Demand for Thailand luxury residences has returned to the Bangkok property market, especially in the central business districts, where leading developers have responded by launching and promoting projects during the first half of the year.
According to a survey by an institution, Thailand luxury developers began aggressively marketing their top-end residential projects early 2013 after seeing demand return for the purchase of luxury homes.
Pace Development conducted a Dubai roadshow of its luxury condominium project, Ritz-Carlton Residences, which boosted presales beyond 50% of the project value of Bt12 billion.
Asian Property Development introduced a Bt3.3-billion luxury condominium, Galerie rue de 39, in the first quarter. Presales have already reached about 20%.
Sansiri, meanwhile, also plans to launch a luxury condominium on Wireless Road in 2013, with a starting price of at least Bt400,000 per square metre.
Another listed developer, Major Development, will hold a grand opening for local buyers of its Bt6-billion luxury Marque condominium in July. Although this is still two months away, it has already sold nine of the 147 units.
"We decided to launch our luxury condominium in July after witnessing demand for luxury condos return, from both domestic and foreign buyers," said managing director Suriya Poolvoralaks.
Eight of the nine units already sold were booked by local buyers, and the other by a Hong Kong investor with a business in Thailand, he said.
The Marque is Major Development's most expensive condominium project, with an offer price of Bt250,000 per square metre. It has been designed by the Palm and Turner firm of architects.
"We saw new demand from local and foreign buyers now that the supply of luxury residences is limited, especially for freehold projects, as a result of which we decided to launch our luxury condominium at this time," Suriya added.
Some of the luxury demand is from foreign buyers expanding their regional investment in light of the approaching implementation of the Asean Economic Community in 2015.
Thailand will then be a hub for foreign investors in both the office and residential sectors because its infrastructure is better than that in several other Asean countries.
"We will manage the [Marque] project through our subsidiary, Major Residences, which will also act for any owners who want to rent out their units," said the MD.
Seven of the Marque's units are penthouses, most with usable space of between 400 and 500 square metres. The biggest penthouse, covering 600 square metres, will cost Bt350,000 per square metre, or Bt210 million in total.
The project has been designed to include luxury features and facilities such as a gallery lobby, semi-private meeting room on the ground floor, fitness room and golf simulator.
The developer has applied for an environmental-impact-assessment permit, and plans to complete the project in 2016.
The investment budget will come from both Major Development's cash flow and borrowings from commercial banks. This will maintain the company's debt-to-equity ratio at not more than 2:1, Suriya said.
The company is also considering issuing a Bt1.5-billion debenture this year or next to support its business expansion, he added.