Property buyers from Myanmar shopping in Thailand are seeking residential units in Phuket and Chiang Mai, attracting a developer from the nation to invest in a single detached house project in Chiang Mai province.
Karlo Pobre, deputy managing director of property consultant Colliers Thailand, said interest in Thai property among buyers from Myanmar was expanding from investment purposes to recreational purposes.
"Buyers in Myanmar have been more active every year since the ongoing political unrest," he said.
"The recent wave considers Chiang Mai a retirement destination and Phuket for vacation homes."
In Chiang Mai, buyers were looking for single detached houses priced between 20-30 million baht per unit, according to Colliers. While freehold property ownership may be challenging, leasehold is acceptable for them.
"A local developer in Myanmar is exploring opportunities to develop a leasehold single detached house project in Chiang Mai because of the significant demand it perceives in its home country," Mr Pobre said.
The developer is working on a mixed-use project in Mandalay consisting of shophouses, a six-storey condo and a hotel that will be managed by a Thai operator, opening this month, he said.
In Phuket, buyers from Myanmar are interested in villas priced at 40 million baht per unit in locations including Laguna and Bangtao Beach.
They intend to use the residential units to live in and recuperate from healthcare visits as Bumrungrad Hospital plans to open a branch there soon, said Mr Pobre.
He said the first wave of buyers from Myanmar purchased Thai properties only in Bangkok, mainly as a safe haven for their own use, their children's education and their own healthcare.
Unit prices ranged from 20-70 million baht in inner-city locations, comprising Thong Lor, Asok, Phrom Phong, Nana and Phloenchit based on their proximity to hospitals and malls.
Sathon and Silom were other areas of interest because of the presence of schools and the Myanmar Embassy nearby, said Mr Pobre. Units in the first wave were ready to move in as they wanted to relocate immediately, he said.
The second wave bought condo units priced between 2-5 million baht near skytrain stations, particularly in the Bang Na area as they became familiar with the train line. Some young entrepreneurs looked for pre-sale condos to benefit from capital gains, said Mr Pobre.
"These buyers are upper-middle class, mostly young families aged 35 and older. They believe investing in Thai properties is safer than in their home country," he said. "Thailand is a second home as they still have business in Myanmar."