the companies together acquired for £420 million in January 2018.

According to Hongkong Land, the project will consist of Grade A office space with a gross floor area of 170,000 sq m and 120,000 sq m of retail area. The construction will be completed by the third quarter of 2025.

"Hongkong Land wanted to join us in luxury condo development, as the joint venture on the embassy plot will lack residences for sale," Mr Thongchai said.

A second CBD condo project is Noble Above Wireless Ruamrudee, which was renovated from Tenface Hotel on Soi Ruam Rudi -- the company's only hotel -- to capture higher revenue because the location is more suitable for condos.

"We will switch to condo projects from the hotel business, which gives us returns of only 15 million baht a year," Mr Thongchai said.

The resurrection of decade-old Tenface marks a return to the company's origins: the condo project was once branded Noble Ambience Ruamrudee in 2007. The 79 units worth 300 million baht saw poor sales upon their debut.

Mr Thongchai expects sales value to reach 1 billion baht, as unit prices have doubled to 140,000 baht per sq m from 70,000 baht per sq m on their debut.

Noble also plans to launch affordable condos to tap the mass-market segment, priced at 100,000-150,000 baht per sq m or less than 5 million baht per unit, after the first affordable project, Nue Srinakarin-LaSalle, recorded 60% of units sold, higher than last year's market average of 30% amid sluggish sentiment.

"We've added new customers to our database because the project's location is new to us," Mr Thongchai said. "Half of the sold units went to foreign buyers -- China, Hong Kong and Singapore -- where we have a strong network through Fulcrum, one of our major shareholders."

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