As the most popular pick for Chinese buyers in Southeast Asia, as well as the #5 most enquired investment destination for Chinese property investors on Juwai.com for 1H 2016, Thailand’s popularity has made it one of the top playgrounds for both middle-class and high-net-worth Chinese – whether as a tourist, investor, retiree migrant, or expatriate. We take a look at why the Land of Smiles has charmed so many Chinese buyers below:
#1 Freehold allure and steady rental demand
A significant factor behind Thai real estate’s appeal to Chinese is its impressive returns – rental income from holiday homes in Thailand alone offer returns as high as 8%-10%,22 while rental yields in Pattaya average around 5%-10%.
Besides being tourism-driven, China’s growing expatriate presence in Pattaya is also driving constant rental demands. Once dominated by Europeans, North Americans, and Japanese expatriates, Chinese expatriates in Thailand have doubled to become the second-biggest group of foreign workers over the last five years.
This means a steady rental demand for apartments and condominiums in parts of Thailand, particularly in Pattaya- overall occupancy rates for Pattaya condos stands at over 90%. Fact, Ratchadaphisek has earned itself a new nickname as Bangkok’s new ‘Chinatown’, thanks to massive Chinese expatriate presence there.
With such strong rental demands combined with affordable prices
– especially when compared with the property prices in China – this makes Thailand a veritable gold mine for Chinese property investors, who consider yields and ROI as one of the main factors governing their property purchase decisions abroad.
Best of all, Thailand allows foreign buyers direct freehold ownership of condominiums, as well as common property co-ownership, which not only broadens the options for Chinese buyers in Thailand but is also eminently appealing for Chinese real estate investors, who are unable to own freehold property in China.
Chinese citizens now account for 13.3% of total work permits issued nationally in Thailand, a 19.4%y-o-y increase.
Chinese love Thailand, period. Whether it’s the beautiful beaches, mouthwatering cuisine, rich culture, vibrant nightlife, or its reputation as a shopping paradise, Chinese just find themselves falling for the life in Thailand.
#2 Holiday and lifestyle appeal
Its pulling power as a travel destination is so formidable that 220,000 Chinese visited Thailand during the National Day Golden Week holiday in October 19 – a 30% y-o-y growth that prevailed despite zika fears and the Thai government’s crackdown on Chinese ‘zero dollar’ tours – tour packages where Chinese pay a cheap sum initially but are then pressured to buy overpriced goods and services once in Thailand. At just six hours away from China, Thailand is a beautiful perfect location
To own a holiday home that is far enough to be considered a vacation spot away from China, yet close enough for weekend getaways. Easy and convenient accessibility via plenty of flight options from different parts of China is also a boon.
Beyond all these conveniences, Chinese also find themselves increasingly enticed by its beautiful and laidback lifestyle, especially when paired with its low cost of living, the famed friendliness and kindness of the local Thais, and world-class medical services.
This makes Thailand extremely attractive not only for Chinese buyers seeking holiday homes but also those looking for retirement homes for themselves or their parents.
CASE STUDY: SIAM.CASA, THAILAND
When Pattaya-based siam.casa decided to enter the fray to capitalise on the China market in early 2015; Managing Director Jonathan Moungchoo knew he needed a tailored strategy for Chinese buyers.
His first order of business was to find a partner in China that could help her tap into the right audience of buyers. After conducting intensive research for their ideal property platform, siam.casa found its match with Juwai.com. At the time, Thailand was in its early stages of popularity.
“Thailand property investment is very new for Chinese. It is not as popular as the US or Australia. We have to educate a lot of our clients. We invest time and money in bringing in new investors, people who had no interest in investing there before,” said Jonathan.
By the end of 2015, Juwai Data showed Chinese buyer interest in Thai properties surged 41% from 2014-2015. Now, Thailand ranks as the fifth-most enquired on country on Juwai.com in 1H 2016.
“What sets us apart from other agencies focused on the Thai property market is our ability to field all sorts of questions about Thailand. From enquiries about international schools to immigration and retirement in Thailand, we are able to answer them and this leads to them [Chinese buyers] having trust and reliability in our company,” explained Jonathan.
“It’s been great working with Juwai. We’ve had a lot of sales from Juwai leads, on a pretty regular basis each week. And while our conversions are not as high yet, overall, we’re still very satisfied with Juwai. We’d definitely recommend Juwai to others,” said Jonathan.
#3 Relative immunity from most global economic turmoil
The Thai economy has been known to weather global headwinds relatively well in recent years, and its economy has remained resilient – even throughout the 2014 Bangkok shutdown protests – on the back of falling oil prices and low external debt levels.
And while its economic momentum has slowed in the wake of the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the subsequent political uncertainty, the Thai economy’s sustainability has already begun to pull the country through a steady recovery and stayed on track to expand by over 3% for the full year of 2016.
Trade ties between Thailand and China have improved in leaps and bounds as well, and China has now risen to become Thailand’s top trading partner for the past two years. More importantly, ASEAN investment rules enable Chinese entrepreneurs who own a home and a factory in Thailand – a major ASEAN transportation hub – to gain access to the entire South-east Asian market.
With all these factors in place, it’s no surprise that Thailand represents a strategic investment choice for Chinese, especially Chinese businesspeople and tycoons.
We take a look at why Pattaya Property has charmed so many Chinese