Juawai, the largest source for global property in Chinese language with over 2.5 million property listings spanning 89 countries, noted in its "Chinese Global Property Investment Report – July 2017"* that outbound property investment from China last year for the first time surpassed the US$100 billion (B3.327 trillion) mark.
By Juwai estimates that figure followed an increase of some US$80bn in outbound commercial and residential property investment in 2015, an increase of 25.4%.
Sue Jong, Chief of Operations for Juwai.com, explained, “Thailand is the third most popular country in 2017 for Chinese buyers of international real estate. It receives significantly more buyer interest than any other Southeast Asian country, including Malaysia – the next best Southeast Asian performer.
“And the investment into Thailand is growing quickly, with Chinese buyers making 26% more enquiries in the first quarter than a year ago.”
Ms Jong noted, “Thailand is inexpensive and easy to reach, and Chinese buyers like the relatively inexpensive luxury of the city condominiums and resort properties available in Thailand.”
Explaining how Chinese buyers were using their homes abroad, Ms Jong told The Phuket News, “Chinese property buyers in Thailand are focused on investment and lifestyle goals. They feel that in Thailand they can buy a nice place in an attractive location, that they can rent it out and – they hope – that will gain value over time. In vacation destinations like Phuket, they love owning a little bit of paradise.
“In 2016, Thailand ranked sixth for the number of Chinese real estate buying enquiries made. In the first half of 2017 it moved up to third place. Of our buyers, 64.5% say they are motivated by investment, and 63.2% are buying for their own use,” she said, noting they such buyers may choose either motivation, or both.
“Thailand is becoming more popular among Chinese buyers as a result of a steady, years-long trend. It wasn’t as noticeable in earlier years, but even back in 2014 I think people in the industry starting to realize that Chinese buyers were playing a bigger role in the market,” Ms jong explanied.
“That is when the first developers and agents began to prepare marketing materials in Chinese and train their staff to work with Chinese buyers.
“Now, that interest has flowered into larger numbers and is much more noticeable. Chinese appreciate that Thailand is a close and approachable market, relatively affordable and offers an appealing lifestyle.
“Retirement buyers love the high quality of life and low cost of living. Lifestyle buyers like that they can own a vacation home that they can visit for long weekends, and which they can rent out when they are not using it,” she added.
Tourism still plays a vital role in feeding Phuket’s – and Thailand’s – property market. “Many buyers first visited Thailand as tourists,” Ms Jong pointed out.
The push into the Thai property market has also unveiled a new market segment, Ms Jong noted.
“We also see a formerly under-represented buyer appearing in larger numbers. This is the upper middle class Chinese buyer who can’t afford property in more expensive countries,” she said.
“For example, in Sydney, Australia the median dwelling price is about US$916,000, whereas a B9 million new luxury condo in Bangkok works out to about US$270,000. The median inquiry price for our consumers in Thailand this year is $169,000.
“Two-thirds of the Chinese buyers we work with in Thailand are looking at property that costs US$250,000 or less.
“The top three destinations in Thailand for the Chinese consumers we work with are Pattaya, Bangkok, and Phuket. The top three destinations in Bangkok for the Chinese consumers we work with are Sathorn, Sukhumvit and Bang Na,” Ms Jong explained.
“We expect Thailand to see strong buying from Chinese consumers in 2017, and it is currently on track to have the highest investment volume of any year on record,” she said.
* To see the full report, click here.