The recent pre-launch of Taka Haus by renowned developer Sansiri has generated a lot of buzz. I’ve received a lot of questions about investing in Bangkok properties and I thought why not put all these questions together and have them answered – by someone who is familiar with the Bangkok property market and has got personal experience investing in Bangkok properties. So I decided to grab hold of a good friend of mine Daryl Lum to have all these questions answered. Daryl runs an investment blog at www.daryllum.com where he has also detailed his own personal experience in buying Bangkok properties. Here is the transcript of the interview:
Kevin: Hi Daryl. Once again thank you for allowing me to do this interview with you. Before we start, could you tell us a bit more about who you are and what you do?
Daryl: I am essentially a real estate agent by trade. I also invest in some small businesses and I maintain my blog.
Kevin: When did you start dealing with Bangkok Properties?
Daryl: Back in end 2012. I was the project IC for a few projects which my company was handling back then.
Kevin: Why Bangkok and not somewhere else? Like Cambodia or Vietnam?
Daryl: Bangkok has very good infrastructure as compared to places like Cambodia and Vietnam. I do agree that Cambodia and Vietnam will eventually develop but the prices which Cambodian and Vietnamese properties are going for are almost comparable to properties in Bangkok. Do remember that Bangkok has a comprehensive rail line, two international airports and is relatively safe compared to other countries in the region. It will take places like Cambodia or Vietnam a few decades to develop the level of infrastructure that Bangkok has currently. Moreover, corruption is rife in places like Cambodia or Vietnam as compared to Bangkok.
Kevin: Versus the time when you started, how much has Bangkok changed?
Daryl: It has changed a lot. I travel up to Bangkok at least 3 times a year. Every time I am in Bangkok I see changes. For example, there was a 3-month gap between my previous 2 trips to Bangkok. In that time they built a link bridge from Central World at Chidlom to Platinum Fashion Mall. Many buildings have also been demolished to make way for new ones. Bangkok is progressing at an extremely rapid rate. There are a lot of Chinese as well.
Kevin: Tell us more about the property you invested in. What made you invest in it?
Daryl: It is a freehold studio apartment in Sukhumvit Soi 12. The closest BTS Station is Asoke. It is about 5-10 minutes walk from the BTS Station.
Kevin: Has the value gone up?
Daryl: Yes, it has.
Kevin: Mind revealing to us how much has it appreciated?
Daryl: Approximately 20-30%. Based on the price I bought it for and the current market price quoted by the property agents in Bangkok. In fact, there was a property agent who had a buyer who made me an offer on the house but I was not keen to sell.
Kevin: Did you get financing for your investment? How easy is it to do so?
Daryl: No I did not. It is not difficult to do so but because the interest rate was higher than what was in Singapore, I decided not to as the quantum of the property was not too large. It would be better to take an equity loan or “gear up” on your current Singapore property to pay for the one in Bangkok.
Kevin: One of the investors’ major concerns is managing the property after its completion. How would you advise they go about doing that?
Daryl: You should buy from a developer with good after-sales service. Most large developers have good after-sales service to manage clients’ properties. These developments may be slightly more expensive as compared to developments from smaller developers but in my opinion, this is a very small price to pay for a piece of mind. If you are looking to sell or rent the property, look for a proper real estate agent. Do not depend on the developer’s sales staff to sell or rent your property. Walk around your condominium. There should be real estate agent offices nearby.
Kevin: I’ve also had people claiming that is it very hard to sell your property in the secondary market. Is there any truth to this?
Daryl: No it is not. Some of my clients have sold their Bangkok properties.
Kevin: How do you see the Bangkok property market going forward? Is there more upside?
Daryl: I think it has run up quite a bit but then so has just about any property market due to the excess liquidity in the system. However, I do think that there is still more upside in the near term as the buying interest from the Chinese is still very strong. The rental market is very strong in downtown Bangkok. Thus if anyone wants to buy a property in Bangkok, please look at downtown Bangkok.
Kevin: For 1st-time investors, what advice would you give to them when investing in Bangkok properties?
Daryl: Buy a property from an established developer and in a very prime location.
Kevin: Before we end, anything else to add?
Daryl: Bangkok is generally a safe country. It is progressing extremely swiftly and it has a well-educated, young population. All signs point to a bright future for the country. Like all investments, investing in Bangkok comes with a certain degree of risk. Many investors want to make money but do not want to undertake risk. This is not possible. What we can do is to mitigate the risk. This is why we purchase from established developers and buy properties in downtown Bangkok. Essentially a property is a shelter. We should look at factors that would attract people to come to Bangkok to live and play. I personally find Bangkok a very liveable city. It is for this same reason that I will not buy properties in Cambodia and Vietnam.
Kevin: Thank you for your time! Appreciate your inputs.
Daryl: You are welcome.
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