Condo transfers dominated by Chinese nationals in 2022

Condo transfers dominated by Chinese nationals in 2022

Mr Pobre says that Bangkok was the top city where Myanmar citizens bought a condo unit as a second home.
Mr Pobre says that Bangkok was the top city where Myanmar citizens bought a condo unit as a second home.

Despite travel restrictions on the mainland, Chinese nationals still dominated condo transfers in Thailand last year, with the number of Myanmar nationals receiving condo transfers increasing to reach the top 10 for the first time due to economic and political reasons.

Karlo Pobre, managing director of CIM Property Consultants Co, a Yangon-based property consultant, said economic challenges had driven some affluent citizens of Myanmar to seek secondary homes in more secure and stable markets, particularly Thailand, which is a neighbouring country.

"Many families (in Myanmar) purchased second homes in Thailand for three key reasons," he said. "Firstly, for investment purposes in the form of a storage of wealth, secondly for better healthcare services and, thirdly, for their children's future educational use."

According to the Real Estate Information Center (REIC), the number of condo units in Thailand transferred to people from Myanmar rose over six times to 188 units in the first nine months of 2022 from 30 in 2021 and 26 in 2020.

This resulted in Myanmar nationals becoming the seventh largest nationality receiving condo transfers in Thailand in the first nine months of 2022 -- the first time they reached the top 10 since REIC began compiling the data in 2018.

In 2018, there were 48 condo units in Thailand transferred to citizens of Myanmar and this rose to 54 in 2019 before falling to 26 in 2020.

Mr Pobre said the decline in 2020 likely derived from Myanmar closing its airports once the pandemic broke out.

The increase in the first nine months of 2022 was driven by the reopening of Myanmar's airports in June 2022.

The average price per unit for condos transferred to Myanmar nationals was also the highest among those transferred to foreigners at 7.1 million baht, followed by Taiwanese nationals at 6.3 million baht and French nationals at 6.3 million baht, according to REIC.

Mr Pobre said the average price per unit that Myanmar citizens paid for a condo in Yangon was US$250,000 or 8.5 million baht with the average size being 70-100 square metres or with two bedrooms as they typically live as a large family of two or three generations.

"In the same price bracket, condos in Thailand are of relatively better quality and are more investment proof," said Mr Pobre, who is also deputy managing director for consultancy services at property consultant Colliers Thailand.

He said Bangkok was the most popular city in which people from Myanmar purchased a condo unit as a second home. They preferred Sukhumvit because it is near mass transit lines, followed by locations in close proximity to healthcare services and educational institutions.

Once Myanmar reopened its airports in June 2022, CIM and Colliers Thailand organised three virtual events in each quarter to educate potential buyers in Myanmar about having an investment plan in Thailand.

He said 10 of 50 people from Myanmar who attended the most recent virtual event in November 2022 were interested in buying units in Thailand and five of them planned to make a visit this year.

According to REIC, Chinese citizens represented the nationality that received the most condo transfers in Thailand through the first nine months of 2022, though the proportion dropped from about 60% to 48.9%.

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