Most prospective buyers are focusing on the downtown areas of Sukhumvit, Lumphini, Sathorn/Silom, Rama 3 / Riverside and Phaya Thai. According to research, there are over 32,000 condominium units in this area, of which 25% are vacant.
Buyers might expect prices to be substantially discounted, but this is not the case across the board. Just recently on trying to locate a condo Apt to purchase at President Park and Oriental Tower, I could find nothing available for sale. The best quality buildings tend to be located in the most attractive locations, have high occupancy rates, high degrees of owner occupation, and are well managed.
The original developer usually has few, if any, units in the buildings. In other words there are few for sale. Prices in the best buildings, although down from their peak, have not fallen in most cases below the original price.
Prices between units can vary by as much as 25% depending on the owner’s need to sell. Prices in buildings that are not prime quality, have lower occupancy rates and fewer owner occupiers, have fallen further than those in top locations. However, the owner’s willingness to sell depends on how much he needs the money and his level of debt.
If the level of debt is higher than the customer’s offer there is unlikely to be a sale, because it is still easier for the owner to delay payments on a loan than sell at a loss. Many foreign buyers expect a wide range to be available through forced sales, but this is not the case. New legislation should improve the mortgage enforcement process, but this will take time. City & Country does not expect prices for prime property with a high level of owner occupation to fall any further, and may well start rising soon.
Units are sold freehold or leasehold with co owners having a share in the legal entity that owns common areas of the building and decides on the management of the condominium. A manager with juristic status is elected, as well as a committee, to manage the condominium. The committee elections take place at the annual meeting of co-owners. Foreigners were previously allowed to own only up to 40% in area terms of a condominium, but there have been changes introduced lately, some new condominiums registered from 2000 now have 100% foreign quota allocation after applying, and others can now apply to increase their previous quota. On this point we suggest you get advice from the Land Dept who have the latest updated laws
In the case of foreigners, all the money used to buy a condominium must come from abroad in foreign currency and the buyer must receive a Tor Tor 3 certificate from the bank receiving the money, which he will have to show to the land department on transfer of title. Any commitment should contractually require the vendor to be able to transfer ownership to a foreigner.
Few condominiums in Bangkok have sold out their quota of units that can be purchased by foreigners. All condominiums in Thailand are registered with the land department and the owner will have a title deed as proof of ownership. Purchasers should obtain a copy of the title deed. For the vendor to transfer title of the property, he must have confirmation in writing that all outstanding management fees have been paid.
The purchaser must also reach agreement with the vendor on payment of the final month’s electricity, water and telephone bills. If the unit is leased to a tenant, the lease agreement must be transferred to the purchaser along with any deposit that has been paid. The tenant must also be told of the change in ownership and be advised on where to pay rent in the future.