BoT governor: ‘Warning signs for investors’

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The Governor of the Bank of Thailand (BoT) has issued a warning to Thailand property investors.

Speaking exclusively to English language daily newspaper The Nation, Veerathai Santiprabhob said the Thailand property market: “… does not look as good as it seems to be.”

He was especially concerned about the re-sale property sector.

He said Thailand’s central bank had used electricity consumption data to understand the real estate market much better.

Consumption of electricity in older condominium buildings has been in decline for some time, he said, suggesting many people have moved from old condos to new ones.

He told The Nation this is a warning sign for investors buying Thailand property with the aim of gaining rental returns.

The rental rate is currently flat, he added, while noting that non-performing loans in some sub-sectors are still rising.

With low bank interest rates, many investors have turned to the property sector in search of better returns.

Using electricity consumption to shed light on the property market is part of the bank’s effort to use big data to better understand it, he said.

He also echoed one of our biggest issues with the Thailand property market, and one that is undoubtedly preventing more investors from entering the market.

Traditional real estate research data is not updated, he said, adding that big data can provide real-time information and create new indicators.

Samma Kitsin, a real estate economist, said besides the need for people buying for their own needs, he highlighted two groups buying Thailand property now.

The first group, he said, are investors who are buying off-plan projects with the goal of quickly selling them for a quick profit.

The second group plan to buy residential units for rental yields, he added.

Research conducted by ThailandProperty.News showed a very high level of what appears to be speculative buying.

At one central Bangkok project which was completed within the past three months, more than 60 percent of its units are listed for sale across three of the kingdom’s top property portals.

The project was reported by the developer as being sold out for more than a year.

The Nation reported that many investors are looking for residential units in prime areas of downtown Bangkok where large numbers of expats stay.

From our talks with real estate agents in central Bangkok there is currently far more property for rent than people looking for homes to rent in central Bangkok.

This scenario is not an ideal one for investors in any property market in any city.

Andrew Batt
The author of this article is Andrew Batt, the founder and editor of www.thailandproperty.news. Andrew has been writing about property and real estate issues in Thailand and Southeast Asia for more than 10 years. He has worked for PropertyGuru Group, DDproperty, Dot Property Group, Hipflat and AsiaRents. He has also produced content for leading Thailand property developers and real estate agencies.
Email: andrew.thailandpropertynews@gmail.com.

6 Comments

  1. Dear Reginald, thank you for your comment.

    Taking the issue of speculative buying first, we have published several stories recently that include facts about this. There is evidence everywhere. Look at Facebook property groups, look at Thailand property portals, and you will see there are a large number of “sell before transfer” listings. One development in central Bangkok has almost half of the entire number of units listed on one property portal alone. This is not isolated. If you talk to any Bangkok real estate agency they will confirm this.

    Agency research will only report data from that agency. Without visiting all 80+ land offices in Bangkok alone and being permitted to see their Thai language registers of property transactions, there is no way to build a complete picture of what is happening. No one does this, and arguably only the Agency for Real Estate Affairs (AREA) comes close to providing complete market coverage.

    Hopefully that will change in the coming years and all transactions will be available online – as happens now in Singapore.

    Yes, we report on news from agencies because without it, no one would have any clue as to what is happening. Putting the five or six quarterly reports together will give an indication of the strength of the sector.

    Without reports or comments from real estate agencies and property developers there would literally be no property news in Thailand to report.

    Thanks again for your comment, Sir. We appreciate the time you take to make your comments known.

    Andrew.

  2. If you have research on this, why not include it to support your theory? Also, on multiple occasions you claim the agencies have agendas to sell property yet still report on the stats they provide. You confirm this in your comment to Anon. However, at least they provide figures to support their conclusions. You conclude there is a significant amount of speculative buying yet offer no evidence that I can find to support this apart from informal research.

  3. Anon, thank you. We share your view regarding the opinions of the Bank of Thailand versus those with the job of selling property.

  4. So basically going by the BOT chiefs comments and the electricity data the Thai property market appears to be experiencing another speculative bubble and the resale and rental markets are not very good. Personally, I would trust the opinion of the BOT Chief and the electricity consumption data over that of the opinion of a BKK based property firm.

  5. Gunther, thank you for your comment.

    The source of this story is the head of the Bank of Thailand, so the reason we felt this was of interest to our readers is because of the significance of the source. If the Bank of Thailand does have direct access to the individual electricity accounts of specific condo projects then we think it does give an indication of occupancy, just as driving around Bangkok around 8pm and counting the number of lights in buildings (and we know people who do that).

    Yes, we agree with you that it is not precise and there may be a number of reasons why electricity usage is high or low, but it does appear to be one way that the Bank of Thailand is trying to get up-to-date indicators. As you will know what we get now is always at least four months out-of-date and is never representative of the entire property market.

    Yes, we have opinions and with this story it does appear someone is trying to obtain a more real time picture of the market. Events happen every day that have the potential to impact foreign investors in both ways. That’s why we report the news and ask questions.

    Right now Thailand is heavily reliant on foreign property buyers and anything that has the potential to impact that must be reported. This is one such story.

    Andrew.

  6. the source of story is using energy data to somehow make inferences about the property market which does not seem reliable. I do not want to say this is gefälschte Nachrichten but there are any numbers of reasons this could be. Also, last week you said more investors are coming but now you say more aren’t coming. Sir, what is your stance on this matter?

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