The Bolstering Value of Baht and its ‘Marginal Effects’ on the Thai Property Market
The recent weeks proved to be some of the best weeks for the Thai baht, which is currently at its “strongest” state since it was floated in 1997. The value of baht has strengthened so dramatically, in stark contrast to the dark days of the Asian financial crisis, when it suffered a hard blow.
Although the stronger baht has resulted in an increase in real estate prices in US dollar currency, initial reports show that it did not – and will not - affect the real estate market in a negative light, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, a renowned property consultancy firm.
Speculations and Answers
While the improvement of the baht value is positive, numerous sectors are getting more and more concerned about its impact on property sales, according to Suphin Mechuchep of Jones Lang LaSalle. Mechuchep, who serves as the firm’s managing director, said the growing concerns are mostly coming from businesses whose main clients are foreigners in search of resort properties and high-end condominiums in Thailand’s key districts. Although this is the case, the strong baht has not negatively affected property sales so far. Mechuchep adds that the currency’s strength will not affect most real estate businesses, unless the baht intensifies at a more rapid rate. This case is unlikely to take place though, according to several economists.
Thai Real Estate – Still Standing Strong
Currently, real estate in Thailand thrives because of the high demand. Despite the fact that buyers from the United States or European Union have dwindled because of the financial crises in the western hemisphere, it has little impact on the real estate industry since the buyers mostly come from Thailand and other Asian countries, which are left unaffected by the aforementioned financial meltdown. According to Jones Lang LaSalle, foreign investors developing Thai real estate have been at the same rate, according to the year-to-date data the firm has recovered. The figure is even expected to rise, albeit marginally, since a lot of international companies are interested in transferring their logistics and manufacturing facilities in Thailand. Apart from its strong currency, the country remains to be attractive to foreign investors, adds Mechuchep. This is because the country’s lands and properties remain to be some of the cheapest in the Asia Pacific region. With these reports, Mechuchep concludes that even if the improved Thai currency is stirring concerns in most sectors, it will have little, if no effect on property investors from the country and other Asian nations.
Potentials for Locals
With the strengthening of the baht, Suphin encourages Thai nationals to take advantage of the current position of the currency by seizing properties in foreign lands. There are currently numerous investment choices in well-established property markets, such as that of the United States and United Kingdom. Because of the powerful local currency that makes the prices of the properties in said countries cheaper, Suphin encourages wealthy Thai nationals and companies to take hold of these investment opportunities.
Despite the growing fears in many sectors, the improvement of the Thai baht is seen to be beneficial for many, as it is expected to bring improvements to the country, and profitable investment opportunities to its citizens.