Date of article: Q1 2019

The Bangkok condo rental market has lured investors with the promise of strong yields. However, not all condo units are capable of this. And even if you purchase the right condo in the right location, you still need to find atenant. The Bangkok Condo Rental Market2018 Snapshot presented by Dot Property contains an up-close look at supply, demand, and trends that emerged last year. UNIT TYPE One-bedroom condo units were the most in-demand throughout Bangkok last year. Almost 54 percent of all condo rental inquiries on the Dot Property Network was for single bedroom condos. There was solid demand for two-bedroom condo units last year with 28.4 percent of Bangkok condo rental inquiries being for this style. Meanwhile, 12.7 percent of inquiries were for condo units with three or more bedrooms. Studio units received just a little more than five percent of rental inquiries. PRICENearly a third, 32.1 percent, of Bangkok condo rental inquiries in 2018 were for units priced between THB10,000 and THB20,000.There was also strong demand for condo units with monthly rents between THB20,000and THB35,000 with 28.2 percent of inquiries coming in this price range. Bangkok condo units priced at THB10,000 or below received16.1 percent of condo rental inquiries in2018.At the high end of the market, condo units priced at THB35,000-THB50,000 andTHB50,000-THB100,000 received nearly the same amount of inquiries last year. Similar to Bangkok condo purchasing trends, price becomes less of a factor at a certain point, in this case around THB40,000, and most renters focus more on size, location, and amenities. MOST CONDO RENTAL SUPPLY The Khlong Toei district has the largest supply of condo units for rent on the Dot Property Network. There was a monthly average of 9,323 units listed in this district. The Watthana district has the second-largest supply of condominium units for rent in Bangkok. The Pathum Wan and Huai Khwang districts had the third and fourth highest supply totals in 2018.WHEN ARE PEOPLE SEARCHING FOR ANEW RENTAL? August is known as a downtime in the world of Asian real estate, but it’s also when Bangkok condo rental enquiries on the Dot Property Network were at their highest. In fact, nine percent of all enquiries in2018 happened during August. Peak season for new condo rentals was December and January which is to be expected. This is a time when people are starting new jobs or moving. Close to 20 percent of all Bangkok condo rental inquiries took place in these two months. Unsurprisingly, the slowest month for Bangkok condo rental inquiries as of April, a time when the city is at its quietest due to Songkran. The celebration of the Thai New Year sees a majority of people head home for the holiday with the public granted several days off work. COMPETITIONThe Bangkok condo rental market faces two main competitors: single-owner apartment buildings and serviced residences. These each into a different segment of the rental market. Single-owner apartment buildings – Units in single-owner apartment buildings are larger and tend to be priced at the high-end of the market (THB70,000+). Most of these developments are older buildings in prime locations that have been renovated in many cases. Demand comes from expats with high housing allowances who are either on assignment or do not plan on permanently working in Bangkok. Serviced residences – The serviced residence market in Bangkok is focused mostly on prime areas and targets ex-pat residents. It has grown in popularity in the past five years. A key driver of this is the fact prices at serviced residences are now competitive with new condo buildings in prime areas such as Thong Lor and Phrom Phong. The bulk of units in this segment are large one- and two-bedroom residences. Prices can vary considerably depending on several factors including location, services, and property brand. A well-known hotel can fetch a much higher premium even if the services and location are the same as a nearby competitor. THE EXPAT CHALLENGE The Bangkok condo rental market is supported by ex-pats. The majority of this group prefers to rent rather than buy. Unfortunately, the number of American, European, and Japanese expats working in the Thai capital has remained stagnant this decade. This group has historically driven demand for high-end rental properties in the city. There has been a surge in Chinese expats, but their impact on the rental market has been less significant due to the fact this group tends to have lower housing budgets, research from CBRE noted. The fight for ex-pat tenants will continue as condo owners must not only fend off other units, sometimes in their own building, but competition from apartments and serviced residences as well. LOOKING AHEAD Research from Colliers International Thailand showed almost120,000 condo units were launched by developers in Bangkok during2017 and 2018. These are due to hit the market during the next two years. With a significant number of new projects targeting foreign investors, it’s fair to assume some of these are going to hit the Bangkok condo rental market in the near future. The impact this will have remains to be seen. If investors who booked a condo unit take a look at the competitive rental market and opt not to follow through on their transfers, developers could take a significant hit. On the other hand, many Bangkok condo investors may forgo renting out the unit altogether and hold onto to it for capital appreciation.

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