Tue07292014

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Unfazed Singaporean investors still flocking to Chiang Mai

CHIANG MAI—Despite the political turmoil, Singaporean investors will continue property development in Chiang Mai due to growth driven by airport expansion, a new convention center and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) integration.

Matthew Lin, managing director of Chiang Mai-based property developer Summit Global Developments, said the company and a group of Singaporean investors will launch three new projects worth a combined 1.2 billion baht in the province this month.

“We are not worried much about who will take [political] power because everything, which was on-and-off many years ago, is already here like the airport expansion and international convention center,” he said.

There are also many shopping malls in the northern province, including Central Festival, Promenada and the recently opened Maya. The high-speed train is a must-do project for the new government.

The new projects will include Floral Parc Residences with three blocks of seven-story buildings worth 300 million baht each, near the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek.

Each block will have 65 units or 70 units sized 40 square meters (sq m) and 80 sq m and be priced at 2.1 and 6 million baht, with the first phase being launched on Wednesday.

Rooms@CMU, a condominium near Chiang Mai University, will comprise 148 units worth 300 million baht.

The Consulate Residences worth 600 million baht in Mae Rim will have 12 villas priced 25 million baht, offering a walk-in safe that can be turned into a panic room.

All projects are a joint venture between Thai partners who are landowners and a group of Singaporean investors, managed by Lin. The Singaporean group holds 20 percent in the Floral Parc project, 30 percent in Rooms@CMU and 60 percent in The Consulate.

Its target return on investment is 30 percent in two years, said Lin, also CEO of Kingsfield-Asia Consultants Group, a property consultancy for design and investment.

Two years ago Lin came to Chiang Mai with two Singaporean investors to develop residential projects. The number of Singaporean investors joining him rose to more than 20. Each invests 3 to 5 million baht a project.

“Many Singaporeans are cautious. They will let others pioneer and follow them when they see success,” he said. “That’s why we build a panic room in a single house project for safety reason for Singaporean buyers.”

However, Singaporeans have been actively buying property in Chiang Mai during the political unrest as prices are below those in Singapore and the weak baht presents an ideal opportunity.

While Singaporean buyers are large by value, Chinese and Taiwanese are large by volume, he said.

To expand the Chinese market, the company a few months ago bought a 33-percent stake in Mandarin-language mini free travel guidebook Check In Now, adding a property column to the guidebook.

The company is also in talk with a Stock Exchange of Thailand-listed developer to jointly develop a medical complex east of Chiang Mai near Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai, which is due to be completed sometime this year.

With a 2-billion-baht investment budget, the project will comprise a medical center, retail space, hotel and condominium units targeting investors who will lease back as serviced apartments for patients and their relatives.

The walk-in safe in The Consulate Residences can double as a panic room.


In Photo: Newly graduated Thai students from Rangsit University pose for a photographer next to a group of riot policemen guarding a road near the office of the permanent secretary for defense during a rally by anti-government protesters on Monday in Bangkok, Thailand. Thai protesters vowed to stage larger rallies in central Bangkok and push ahead their efforts to nullify the results of elections that were expected to prolong a national political crisis. (AP)


 

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