CBRE Thailand Looks Ahead to 3rd Decade of Thai Operations

CB Richard Ellis Thailand was the first international property consultant to operate in Thailand, opening in 1988. It has grown to four offices- Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui, and Pattaya - with a total of over 700 employees. The company focuses on quality in both the client’s projects and its own services. Its core businesses are agency services and project marketing, and the company specializes in advising on projects including high-end residential, office, retail, industrial, investment and resort properties, and then positioning and successfully taking them to market.

These marketing services are complemented by professional services including research & consulting, valuation, and property management. CB Richard Ellis is also the largest provider of advice to office and industrial property occupiers in Thailand. In 2007, over 1,600 transactions, worth over Baht 20 billion, were concluded by the company.

Despite global concerns about the international property market, CB Richard Ellis Thailand has sold over 300 residential units with a total value of over THB 6 billion in the first five months of this year, almost twice the sales value at this point last year. Ms. Aliwassa believes that this velocity of sales indicates the resilience of the Thai property market, especially the high-end sector, and the benefit of the Thai Government’s stimulus package of low transfer costs and reduced property taxes on transactions of completed units.

The company is optimistic as it enters its third decade of operations, having witnessed first-hand the growth of the Thai real estate sector, starting with the first wave of condominium development in the late 80s, through the Asian Financial Crisis, and into a more mature, sophisticated development cycle beginning in early 2000. Today developments are of much higher quality and better-planned, and buyers have become more discerning as Thai attitudes towards city-living have shifted, especially with the advent of the BTS skytrain and the MRT.

Mr. David Simister, Chaiman, points to the continued development of Phuket as an example of the potential of Thailand’s resort markets. ‘When we first marketed Laguna Phuket in 1990, the west coastal road was incomplete. Amanpuri was the only luxury resort. Today, demand is no longer regional but international. Phuket now boasts eight golf courses, two major shopping malls, three marinas (with a fourth under construction), and numerous luxury hotels and ocean-front real estate that increases in value year on year. To market effectively, CB Richard Ellis is developing its worldwide network, and we believe our global reach will become more and more significant.’

CB Richard Ellis dominates the Bangkok office sector, and over the past three years has leased out over 100,000 square metres of office premises per year, which is approximately 70% of the net take-up and includes most grade A office developments in Bangkok. Major investment property transactions in which CB Richard Ellis has been involved over the past two decades include the recent sale of the British Embassy land, the sale of The River site to Raimon Land, the sale of Exchange Tower, the sale of The Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Building and the sale of Tropicana Hotel in Phuket. Valuation, consulting and research clients have included major investment banks, property developers, international hotel operators and many others.

Ms. Aliwassa believes the residential sector will continue to be a driving force behind the Thai property market for the remainder of 2008. Currently, CB Richard Ellis represents over 20 luxury residential developments located in Bangkok and major resort destinations, including the recently launched The Marrakesh Hua Hin Residences, Royce Private Residences (Bangkok), White Sand Beach (Pattaya), and The W Koh Samui Retreat & Residences.

‘We expect the Thai property market to enter a period of growth this year, with expansion in the property investment market on both an individual and institutional level. Thai property remains very competitively priced, especially on a regional basis. Good land plots for development are scarce in all sectors, particularly in the CBD and resort islands. Projects with a combination of good location, unique selling points and market-focused design will continue to outperform the market,’ Ms. Aliwassa noted. ‘The government could provide additional stimulus by reviewing rules and regulations concerning the property sector, as many are outdated and could be improved to match changing global trends, in issues including foreign ownership, taxation, foreign exchange, immigration, consumer protection and building code.’

‘The present day Thai property sector is not based on speculation; debt levels have been well managed in almost all projects, and demand is consistent and real. We see the property sector being one of the key drivers of Thailand’s economy going forward, but investor confidence will play a major role in the final outcome,’ she concluded.

About the author

CB Richard Ellis CB Richard Ellis
CB Richard Ellis Thailand operates throughout Thailand and covers all aspects of Thai Real Estate from offices in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, and Koh Samui.
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