Thai condo developer eyes Chinese, other foreign buyers

Thai developer Sansiri yesterday launched its flagship condominium, 98 Wireless, the country's most expensive condo project. Prices start at around US$2 million (S$2.8 million) for the two-bedders.
Thai developer Sansiri yesterday launched its flagship condominium, 98 Wireless, the country's most expensive condo project. Prices start at around US$2 million (S$2.8 million) for the two-bedders.PHOTO: SANSIRI
Mr Chutrakul said that Singaporean buyers look for good investments and rental yield,
Mr Chutrakul said that Singaporean buyers look for good investments and rental yield,

Thai property developer Sansiri, which has a partnership with its home country's mass transit operator BTS group, is making a big push to go international, starting with Singapore.

The developer opened its first international office at Ocean Financial Centre this week, and plans to open several more in China as it seeks to increase sales involving foreign buyers by 40 per cent.

CEO Apichart Chutrakul said that last year, the company clocked a 55 per cent jump in presales from foreign buyers at US$154 million (S$218 million).

"We aim to hit US$215 million this year," he said.

Chinese tourists have been flocking to Thailand, and Sansiri wants to tap on the country's appeal to woo Chinese buyers.

It is opening four offices in Chinese cities this year, including Beijing and Shanghai.

When asked about the closing of developer Country Garden's China showrooms promoting Malaysia's Forest City project, Mr Chutrakul was unperturbed, saying: "We are trying to build our presence there. The number that we expect for people investing in Thailand from China is very small."

He added: "That's why we need a presence for education, and explain to clients what we can and what we can't do for them."

The company made US$1.32 billion in sales last year, with 69 per cent of its revenues coming from condominiums. It has more than 300 projects across Thailand, as well as one in London.

Mr Chutrakul joked: "We went into London to gain a learning experience, and we learnt that it's difficult to do something in London."

The company is sticking to Thailand for now, he said, adding that Sansiri is unlikely to develop any projects in Singapore.

The company launched its flagship condominium, 98 Wireless - also Thailand's most expensive condo - yesterday.

Prices start at around US$2 million for the two-bedders, which are about 120 sq m.

Mr Chutrakul said he had received some Singapore enquiries, but added that Singaporeans prefer Bangkok's mass-market condos.

The growth in numbers of Singapore buyers of the company's Thai properties has been stable, he said.

"Singaporean buyers are looking for good investments and rental yield," he said.

He also noted that Sansiri's partnership with BTS group gave the company "good knowledge" on upcoming infrastructure development projects.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2017, with the headline 'Thai condo developer eyes Chinese, other foreign buyers'. Print Edition | Subscribe