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What’s Ahead for the Bangkok Property Market in 2020

A supply influx of new office space is on the way while the overall retail industry faces low consumer confidence. But, in 2019, the number of Chinese tourists to Thailand has started recovering, says CBRE, an international property consultant.

Bangkok Office Market

The office market in Bangkok continues to perform strongly for this, but CBRE identifies challenges that are heading our way in the near future from the large amount of new supply. As of Q3 2019, over 125,000 square metres of new office space has been completed so far with another 70,000 square metres expected to come on line by the end of the year. But CBRE maintain that the increase in supply is still in line with a steady new take-up of 200,000 square metres per year.

But, they warn, a million square metres of office space is now under construction and scheduled to be completed over the next three years with majority of the new developments located along the mass transit lines. Co-working spaces have played a major role in becoming key source of office demand in the recent years.

Rents have continued to increase this year at the rate of 3-5% year on year since majority of the office buildings with high rental rates have been occupied. CBRE expects rents to continue to increase in the near future but at a slower pace.

Bangkok Retail Market

Across the board, the Thai retail industry has remained stagnant this year as Thailand faces a period of low sentiment and a decrease in spending power. CBRE says this is due to the increase in household debt. The Consumer Confidence Index hit its lowest point in 39 months, dropping by 10% year on year. In addition, the household debt was reported to have broken a new record since 2017 at nearly 79% of total GDP.

In the second half of 2019, the government has launched new policies and campaigns to stimulate domestic spending including welfare cards, interest rate cut, and the “Chim-Shop-Chai” (Eat-Shop-Spend) scheme where the government gives away e-money and tax breaks for domestic travellers.

Bangkok’s total retail supply, as of Q3 2019, was 7.8 million square metres, increasing by 4.39% year on year. Notable projects completed in this year include The Market Bangkok, Donki Mall, Samyan Mitrtown and Bangkok’s first outlet mall, Central Village.

CBRE says that not only have offline retailers moved towards omni-channel retailing, many new online retailers have also been expanding into offline outlets in physical retail space as showrooms and ‘click & collect’ points.

“In order to survive in a market with a large number of future retail supply in the pipeline, retail developers will need to embrace the fast-moving technology and create new unique selling points for their retail centres.”

Bangkok Hotel Market

Thai tourism has shown that it is as strong and as resilient as ever. International tourist arrivals for the first nine months of 2019 have increased by 4.3% year on year, reaching 32.5 million. In Q3, the number of Chinese tourists, Thailand’s biggest market feeder, has started to recover with a 17.3% year on year increase, rebounding from its drop last year.

Indian tourists have also shown promising increase, growing by 26.7% year on year. CBRE attributes much of the Indian success to the Visa-on-Arrival campaign and the addition of direct flights by low-cost carriers.

The average occupancy rate of downtown Bangkok hotels for the first nine months of the year, according to STR, was 77.8%, down by 2% when compared to last year.

But CBRE forecast that the Thai baht’s appreciation will continue to be a key challenge to the tourism industry.

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