PLUS sees unemployment, mortgage restrictions affecting property market in 2021 but takes note of measures cushioning purchasing power.

Real Estate News Wednesday February 24, 2021 15:40 —PRESS RELEASE LOCAL

PLUS sees unemployment, mortgage restrictions affecting property market in 2021 but takes note of measures cushioning purchasing power.
  • According to Plus Property's view of the 2021 prospects for the property market, an increased number of new project launches are expected to take place as developers have better acclimatised to the circumstances. Developers are still focused on releasing unsold stock; they are urged to exercise caution by giving emphasis to launching projects with approachable prices in convenient locations, as well as seek new selling points to differentiate themselves from the competition.
  • Increased unemployment rate and restrictions on mortgage approvals by banks are expected to have a greater effect on purchasing power in 2021. Developers therefore have to continue to stimulate sales by maintaining price discounts throughout the year.
  • A positive factor that would cushion buying power and reduce developers' expenses in 2021 was the time frame extension for reduced ownership transfer fee and mortgage registration fee, for residential properties priced within 3 million baht. Another factor was the lending interest remaining at a low level, which will prompt home purchase decisions by buyers with the means.
  • Demand for Detached Houses continued to grow in Bangkok's western, northeastern and eastern zones. Townhomes in Taling Chan-Thawi Watthana and zones relatively close to inner city - Phatthanakan, Ramkhamhaeng, Kanlapaphruek and Ram Intra - attracted greater interest. For Condominiums, suburban locations serviced by the electric train have become more popular.

Ms. Suwannee Mahanarongchai, Deputy Managing Director, Business Strategies and Asset Management, Plus Property Company Limited, the full-service professional property and facility management agency, disclosed that findings from Plus Property's research and development division has led her to believe that many challenges are lying in wait for the property market in 2021. These challenges, which stem from a wide range of factors, include higher unemployment rate caused by the COVID-19 situation, the economic climate at present, and the tightening and restricting of mortgage approvals by banks and financial institutes. Said hurdles have exerted influence on consumer purchasing power. Nonetheless, there remains positive factors that help to cushion purchasing power directed towards the property market. The government has extended the measure to reduce the ownership transfer fee and mortgage registration fee to 0.01% for properties whose prices do not exceed 3 million baht, and has reduced the land tax by 90%. Meanwhile, lending interest rates continue to hover at an inexpensive range. Said positive factors will stimulate demand among buyers who have the means to make a purchase. In 2021, an increasing number of new project launches are expected and effort will continue to be made to rapidly release unsold units at existing projects. Property developers have become better acclimated to the circumstances and are focused on launching accessibly-priced projects situated at locations which offer convenient transportation options. On top of accommodating the degree of available consumer purchasing power, developers have also sought new selling points that differed from competitors and responded to the demands of present-day consumers.

The most recent survey undertaken by PLUS's research and development division, on the ratios of supply based on the type of housing, found that among residential properties that launched in the second half of 2020, supply had declined for condominiums. Even so, this category of housing retained the highest share of supply at 48% or 16,582 units. The runner-up category was townhomes, with a 38% share of supply or 13,065 units. Second runner-up was detached houses, with a 14% share from 4,767 newly launched units.

Detached houses: There was a total of 4,767 units of new detached house supply in the second half of 2020, rising by 6% from the first half. As a result, total supply on offer amounted to 14,985 units during this survey period. Demand increased by 11% over the first half of the year, amounting to 5,992 units or a selling ratio of 40%. Detached homes priced 5-7 million baht constituted the price range with the highest share of supply on offer, at 33% (4,902 units); this figure was an increase of 6% from the same period of the previous year. There was an increase in demand for almost every price level, barring those below 5 million baht. The price level with the greatest year-over-year increase in demand was the 10-20 million baht level, where demand rose by 53% and the selling ratio was 33%. Zones with continuous demand growth included the Pak Kret area in Bangkok's western zone, the Khlong Sam Wa area in Bangkok's Northeast and the Bang Phli and Bang Bo areas to the east of Bangkok. Said rise in demand can be attributed to expansions of the mass rapid transit network and the availability of jobs in the aforementioned area.

Townhomes: There was a total of 13,065 units of new supply in the townhome market during this survey period - an increase of 4% over the first half of 2020. Total supply on offer amounted to 29,675 units whereas total demand amounted to 13,074 units; the latter had risen by 14% over the first half of the year and translates into a selling ratio of 44%. Buyers were most responsive towards the 5-7 million baht price level - the location that attracted the most interest was the area along the stretch of Ratchaphruek Rd. in Taling Chan and Thawi Watthana districts. The 3-5 million baht price level was the second most sought after; buyers' increased attention towards this price level was attributed to the relative nearness of the properties' locations - Phatthanakan, Ramkhamhaeng, Kanlapaphruek and Ram Intra - to the inner city.

Condominiums: There was a total of 16,582 units of new supply in the condominium market during the latter half of 2020. This was an increase of 67% over the first half of the year and resulted in total supply on offer amounting to 100,918 units. Demand rose a miniscule 1% from the first half to 16,843 units, translating into a selling ratio of 17%. Developers put off investing in new projects as there was a large number of unsold, completed units, and continued to focus on releasing existing products. As a result, supply on offer declined at every price level in 2020. Buyers were increasingly favouring properties in the suburbs, prompting demand over some areas to rise in comparison to the same period of the previous year. Said areas include Ramkhamhaeng, where most of the properties in demand were located within 300 metres from an electric train station, and the Kaset-Ngam Wong Wan area which is receiving windfall from the soon-to-be-opened Red Line (Bang Sue-Rangsit) rapid transit service as well as the anticipated Brown Line (Khae Rai-Lam Sali). Purchase figures at existing and newly launched projects in the aforementioned areas have therefore increased, and the same can also be said for the Chaeng Watthana-Don Mueang-Khu Khot area and the Charan Sanitwong area near Thonburi Rd.

"In 2021, property developers have been able to better adjust to the circumstances and are expected to launch an increased number of new projects.  However, their focus would still be on releasing unsold stock.  Factors that need to be closely monitored and evaluated include the COVID-19 issue, in the aspects of controlling its spread and distributing vaccines in Thailand; the value of the Thai Baht, which has appreciated and could affect the recovery of demand from abroad; the tourism sector, the progress of COVID-19 vaccine distribution will gain tourists' confidence that also benefit the real estate sector; and household debt, which remains at a high level because of the loss of income sources - this factor has direct effect on the property market as buyers' diminished income and savings meant purchase decisions take longer to be reached.  Nonetheless, exercising of caution and constant self-adjustment by developers - who might aim for prices that correspond to purchasing power while  also developing new selling points that stand out from competitors and respond to present-day demands - and the cushioning effect from state sector assistance measures, which need to be continually released and have their associated restrictions relaxed and optimised to an appropriate degree, are believed to be adequate propelling forces that keep the property market moving forward," said Ms. Suwannee.

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