Aiming high in high-end market

Saladaeng Residences

Saladaeng Residences

Despite the economic recession, Chotipol Techakraisri, managing director|of the high-end Saladaeng Residences, remains cautiously upbeat. After all, the very, very rich need to invest somewhere, he reasons Chotipol Techakraisri, managing director of the high-end Saladaeng Residences project in Bangkok’s central business district, has a challenging task on hand: selling expensive property during an economic recession.

Yet he is cautiously optimistic and hopes to achieve the target of selling 60 to 70 per cent of the 132-unit project over the next 12 months. The project is worth Bt2.5 billion.

“In the past two months, we’ve sold 35 per cent of the overall units. Thai clients account for 70 per cent of the sales while the rest of buyers are from Europe, the US and Asian countries such as Hong Kong.

“Most Thai buyers are entrepreneurs and second-generation business-owners, between the ages of 30 and 40. In addition, there are a few high-income professionals and self-made millionaires.

“As for the foreign buyers, they include retirees and professionals, such as lawyers, who still have the purchasing power,” he says.

Situated on Saladaeng Soi 1, off Silom Road, the residential project is priced from Bt10 million per unit to Bt100 million for a penthouse. The average price per square metre is currently set at Bt160,000.

According to Chotipol, the targeted customers are those with a net worth of Bt50 million or more and second-generation members of established family-owned or controlled businesses.

“These people are young and usually educated overseas. We’re offering them a super-luxurious high-end residential product at a location where vacant land plots for new developments are rare.

“Our product is comparable to high-end condos in Singapore or Hong Kong, such as the Ritz Carlton, but at a price that is seven to 10 times cheaper.

“Apart from the distinctive design, our material specifications are among the highest as we will use real teakwood for the floors and natural stone, among other things,” he says.

The project’s foundation has already been completed, and the construction is due to be finished by 2011.

Despite the global and domestic downturn, the 32-year-old, who holds a degree in finance from Seattle University, remains undaunted.

“We first planned this project back in January 2007. We have a Bt800-million loan from Siam City Bank plus our own funds worth around Bt300 million to Bt400 million, so we have no plans to delay the project.

“My parents [who have been in the property-development business for two decades] advised that we should be more conservative at this juncture, especially in terms of cash-flow management.

“As of now, I believe we should be able to sell up to 60 to 70 per cent of the project towards completion of the construction.

“There’s still purchasing power among the wealthy, who are looking for longer-term investment as the price is likely to go up over the next few years.

“In my opinion, we should neither panic nor stop spending on value investments, especially among high-net-worth persons, who currently have few investment choices.

“Interest rates are dismally low, while equities are very volatile. Maybe you’d like put some money into high-quality property, which is rather limited in supply.

“That’s one way to minimise risk by diversifying your investment portfolio.

“As far as the US and global economic recession is concerned, I think the [Barack] Obama administration will have to be very tough, given that we’re going to need some very bitter medication before we can fully recover.

“Historically, the economic situation we are currently facing could lead to war, but I think that’s highly unlikely in today’s world due to the depth of economic globalisation and inter-linkages.

“Hence, the only way forward is to work together in the uphill battle to resolve the crisis,” he says.

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