While the number of local buyers in the condo market has slowed, foreign demand continued to surge, accounting for 24.6% of the total transfer value nationwide in the first half of 2023, up from 20.5% last year, led by Chinese buyers.
Vichai Viratkapan, acting director-general of the Real Estate Information Center (REIC), said the proportion of foreigners receiving condo transfers nationwide in terms of value in the first half was higher than 20% for the second time.
"The rise in condo transfer value among foreigners resulted from full reopening in the second half of last year. This allowed foreigners who bought pre-sale units to return and complete unit transfers."
Furthermore, there had been an uptick in the number of foreigners purchasing completed, ready-to-transfer units from developers, he added.
The first time the proportion of foreigners receiving condo transfers in terms of value was higher than 20% was in the second half of last year at 21.5% -- a consecutive increase since the second half of 2021.
During that period, it was 15%, down from 16.1% in the first half of 2021, before improving to 19% and 21.5% in the first and second half of 2022, respectively.
The highest was recorded in the first half of 2019 at 17.3%, while the lowest since 2018 was in the first half of 2020 at 11.8%.
"Condo demand from Thais remains sluggish. To boost the economy, the government should promote condo purchases targeting foreigners. This could involve raising foreign ownership quotas in certain areas, such as Pattaya and Phuket," he said.
According to the REIC, the number of condo transfers by foreigners in the first half of 2023 tallied 7,338 units worth 35.2 billion baht, up 65.6% and 57.8%, respectively.
They represented 14.8% and 24.6% of the total, up from 10.8% and 20.5% last year, respectively.
By unit, Chinese nationals remained at the top, followed by Russians and Americans while buyers from Myanmar who were not in the top 10 before 2022, were eighth after taking sixth place last year.
Buyers from Myanmar received condo transfers with an average unit price of up to 7 million baht, while Indians completed condo transfers with an average unit size of up to 89.8 square metres, the largest on average, he added.
Chon Buri province held the top position in terms of the largest number of condo transfers to foreigners, surpassing Bangkok for the first time.
The proportions for Chon Buri and Bangkok stood at 43.4% and 37.7%, respectively, compared to 30.9% and 45.5% in 2022.
Both collectively accounted for 81.1% of transfers nationwide, with Phuket ranking third at 6.3%, followed by Chiang Mai (5.1%) and Prachuab Khiri Khan (2.3%).
In terms of value, Bangkok came first with 20.2 billion baht, accounting for 57.5%, followed by Chon Buri with 9.84 billion baht (27.9%).
Phuket secured 2.38 billion baht (6.8%), Chiang Mai 1 billion baht (2.9%) and Prachuab Khiri Khan stood at 756 million baht (2.1%).
By unit price, the most popular category was below 3 million baht, with 1,586 units, accounting for 44.5%.
This price range has been the most popular since 2018. The most preferred size was 31-60 sq m or 1-2 bedrooms, with 1,909 units, representing 53.6%.
"The foreign market rebounded significantly although it still fell short of the level seen before the pandemic," said Mr Vichai.