Mr. Nattha Kahapana, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Knight Frank Phuket, Knight Frank Thailand Co., Ltd., said that the Covid-19 epidemic continued to be severe, with the situation remaining out of control, in the second quarter of 2021. This was thus a negative factor that continued to put a damper on the growth of the condominium market in Bangkok. The severity of the epidemic increased since April, which significantly affected buyers and caused sales to below. Also, developers have had to increase their marketing and promotional budgets to stimulate sales. Large-scale developers can still support and propel their businesses forward, but small players may be facing more competition than before.
It was also found that, at the same time, some projects launched this quarter enjoyed outstanding sales or were able to close out their sales quickly. Developed by large players, these projects are located in the suburbs and have low asking prices, which make them easily accessible by their intended main target group with limited income. Despite concerns about the currently unsuccessful epidemic controls, large-scale developers remain confident in investing in the development of projects. However, small-scale developers lack confidence in investing as they are at a disadvantage in terms of fewer investment resources and possible liquidity problems.
From research conducted by Knight Frank Thailand, it was found that the Bangkok condominium market in Q2 2021 contained a total supply of 2,659 units. The number of new units sold decreased by 33.8 percent compared to the same period last year, and by 26.8 percent compared to the previous quarter.
The number of newly launched condominiums located in the suburbs stood at 72 percent, or 1,915 units, representing an increase of 22 percent from the previous quarter. The City Fringe and Central Business District (CBD) areas accounted for 22 and 6 percent of the supply, respectively. Although the overall new supply decreased, most of the supply is located in the suburbs, reflecting the projects developed by large local groups of companies.
Newly launched condominiums are priced starting at less than one million to a few million baht, or about 30,000 to 80,000 baht per square metre, while smaller companies have developed condominium projects at the price of 85,000 baht per square metre or more. Grade B condominiums accounted for 43 percent, followed by Grade C condominiums at 35 percent and Grade A condominiums at only 22 percent. As for Super Prime condominiums, there have been no such new condominiums launched this past quarter.
During Q2 2021, the market for newly launched condominiums was affected by the epidemic that flared up in early April, and remains severe and uncontrolled. There were 993 new units sold in the quarter, from a total of 2,659 new units added to the supply in Q2 2021, representing a sales rate of 37.3 percent, or an increase of 22.9 percent compared to the same period last year. Also, the sales rate increased 0.4 percent compared to the previous quarter. This increase in the sales rate reflects the 100 percent (sold out) reservation rate of a project launched in this quarter; sales were of approximately 730 units, representing 73 percent of the total units sold in Q2 2021. The said project is located in the suburbs and by a large-scale developer.
The asking price was not high, which grabbed the attention of buyers with real demand and investors, and they made decisions quickly. Most of the buyers include existing customers who are repeat buyers that already have confidence in the developer’s reputation.
The asking prices of condominiums in Bangkok, as of Q2 2021, decreased in all areas from Q1 2021, with the asking price of condominiums in the CBD being 240,609 baht per square metre. This marks a decrease of 9.8 percent compared to the same period in the previous year, or a decrease of 4.2 percent compared to the previous quarter. The asking price of condominiums in the City Fringe area was 116,225 baht per square metre, reflecting a decrease of 21.1 percent compared to the same period last year. The asking price of condominiums in the suburbs of Bangkok was 64,390 baht per square metre, a decrease of 19.5 percent compared to the same period last year, or a 6.2 percent drop from the previous quarter.
Asking prices in Q2 2021 has declined, as many completed projects reduced their prices in order to close out sales. The pricing discount strategies focused on attracting real buyers, including the offer of zero expenses for everything in the project; at the same time, developers can better manage cash flow and maintain liquidity in their business operations.
Mr. Nattha expects that, in the next six months, especially during Q3, the market will remain stable. The number of new projects launched in the next quarter will continue to slow. Developers will plan to launch projects in Q4 rather than Q3, which is believed to be the timeframe for the epidemic to be controlled. The number of new projects to be launched for sale is estimated to include no more than 5,000 units. The sensitivity of the economy to the epidemic remains an inevitable risk factor, and rising household debt could affect the purchasing power of the lower-middle segment of the market. Also, unresolved political issues can affect developers’ confidence, hampering visions of growing their investments.
The economy may need to extend its recovery period beyond initial expectations, which would heighten developers’ concerns about the situation. For the remainder of the year, it is likely that around 70 percent of project launches in the market will be from large developers, as they have been continuously accumulating land for development and have a stronger capacity for cost management than the smaller players.
They are also able to develop many projects simultaneously. Additionally, if the country is fully vaccinated and the situation can be controlled, along with other supporting factors, especially government measures to stimulate purchasing power, the country’s economy will be able to recover faster.