Zero-Covid policy hitting condo transfers

Zero-Covid policy hitting condo transfers

Transfers by Russians surged 100% in Q1

The number of condos transferred to foreigners in the first quarter this year continued to decline as citizens of China, the leading market, remain hampered by stringent travel regulations, according to the Real Estate Information Center.

Vichai Viratkapan, the centre's acting director-general, said the total number of condos transferred to foreigners this year would likely see a fourth consecutive year of stagnancy if Chinese buyers were unable to return.

"Even though Thailand reopened to foreign travellers, the Chinese are the key market among foreign buyers and that country's zero-Covid policy is expected to remain until the end of the year," he said.

The number of condos transferred to foreigners has declined consecutively since 2019 from its peak in 2018. This has mainly been attributed to a lack of Chinese visitors as more than half of the transfers were made by visitors from the mainland.

During the first three months of 2022, the number of condos transferred to foreigners recorded a year-on-year drop of 4.5% in January, 7.1% in February, and 15.5% in March.

As a result, total transfers decreased by 10.3% in the first quarter, with the Chinese accounting for the largest contraction of 38.1%.

Among the top 10 nationalities receiving condo transfers in the first quarter of this year, Australia also experienced a year-on-year decline of 5.6%.

The remainder experienced a rise of more than 22%, lead by Russia, which saw the largest increase at 100%.

The market share of the Chinese during this period also dropped to 45% from 59% in the years immediately before the (2018-19) and 61% during the period 2020-21.

"Two interesting, emerging markets in the first quarter this year were India and Cambodia," he said. "India emerged from nowhere, outside the top 10, to reach eighth by unit number, while Cambodia ranked in third place by value," he said.

In terms of the value of condo transfers in the first quarter this year, China was ranked top, recording 4.57 billion baht, followed by Russia at 435 million baht and Cambodia at 401 million baht, while India came in ninth with 271 million baht.

"We have to keep an eye on Russian buyers as they may face an impact from sanctions," said Mr Vichai. "Others include those related to Nato member states such as the United States, Britain, Germany and France."

Cambodians were also the nationality that had condo transfers with the highest value per unit at 18.2 million baht or an average 315,825 baht per square metre with an average size of 57.7 sq m.

Meanwhile, Americans were those who had condo transfers with the lowest value per unit at 3.02 million baht or an average of 60,314 baht per sq m with an average size of 50 sq m.

Condos priced at 3 million baht or below per unit accounted for the largest number transferred to foreigners in the first quarter this year at 1,109 units, accounting for 52.6%, followed by those from 3.01 to 5 million baht per unit at 504 units, representing 24%.

The most popular size was 30-60 sq m or one to two bedroom units (46%), followed by smaller than 30 sq m or studio to one bedroom units (38%).

The average unit size and unit price stood at 46.1 sq m and 4.87 million baht or 105,470 baht per sq m, respectively.

Bangkok and Chon Buri were the most popular choices for foreigners, accounting for 829 units (39%) and 677 units (32%), respectively.

The three other favorite destinations included Samut Prakan (230 units), Phuket (164 units) and Chiang Mai (97 units).

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