For many years, thousands of foreign investors have been incentivized to invest in property in the Land of Smiles. The catalytic incentive was the 1979 Condominium Act, for the first time this allowed foreign nationals to own condominiums out right in their own name. This has changed the face of Thailand beyond expectations.
Over-night, a whole new, and vast group, of potential foreign investors became empowered to be part of Thailand’s determined push to put itself on the world stage as an emerging nation. The kingdom was determined to make itself seen as a modern, forward thinking nation that embraces modernity and welcomes foreign visitors, workers and investment.
Foreign investors correctly predicted that there would be significant profits to be made through capital gains and rental incomes by exploiting the new Condominium Act. The influx of foreign investment, not only brought capital into the nation, but also brought a new foreign workforce. New, essential skills became available, which in turn made Thailand attractive to international companies. The result of opening up the property market to foreign investment led to greater commercial and industrial growth, and thus prosperity.
Thailand’s economy started to grow faster than any other country in South East Asia, standards of living increased and unemployment fell, unemployment is currently one of the lowest in the world at under 1%. According to government statistics, in the early 1980s over 65% of the population were below the official national poverty line, the last official government figures from 2017 show this now to be 6%, impressive improvement by any standards.
With the economic boom came a veritable frenzy within the property development industry. Developments sprung up everywhere, landscapes and skylines were to be changed forever. Within a generation, cities like Bangkok and Pattaya had become unrecognizable from what they were just a few years before. With so many properties flooding the market, developers needed new incentives to attract prospective investors.
Investors Look for Greater Investment Incentives
Along with the Condominium Act, there were numerous incentives for foreigners to invest in Thailand. The idea of working or retiring in a tropical paradise was a major incentive, along with a cost of living far below what they were used to. With the entry level of financial investment being low, the idea of living the dream in paradise was very real prospect for a broad spectrum of potential investors. These obvious incentives soon became the accepted norm, as a result, investors started looking for more.
Looming Pitfalls in the Push for Modernization
Through their over exuberance, central and local governments suffered with a degree of tunnel vision, along with apathy towards potential pitfalls, the relentless, and largely unchecked, drive of the development companies, was sure to create problems in the longer term.
The relentless drive was, arguably, too fast. With insufficient and far too liberal views governing the poorly regulated developments in many areas, exploitation of towns, cities and neighborhoods was inevitable. Many areas became blighted by the level of uncontrolled growth. Characterless concrete started to dominate landscapes and destroy traditional ways of life, and surrounding infrastructures and services buckled under the strain.
After the implementation of the 1979 Condominium Act many of the early developments were, it must be said, of a very poor standard. Unfortunately, but necessarily, many of these early condominium buildings have already been razed to make way for redevelopment. With the increase in foreigners wishing to live, holiday and work in the country came the obvious demand for a better-quality living in modern, high-caliber built properties, along with adequate supporting infrastructure to accommodate the increase in population.
Local and foreign development companies quickly realized they needed to re-incentivize investors by adopting western design concepts and building standards. This was heavily advertised as they saw it as the ideal incentive to create more confidence in the potential foreign investor market. Very quickly build standards improved vastly, and infrastructures became part of new design concepts, the bar had been raised and high standards of build and design soon became the new norm.
Government Aids in Assisting Foreigners Ability to Remain
An early problem for foreign investors was Thailand’s visa system. It was, and perhaps still is, complicated and difficult to navigate. With numerous visa types and a necessity to regularly leave the kingdom, the visa system became seen as a hindrance in the drive to attract foreign investors.
In 2014 the Thai government helped in offering an incentive to foreign investors with the introduction of the investment visa. The investment visa was, and still is, an option for any foreigner investing a minimum of 10 million Baht, and as long as the investment is maintained the visa is renewable year on year. The property developers seized upon this and offered it free to potential buyers, along with the legal assistance in applying and obtaining this, or any other visa type, as an incentive to invest in their properties. Predictably, this very soon became the norm throughout the industry, the bar had been raised again.
Investors Incentivized with Off-Build Discounts
Within 10 years of the implementation of the 1979 Condominium Act the number of available units in the major cities had risen to an almost incalculable level. For the most part, these developments were aimed at the influx of foreign investors, workers and retirees. With the market becoming more and more competitive, developers, sought yet more incentives in an effort to gain a bigger share of the market.
For any developer undertaking a major condominium development, or indeed multiple projects at the same time, large amounts of capital are required and is tied into the projects. With build times from start to finish being anything up to several years, maintaining cash flow is essential. In an effort to maintain cash flow, developers leant more and more on the incentive of off-build discounts. These discounts are great for the investor and keeps cash flowing through the developer’s business.
Off build discounts were offered to potential investors if they agree to a purchase either before or during the building process. The earlier the investor agrees a purchase, and parts with their money, the greater the discount. Today, off-build discounts have become another norm within the industry, with savings of up to 30% being common. But just like all other incentives, as it became the norm, speculative investors started to see it as almost as part of their rite of passage in the process of negotiating a significant discount on their off-plan purchase.
The Digital World Re-Incentivizes the Market
It is undeniable that digitalization has changed our world in ways that were inconceivable just a few years ago. More and more people are now able to work remotely from anywhere. This fact has not been lost on potential property investors, many workers can now live outside the concrete jungles of business and commerce in more peaceful esthetically pleasing locals. This has created a major shift in the thinking and business models of development companies.
Bangkok had been, singularly, the place for the majority of foreign workers who desired working in a tropical paradise. But, with the capital becoming choked with concrete and traffic, and with the more and more hectic pace of life, investors looked for new horizons. So, developers sought to change the geography of the property investor market. The rule book of city development being the ‘be all and end all’ for major building projects got torn up.
Developers, quite correctly, identified a growing level of discontent from foreigners living in the major conurbations, along with growing apathy towards new city developments. Workers and retirees existing in the digital world wanted a new quality of life, a lifestyle that enabled them to work and reside in an environment removed from the stresses associated with city life, they wanted to be re-incentivized. Forward thinking developers stepped up to the plate and found new locations, came up with new, progressive design concepts to satisfy a new generation of digital workers and retirees.
New, First Choice, Investment Locations Emerged
Coastal locations have become a big incentive for investors, although, now, Pattaya is perhaps the exception to this rule. Pattaya has always been popular with foreigners but suffered with the same over exploitation as seen in Bangkok and is now paying the price with falling demand for properties. Capital gains and rental incomes have stagnated, resale property prices are falling and many properties remain on the market for years without selling. Certainly, Pattaya is no longer a sought-after location for foreign property investors.
New, idyllic locations have become first choice for both investors and developers. Prospective property investors will soon see a new, bold and very ambitious plan for the future, backed by the Thai government. The government is pioneering the development of the new ‘Thai Riviera’. This new enterprising initiative has excited potential investors with its forward-thinking approach, ethically sound principles and its sympathetic environmental awareness.
The benefactor of the new Thai Riviera is Thailand’s Southwest coastline overlooking The Gulf of Thailand. This vertical line of beautiful beaches, forests and mountains is soon to be energized by the government’s new vision whilst working in unison with the local area’s Tourist Development Plan. The Thai Riviera project will incentivize foreign investors, while the Tourist Development Plan will ensure that the local environment is progressively enhanced, rather than simply redeveloped in the single pursuit of profit.
Pranburi Emerges as the New Epitome of Coastal Living
One of the most beguiling locations within the allotted geography of the new Thai Riviera is Pranburi. This coastal ideal is in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful locations in Thailand’s Southwest. In Pranburi one particular site has been identified as being perfect to fly the flag of this new progressive vision. Ground has now been broken in Sam Roi Yot on a new project which will lead the way in the creation of a new style of living aimed at benefiting the investor, the locals and the environment.
Pranburi as a location is, in itself, a massive incentive for foreign investors. There are not many people that can resist the beautiful calm, clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand’s Southwest coast, along with the sunshine and soft sandy beaches. With a backdrop of the National park’s mountains and verdant, green forests, Pranburi is certainly an area of wonderful contrasts.
Visitors can take to the hiking trails in the Tenasserim Mountains, explore caves and waterfalls and look on in awe at the gravity defying stalactites and stalagmites. Those that practice the piscatorial arts will be in their element as they challenge themselves against the clear waters of the Gulf in an effort to bring home a delicious fresh bounty for the barbeque.
Sam Roi Yot has all this without the feeling of isolation. There is a thriving local community well connected to its own, and its neighboring provinces. Transport links throughout the region, and on to the capital, are good, with improvements and new initiatives, including a new rail link, underway the new Thai Riviera will be one of the most accessible regions in the country. Undoubtedly, the Pranburi area is currently the most incentivized region of the kingdom, perfect for foreign investors.
Property investors fortunate enough to have been granted the privilege of being part of this extraordinary project of transformation, realize that potential investors will still look for that little bit extra. How much more can a development company do to attract foreign investors? They readily understand that they cannot surpass they magnificence of the region’s natural gifts, and so they try to add yet more incentives to attract investors.
More Incentives for Foreign Investors
There are numerous, perhaps predictable, incentives being offered by many developers. Free gifts are commonly given to investors on completion of an investment purchase, indeed it is easy to think of this quirk as almost a cultural norm. This is done in the belief that, when potential clients are faced with multiple options, all of which seem equally appealing, will be swayed by the offer of a free rice cooker! Or something similar.
Extra incentivizing gifts range from, air miles from local airlines, free passes to local attractions, shopping vouchers and discounts at trendy shopping malls, and even fans for use in your new condominium, not to mention the free rice cooker. Given the incredible incentives that nature has to offer in and around Pranburi, these extra tip bits seem to pale into insignificance. What else can developers do?
Grand Marina has all that nature has to offer. But here, uniquely, the natural phenomena have been deliberately, and sympathetically, enhanced. The natural canal from the Gulf of Thailand, running parallel to the beach, has been augmented to be a natural vision of beauty which graces the residential frontage of the project. The canal gives exclusive access to the private marina, which itself is hemmed with an infrastructure of supporting leisure facilities.
Here, the flexible purchase and property management plans, are themselves, a great incentive for investors. Freehold and leasehold purchase agreements are available on all the project’s units. There are incredible off-plan discounts and a guaranteed 6% per annum return on investment. The potential capital gains on an investment are likely to set new records as the Thai Riviera continues to morph and become Thailand’s premier visitor destination.
A team of experienced professionals manage each and every letting agreement, and within this there is another unique incentive. Without any penalty on the guaranteed returns there are 3 weeks set aside for exclusive use of the investor. There are no extra costs involved so the owner, family and friends can enjoy all of Grand Marina’s natural attributes, relax and enjoy the natural beauty the project has to offer, or re-energize themselves with an active break exploring nature. There are however, no rice cookers!
Sam Roi Yot Becomes the new First Choice
In summary, the Pranburi district, as part of the new Thai Riviera, has more incentives to potential investors than any other region of the country. The province of Prachuap Khiri Khan is central to the government’s plans. Pranburi and its surrounding environs is now at the point where it is opening up to, and being embraced by, this new vision of localized environmental and economic prosperity.
There is no better spot within this environ than Sam Roi Yot. Its natural attributes are unequalled and are being enhanced with sympathetic empathy to the natural beauty of its picturesque surroundings. The local Tourist Development Plan ensures that the past mistakes made in other regional developments, where towns and neighborhoods have been detrimentally exploited, will not be made in and around Pranburi. This is essential for the future prosperity of the local population and investors alike.
The Sam Roi Yot enterprise is the perfect balance of prosperity and preservation, singularly, this project excites and conserves. For anyone looking to make an investment in Thailand, the Pranburi district is now the first stop consideration, with the Grand Marina Club and Residences standing head and shoulders above all others.