Bangkok rapid transit stimulates land price growth in Q2

Bangkok rapid transit stimulates land price growth in Q2
Plots in proximity to the BTS Skytrain and future lines mount double-digit gains

By Property Report 25 Jul 2018 SHARE share-icon share-icon share-icon share-icon

The BTS Skytrain winds through downtown Bangkok at sunset. Travelers/Shutterstock

The average land price in Greater Bangkok rose 32.3 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, according to data revealed by the Real Estate Information Centre (REIC) via the Bangkok Post.

Prices appreciated fast in sites around the Thai capital’s future and existing mass rapid transit routes. Plots along the BTS Skytrain registered an average land price increase of 26.8 percent in the year to Q2 2018.

Locations near the planned Orange Line from the Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri were up 23.5 percent, followed by those close to the Dark Red Line linking Hua Lamphong and Maha Chai, with an increase of 21.4 percent.

Also notable was the 21.3 percent rise recorded around the Blue Line route of Bang Sue-Tha Phra-Hua Lamphong-Bang Kae, edging out the 21.2 percent growth around the BTS Silom Line.

More: Bangkok land prices skyrocket 1000% in 30 years

In locations where rapid transit lines had been planned, land prices were found to be 52.1 percent higher than those with no lines. Areas where lines were under construction were also higher by 32.1 percent.

Meanwhile, locations with existing lines had 24.2 percent higher land prices than those without.

The Phra Khanong-Bang Na-Suan Luang-Prawet area registered the highest land price growth overall in the city at 53 percent.

Nakhon Pathom, where the average land price rose 39.1 percent on the year, came in second, followed by the Ratburana-Bang Khun Tien-Thung Khru-Bang Bon-Jom Thong area with a growth of 38.2 percent.

In fourth place was the Samut Sakhon area with a rise of 27.4 percent. Inner Bangkok locations were collectively placed fifth with a positive change of 20.1 percent.

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Long-delayed property tax reform still stuck in Congress

Will Thailand see new land and buildings levies next year?
Long-delayed property tax reform still stuck in Congress

By Property Report 22 Jun 2018 SHARE share-icon share-icon share-icon share-icon

View of Bhumibol Bridge in Bangkok, Thailand. weerasak/Shutterstock

A committee of lawmakers tasked to vet a draft bill replacing Thailand’s outmoded land and buildings tax law need more time for deliberation, the Bangkok Post reported.

Deputy Finance Minister Wisudhi Srisuphan gave no assurance if the National Legislative Assembly’s standing committee for the tax reform can finish talks in time for implementation in January 2019.

The ministry and the committee have expressed differing opinions on several provisions of the bill approved by cabinet in March 2017. The NLA had ordered the ministry last year to conduct a survey determining the comparative tax burden between the bill and the old law.

The committee is proposing to lower the ceiling tax rate for homes from the ministry’s proposal of 0.5 percent to 0.3 percent. It also wants to decrease the exemption threshold for first homes from the proposed THB50 million (USD1.5 million) to THB20 million.

More: What will this Thai leasehold law mean for foreign tenants?

The NLA’s version of the bill would also tax first homes valued between THB20 million and THB50 million at 0.02 percent for every million in excess of the exemption ceiling.

First homes appraised between THB50 million and THB75 million will be taxed at 0.03 percent for every million in excess, while those valued between THB75 million and THB100 million will get a rate of 0.05 percent. Properties worth more than THB100 million will get 0.1 percent.

The committee is also looking to impose similar rates on second homes. Those appraised up to THB50 million will be taxed at a rate of 0.02 percent. Units in price brackets of THB50-75 million, THB75-100 million, and more than THB100 million will be slapped with 0.03 percent, 0.05 percent, and 0.1 percent in levies, respectively.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had deferred the bill in 2015 after a strong public outcry.

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Q1 Bangkok Condo Report from Colliers

Condominium Market
“Many developers are looking for new
locations for condominium development
projects. Therefore, the area along the Blue,
Orange and Green lines will become the most
interesting area for new condominium
development in 2018.”
Newly launched condominium units
from 1Q 2015 – 1Q 2018 by quarter
Higher confidence in 1Q 2018, so average
take-up rate in previous quarter higher than
past quarter.
Approximately 548,367 condominium units
are completed and registered in Bangkok.
Newly Launched Units
Approximately 14,050 units new launched in
the 1Q 2018, dramatically higher than in 4Q
2017 around 35%.
The average selling price of condominium
projects launched during the past few years
increased by around 5-10% per year and will
continue to increase in 2018.
1Q 2018
Forecast at a glance
Source: Colliers International Thailand Research

There were approximately 14,050 units newly launched in
the first quarter of 2018, total project value is about 54,636
million THB, dramatically higher than the number of newly
launched units in 1Q 2017 around 35%, as well as the
highest in the past few years. The significant increase in
the number of newly launched units was due to Thailand’s
overall economic situation in 4Q 2017 showed positive
trends, demand in the condominium market increased.
Approximately 70% of new condominium were launched
units in 1Q 2018 was located in Bangkok Suburban Area
outside existing BTS and MRT lines, but still located along
the under construction lines.
The number of condominium units that were completed and
registered at the Department of Land as of March 2018 were
approximately 548,367 units (excluded condominium units
are developing by National Housing Authority).
2 Market Report | 1Q Bangkok Condominium Market | Colliers Inter <> Research & Forecast Report | Quarter Year or Date | <> | Colliers International national Thailand
Most of all completed units are located in Bangkok Suburban
Area with around 63% of total completed and registered
Some areas along new mass transit lines that are under
construction become the new hot locations which all
developers try to launch the new projects, especially the
area that are not far from Bangkok inner city area.
Total new condominium units launch in 2018 may be not
dramatically higher than from 2017, around 3-5% or at
approximately 60,000 units, but also depends on purchasing
power in the rest of 2018 and economic situation.
The new mass transit lines are a positive factor for the
condominium market, as many developers are looking
for new locations for condominium development projects.
Therefore, the area along the Blue and Orange and Green
lines will become new most interesting area for new
condominium development in 2018 and next few years.
The New Residence Buyer’s Confidence Index, compiled
from a survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of
Commerce, continued to increase from December 2017 (56)
to only 57 in March 2018, the higher in the past many months.
This was due to Thailand’s overall economic situation in 4Q
2017 showed positive trends.
The average take–up rate of condominium units in Bangkok
is approximately 75%, with more than 36,000 units that are
waiting to be absorbed by the market. Roughly, 54% of unsold
units are for sale at THB 50,001–100,000 per sq m which is the
prices that many projects launched in the past few years and
in 2017 have sold. Although many developers have sought to
increase the number of high-end and luxury projects in their
portfolios, they cannot abandon the mid- and low-level markets,
which are the largest buyer groups in Bangkok.
The average take-up rate of condominium units with the prices
less than THB 200,000 per sq m was approximately 58%, and
the rate of condominium units selling more than THB 200,000
per sq m was similar (61%). However, condominium units that
sold for less than THB 200,000 per sq m remain dramatically
high in number.
Foreign buyers have become a new target group of listed and
well-known developers in Thailand, especially for projects
located in areas along Sukhumvit and Ratchadapisek Roads
and in the central business district. However, some developers
can also sell units in projects located in areas along new mass
transit lines currently under construction to foreign buyers.
Some condominium projects from listed developers slated
for launch in 4Q 2017 was getting popular with many clients,
and were able to close their projects in the first day of presale
day, such as, Noble Ambience in Sukhumvit 42 from Noble
Development Plc and The Line Sathorn from Sansiri Plc. Both
projects are very unique in terms of locations, designs and
prices. The prices are not much higher than the market price.
Average take-up rate of new condominium
units launched by quarter
Source: Colliers International Thailand Research

Source: Colliers International Thailand Research
New mass transit lines that are under construction and the
limited available land plots in Bangkok prime area and the
area around existing BTS and MRT stations are the main
factor to raising land price in Bangkok. High land prices also
directly affected to the selling price of new condominium
units was launched in the past few years, so average selling
price of newly launched condominium were higher in every
quarter. But average selling price also depends on locations,
developers and projects concepts.
The average price of new condominiums launched in 1Q
2018 was around THB133,000 per sq m, a increase of
approximately 3% from the past quarter, because there
were less high-end and luxury projects. The average price
of condominiums in Bangkok has increased every quarter
by around 3-5% depending on location, project concept
and market position.
New condominium projects in the areas close to BTS
stations are already more expensive than THB250,000
per sq mand continue to increase every quarter. The
average selling price of condominium projects launched
during the past few years increased by around 5-10% per
year and will continue to increase in 2018. The major factor
directly affecting new condominiums in Bangkok is the many
second-hand units that are still available in the market with
lower prices, so new and second-hand units in the same
location will compete for sales. Land prices also became a
major factor affecting condominium prices.

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Japanese Developers Flock to Thai Property Market

Japanese developers flock to Thai property market



Tokyo Tatemono Co., a major developer in the Tokyo metropolitan area, is the latest entrant into Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, even as the condominium supply in Bangkok is beginning to swell.

The company recently signed a joint venture agreement with Raimon Land Public Co. to implement a 9.1 billion baht ($288 million) development involving two high-rise condo complexes, one in Sathorn and the other in Prompong — both in the heart of the capital.

It is the first real estate project in Thailand for Tokyo Tatemono, which is over 100 years old. Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, the company is taking part in development projects under way in Singapore and Myanmar.

About 400 units will be built in total, each with an asking price of more than 10 million baht. Construction is scheduled to start later this year and completion is planned for 2021.

Katsuhito Ozawa, executive managing officer of Tokyo Tatemono, said he believes Thailand’s stable economic growth will continue to create more residential demand.

Raimon Land, which will own a 51 percent stake in the planned joint venture, has mainly specialized in middle- and upper-grade residences in central Bangkok.

CEO Adrian Lee said the company aims to double its annual revenue to 10 billion to 12 billion baht in the next five years in partnership with Tokyo Tatemono.

Japanese developers have been flocking to Thailand since Mitsui Fudosan Co., a leading real estate firm at home, tapped the market by teaming up with Ananda Development Public Co. in 2013 for a project involving 1,875 residential units.

Major rivals such as the Mitsubishi Estate group, Tokyu Corp. and Nomura Real Estate Development Co. followed suit via local partnerships.

The number of housing units built in 20 joint projects between Mitsui Fudosan and Ananda totals about 16,000, making it the largest among Japan-Thai alliances, while Mitsubishi Jisho Residence Co. and AP (Thailand) Public Co. have worked together on 11 projects supplying nearly 12,000 units in total.

The partnerships that have emerged include Hankyu Hanshin Properties Corp. and Sena Development Public Co., Osaka-based Shinwa Real Estate Co. and Woraluk Property Public Co., and Tokyo-based Hoosiers Holdings and All Inspire Development Public Co.

The property market in Bangkok remained vigorous in the first quarter of this year, said Nalinrat Chareonsuphong, managing director of Nexus Property Marketing Co.

“We have started to see more condominium projects that target Japanese people in Thailand and we expect to see at least four to five mega-projects come from Japanese developers this year,” Nalinrat said.

A Thai real estate analyst said on condition of anonymity that Japanese investors have turned to the real estate and service sectors as “a new opportunity” to expand business abroad on the back of steady growth in the property market, especially the condo segment, after previously having focused on the manufacturing sector.

The Thai government’s investment promotion schemes such as the Eastern Economic Corridor, a national project to develop a vast industrial area east of Bangkok, are prompting the expansion of mass rapid transit systems in the capital and suburban areas, encouraging foreign investors to tap into the property market.

Nalinrat of Nexus Property said the proportion of small and medium-size developers, including foreign competitors, saw a significant increase this January to March.

The rising trend of Japanese investment provides an opportunity for Thai developers to benefit from funding and expertise in innovative space management in residential complexes, the analyst said.

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Thai Elections Announced

Thai PM now says election to be held no later than Feb 2019

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Tuesday said a general election he had promised to hold in November would take place “no later” than February 2019, the latest delay to anger critics of the government.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attends the APEC Business Advisory Council dialogue during the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

The junta has promised and postponed elections several times since its 2014 coup overthrew a civilian government. The latest date was set for November but last month the military-appointed legislature changed the election law, pointing to further delay.

“Now I will answer clearly, an election will take place no later than February 2019,” Prayuth, who is under growing pressure both at home and abroad to return to civilian government, told reporters in Bangkok, the capital.

Hundreds of people have flocked to Bangkok in recent weeks to urge the military government not to delay the vote, some of the biggest anti-junta demonstrations seen since 2014.

The latest election delay has shattered people’s confidence in Prayuth’s timeframe, said Phongthep Thepkanjana, a former deputy prime minister and a senior member of the opposition Pheu Thai Party that represents the Shinawatra family.

Thailand is divided broadly between those backing former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister, Yingluck, whose government was removed in the coup, and the elite in Bangkok.

“I think many Thais, like me, no longer give a lot of weight to what the prime minister has to say right now,” Phongthep said.

“The delay is a symptom of those in power who know that once an election takes place they will no longer have power. That is why they want to delay election.”

The new pledge lacked credibility, said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political science professor at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University.

“Because Prayuth has backtracked on election dates at least four times, this new pledge is simply not credible,” he told Reuters.

However, the announcement gave investors clarity about Thailand’s political future, said Ongart Klampaiboon, deputy leader of the rival Democrat Party.

“This will create more confidence for people in the country, as well as foreign investors and business people who need to assess the political situation in their plans,” he told Reuters.

In January, parliament voted to extend by 90 days the start date for a new election law. The bill lays out rules for lower house elections and is one of four that need to take effect before the vote.

Critics say Prayuth wants to delay the vote to ensure the military retains a key role in political life.

He has hinted he would like to stay in power after any election, which is possible under the junta-backed constitution that allows for an “outsider” to be appointed prime minister.

“If Prayuth wants to step down smoothly, it has to be November this year and no other date,” said Rangsiman Rome, a leader of the Democracy Restoration Group (DRG) that organized a weekend protest.

Prayuth led the May 2014 coup following months of street protests aimed at ousting Yingluck’s government. Both Thaksin and Yingluck live in self-imposed exile after fleeing prison sentences for separate corruption cases.

Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Additional reporting by Panu Wongcha-um and Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Nick Macfie and Clarence Fernandez

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New Tenancy Act in Thailand

New laws provide greater protection for people who rent property in Thailand


People who rent property in Thailand will be given greater protection from unscrupulous landlords, under new plans announced by the Thai government.

Under the new laws, which come into effect on 1st May 2018, residential property landlords will be required to adhere to a new set of terms and conditions that ensures rogue practices are eradicated and that tenants are not victims of unfair contracts.

The new laws, which were published in the Government Gazette on 16th February, helps to remove many of the contentious scenarios or ‘grey areas’ which can often be disputed between a landlord and tenant.

One of the most significant points is that from 1st May, landlords will no longer be able to ask for more than one month rent and one month security deposit up front.

Additionally, a tenant now has the right to terminate their contract at any time, providing they give 30 days written notice to the landlord.

Landlords can not add extra charges on top of standard utility bills, protecting tenants from paying more for water and electric than they actually costs.

Landlords can no longer prevent access to the property or seize belongings should the tenant default on rent.

Landlords are also prohibited from inspecting a property without prior notice and they are also prohibited from charging a fee to renew a rental contract.

A landlord must return security deposit within seven days.

The new laws apply all residential property, including houses, condominium units and apartments.

According to, the new laws represent major changes to Thailand’s property sector.


But it’s not all good news.

The new laws only apply to landlords who own five or more properties.

Landlords who lease or sublease five or more properties, regardless of whether they are in the same building are now defined as a “residential property leasing business”, reported.

Legal firm Tilleke & Gibbins published full details of the new requirements on their website.

The Notification imposes the following requirements:

1. Residential lease agreements must include a version in Thai and must contain the following details:

a) Name and address of the business operator and its authorized person;

B) Name and address of the lessee;

c) Name and location of the property;

d) Details of the property’s physical condition, including any items and equipment in the property;

e) Term of the lease specifying its commencement date and expiration date;

f) Rental fee rates and due dates for payment;

g) Public utility fee rates and due dates for payment;

h) Service fee rates, which must be reasonable and at the actual cost paid for the services, and due dates for payment;

i) Other fees and expenses (if any), which must be reasonable and at the actual cost paid, and due dates for payment; and

j) Amount of security deposit.

2. Invoices for the fees in items (f)-(i) above must be sent to the lessee at least seven days before their due dates, and the lessee will have the right to check information related to the payments shown in the invoices.

3. Details of the physical condition of the property and equipment (if any), inspected and acknowledged by the lessee, must be attached to the lease agreement, and a duplicate must be delivered to the lessee.

4. The security deposit must be immediately returned to the lessee at the end of the agreement, unless the business operator has to investigate any damage to ascertain whether or not it is the responsibility of the lessee. If the lessee is found not to have caused such damage, the security deposit must be returned within seven days from the end of the agreement and the business operator retaking possession of the property. The business operator is also responsible for any expenses incurred in returning the security deposit to the lessee.

5. The lessee has the right to terminate the lease agreement early provided that at least 30 days’ advance written notice is given to the business operator.

6. Any material breach for which the business operator can terminate the agreement must be clearly written in red, bold, or italic font. The business operator can only terminate the agreement if written notice has been given to the lessee to rectify the breach within 30 days of receipt and the lessee fails to do so.

7. The agreement must be made in duplicate, one of which must be given to the lessee immediately upon execution.

Under section 35 ter of the Consumer Protection Act, any residential lease agreement which does not contain the required terms above shall be interpreted to include them as implied Terms.



Residential lease agreements must not contain:

1. Any waiver or limitation of the business operator’s liability from its breach of agreement or wrongful acts;

2. Any advance rental fee equivalent to more than one-month’s rent;

3. Any term allowing the business operator to change the rental fees, public utilities fees, service fees, or any other expenses before the end of the agreement;

4. Any security deposit of more than one-month’s rental fee;

5. Any term allowing the business operator to confiscate the security deposit or advance rental fee;

6. Any term allowing the business operator or its representatives to inspect the property without prior notice;

7. Any stipulation of electricity and water supply fees exceeding the rates specified by the relevant authorities; 8. Any term allowing the business operator to prevent or obstruct the lessee’s access to the property to seize or remove the lessee’s belongings if the lessee defaults on rental fees or other expenses related to the lease of the property;

9. Any term allowing the business operator to request any fee or expense for renewing the lease;

10. Any term allowing the business operator to terminate the agreement early other than for a material breach of the lease agreement by the lessee;

11. Any term making the lessee liable for damages incurred due to ordinary wear and tear from usage of the property’s contents and equipment;

12. Any term making the lessee liable for damage to the property, contents, and equipment that was not the lessee’s fault and in force majeure situations; and

13. Any term making the lessee liable for defects to the property, contents, and equipment incurred due to ordinary wear and tear through usage.

Under section 35 quarter of the Consumer Protection Act, a residential lease agreement that includes any of the prohibited terms above shall be interpreted as not including them.

Any business operator who fails to meet the above requirements may be subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year and/or a fine not exceeding THB 100,000 (section 57 of the Consumer Protection Act).

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Buying into Thailand’s economic dream scheme

ew of Thailand’s Pattaya sea resort, an area that hopes to benefit from the government’s Eastern Economic Corridor development scheme. Photo: Peter Janssen
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Chinese tourists flocking to Pattaya for transgender shows, Thai food, property – but not for sex

A transgender extravaganza that has been running since 1974, Tiffany’s Show in Pattaya is still going strong, packing in hundreds of ogling tourists every night. The entrance fee is not cheap – 900 baht (US$28) for an ordinary ticket and 1,600 baht for VIP seats – but this does not put off an audience that nowadays is more than 60 per cent made up of Chinese tourists.

Unlike tourists from many other countries, however, the Chinese do not seem to be attracted to Pattaya for its notorious nightlife of girlie bars and prostitution. They are more interested in all other things Thai, including the food, silk and the exotic “ladyboy” performances staged by the 44-year-old Tiffany’s Show.

“Many people have already visited the show and they have recommended it,” says Chan Xiali, 30, waiting outside the venue’s entrance with a friend. “We want to see the show because they [transgenders] are so beautiful and dance so gracefully. There is nothing like this in China.”

Chan, from Guangdong province, is a so-called FIT (foreign independent tourist) visiting Thailand, but is constantly guided by social media advisers such as WeChat, which provides input on everything from hotels to street food.

“I think the Chinese who come to Pattaya now are better informed,” says Alisa Phanthusak, managing director of Tiffany’s Show and part of the family that established it. “Everywhere they go in Pattaya they have WeChat giving them suggestions all the time. So this is the new word of mouth. And if you consider that China has a billion people, if you can get them all plugged in by word of mouth via social media, that’s your marketing.”

The show, however, seems to need little help in the marketing department. It hosts two annual transgender beauty pageants – Miss Tiffany’s Universe and Miss International Queen – which attract contestants from around the world. This year’s Miss International Queen contest on March 9 will see the entry of a Miss China (Macau).

Many of the regular shows, which go through two performance changes a year, are now stage-managed to cater to the rising number of Chinese viewers. They feature Chinese sets, costumes and Mandarin songs lip-synched by the performers.

“In the beginning we had a lot of [Chinese] group tours coming to Tiffany’s, but now the market has changed,” Phanthusak says. “Now we get more Chinese FIT customers than tours.”

That is good news for Tiffany’s bottom line. The Chinese group tour agents and guides demand at least 50 per cent of the show’s ticket price as their cut, whereas Tiffany’s keeps 100 per cent of FIT ticket sales.

Nevertheless, Chinese group tours help keep Tiffany’s – and hotels in Pattaya – packed, even during the traditional low season between May and September.

“For Chinese tourists there is no low season, or high season; they travel 12 months a year,” says Suwat Paepiromrat, director of sales and marketing at the Eastern Grand Palace hotel in Pattaya, which specialises in catering to Chinese tour groups.

There are hundreds of hotels in Pattaya and neighbouring Jomtien, offering more than 100,000 rooms. Some would have gone bankrupt long ago without the group tours from China.

“With Chinese tours we can reach 80 per cent occupancy,” Paepiromrat says. “We couldn’t succeed with any other market because the hotel is far away from the tourist zone.”

Paepiromrat, who also handles sales and marketing at another five Pattaya hotels, says he initially had a tough time filling rooms after the Thai government launched a crackdown on so-called zero-dollar Chinese tours over a year ago.

For rich Chinese, London and North America … for retirement are too far away. Pattaya is only a few hours’ flight and the prices here are not expensive

In September 2016, Thai authorities impounded 2,150 tour buses belonging to three Thai companies that provided the buses free of charge to Chinese tourist agencies. In return, the visitors were forced to spend at select shops. The crackdown, initiated to stop the scamming of Chinese tourists that was harming Thailand’s reputation, led to a 30 per cent drop in the number of visitors from China in the last quarter of 2016.

The cheap tours and shopping scams quietly resumed in Thailand last year, however, after the crackdown lost steam.

“They [tour operators] still try to get tourists to buy stuff, but they are buying less. They know better now,” Paepiromrat says. “The government thought only Chinese tour operators were benefiting from the zero-dollar tours, but actually it is Thai people who own the hotels and restaurants, so we are the ones who suffered.”

Although there are now fewer Chinese visitors travelling to Thailand in groups, the number of FITs is more than making up for the loss, official statistics indicate.

Pattaya has been a popular destination for a changing profile of visitor ever since the mid-1960s, when US servicemen stationed in the nearby U-Tapao airbase in Sattahip during the Vietnam war discovered it was a good place for rest and recreation. Japanese and European sex tourists flocked there in the late 1970s, then came Koreans, Middle Easterners and Russians – until the rouble started to collapse in 2014 – and most recently it has become popular among Indian and Chinese visitors.

Many of the earlier tourists bought condominiums and houses in Pattaya or neighbouring Jomtien, and settled down as permanent residents, with the benefit of retirement visas. Now, it is the Chinese who are buying property in the area.

Kevin Ding, a native of China’s Shanxi province, moved to Pattaya eight years ago to set up an online real estate agency targeting the Chinese market. Last year his company, Skyren Group, opened an office on Pattaya Beach Road, across from the landmark Dusit Thani Pattaya hotel and next to the equally upmarket Amari hotel.

The office, with large signage in Chinese characters, is hard to miss for the hundreds of Chinese tourists who roll by in tour buses each day heading for the beach, where they are dropped off for shopping or speedboat trips to nearby Koh Larn Island. At night the groups are taken for a wander along Walking Street – with its maze of girlie bars – or to the Tiffany’s Show.

Although notorious for its “nightlife entertainment”, a euphemism for the prostitution, Pattaya has a different allure for the Chinese, according to Ding.

“In my opinion, Pattaya is a big, modern city in Thailand which happens to be by the beach,” he says. “Chinese people like big cities, they like modern buildings, they like shopping. If you go to Chiang Mai [a popular destination in northern Thailand] it is more like a village than a city.”

Chinese don’t come here for the lady zone

To illustrate just how large Pattaya is, it boasts more hotels than Singapore, three giant department stores (with a fourth – Terminal 21 – expected to open by the end of this year) and more than 50,000 recently built condominium units, 6,000 of which remain unsold.

“For rich Chinese, London and North America are good places for their kids to study, so they buy there, but for retirement they are too far away,” Ding says. “If they come to Pattaya it is only a few hours’ flight and the prices here are not expensive. It’s cheap compared with other big cities.”

Before the Chinese, Russian tourists were the big buyers of Pattaya property, many of them investing in condominiums that they would then rent out to compatriots.

“The Chinese are now buying,” agrees Mark Bowling, a partner at Pattaya Realty. He explains that Chinese buyers have purchased a third of the units available at a new 500-unit condominium project in Pattaya built by SC Asset, a leading Thai developer.

Unlike European tourists, Bowling adds, “Chinese don’t come here for the lady zone.”

Ding agrees, to an extent. “Chinese don’t go to girlie bars, but for them the sex industry is a good thing. They think – so many freedoms. But it may be a negative factor if the husband is going to move to Pattaya with his wife.”

For Guangdong tourist Chan, standing outside Tiffany’s Show, it is also the Thai lifestyle that appeals to her.

“I’ve been to Korea before,” she says. “I think Korean and Thailand are beautiful but in different ways. I like Korea for the handsome guys and popular actors, but here I like it because the lifestyle is very casual and the food is spicy.”

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