Pattaya is an international playground of note, with the rare distinction of being both a beach destination and having all the creature comforts of a major metropolis. The delights of sun, sea and sand, combined with outstanding entertainment, commercial and tourist attractions, have made this formerly sleepy fishing village a big winner amongst expats from all over the globe and city dwellers from Bangkok - a mere two hours or so away - seeking the perfect retirement spot or weekend getaway. Real estate in Pattaya has been one of the fastest growing and most sustainable industries, and the number of property developments currently underway is a clear indicator that this trend is set to continue.
Overview of Pattaya Property Market
Pattaya is a city in its own right, with its own mayor and administration. Thanks to a government development program for the Eastern Seaboard (including Chonburi and Rayong), the region has enjoyed rapid industrial and commercial expansion. A new deep-sea port (Laem Chabang) is located just 20 km north of Pattaya, featuring a vast industrial estate, while another development zone has seen the light near Rayong to the south.
In total, there are now 12 industrial estates on the Eastern Seaboard, making it an important industrial hub where about 10,500 expatriates happen to be employed. Several international schools and hospitals have been established through the years, Pattaya boasts some of Thailand's finest hotels and resorts, golf courses, every other recreational facility you can imagine, great malls, entertainment and, of course, a notoriously famous nightlife scene.
Coastal City with an International Base
Yet, it's seaside location and palm-fringed beaches where many types of fun is offered in and out of the water, reaffirms its status as Thailand's only mainland beach resort with city status. Indeed, Pattaya has something for everyone, and offers the best of two worlds... The Tourism Authority of Thailand reports that 4.5 million visitors came to Pattaya in 2005, an increase of 5.4% from 2004.
With the Kingdom's new Suvarnabhumi International Airport about one and a half hour away by car, and several initiatives in place to rid Pattaya of its sometimes perceived as sleazy image, the stage is set for a show-down with the country's other real estate favorites, Bangkok and Phuket. Investing in property in Pattaya is considered a safe, sound and calculated move with guaranteed and healthy long-term returns.
Location and lifestyle are undoubtedly the two biggest selling points, and the market has matured to the extend that property developments are on par with international standards and trends. Unlike Bangkok, land is readily available in Pattaya, providing property hunters with opportunities of buying affordable stand-alone houses or investing at a housing estate. However, the hassle-free option of condominiums that offer a lock-up-and-go lifestyle (and also given the advantages in terms of foreign ownership), remains undoubtedly the most popular and fastest-growing real estate trend.
Proof of Pattaya's popularity is its forever-growing cosmopolitan flavour, with a large contingent of expats from especially the USA, UK, Germany, Scandinavian countries and even Russia who have either settled and retired here, or invested in holiday homes. The growth in the residential market has been further boosted by a demand for property from Pattaya locals and other Thai buyers. As a result of the new airport and continued improvements in infrastructure, more property developers are also entering the market to launch a variety of developments, including residential, international chain hotels and retail projects.
Investment on the Rise
A research report by international property consultants CB Richard Ellis, and published in The Nation, foresees more people buying houses and condominium units in Pattaya as first homes, second homes for leisure and relaxation, and as retirement residences. CB Richard Ellis managing director Aliwassa Pathnadabutr said the rise in demand had been seen in all grades of residential property - particularly condominiums - and proven by good sales performances.
For residential projects, especially in the luxury market, prime areas have been extending towards Bang Sarae and Tawanron Beach, both of which feature stunning scenery, clean beaches and higher levels of privacy. Most of the projects are located on the beachfront or within close proximity of the beach. Ensuring sea views from units is a crucial element for grade-A developments in achieving high prices.
Given the strong demand and limited high-quality supply, prices have been increasing. The average price of grade-A high-rise condominium developments at prime beachfront locations is now between 85,000 and 110,000 baht per square meter. CB Richard Ellis believes Pattaya is now riding the rising wave of a new property cycle as demand continues to improve, and expects to see developers launching more new residential condominium and holiday-home projects in Pattaya in 2007.
Condominium Boom in Pattaya
According to one of Thailand's leading property developers, Raimon Land, the combined value of the condominium sector in Pattaya represents 2.5 billion baht (USD 65 million) in the first half of 2006. And, to demonstrate the company's confidence in the Pattaya real estate sector, Raimon Land launched its second prestigious condominium project in November 2006.
The stunning Northpoint development follows on Raimon Land's first project in Pattaya, Northshore, on Beach Road Soi 5. Featuring two single loaded towers of 54 and 46 stories and located on a prime site next to the exclusive Wong Amat Beach, Northpoint will comprise of 374 units, including studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, as well as four-bedroom duplexes and penthouses.
Northpoint has been designed with the lifestyle and concerns of its future residents in mind. Efficient unit layouts offer better value for the purchaser by increasing the ratio of usable living space. The high ceilings and the expansive window frontage frame the views to the North and South. The resort-style landscapes carefully merge the existing trees on the site across a series of tiered decks and water features that stagger down to the 80-meter beach frontage. Among the recreational facilities are a fitness center, multi-tiered sun and shade decks, several pools with a poolside bar, two tennis courts on top of the car park, and a jungle waterslide adjacent to the playground and kid's pool.
Commenting on the design of the two condominium towers, architect Hans Brouwer said: "More than simply turning out the true and the tested, we are advancing innovations within the architectural industry. It is our belief that a building should go beyond mere logistics and decorative motifs to reflect a fundamental conviction that good architecture is about vision and purpose. The result is a building that provides its occupants with the highest degree of spatial drama and physical comfort, whilst at the same time projecting a dynamic and memorable skyline presence..."
Not surprisingly, pre-launch sales of the project exceeded 1 billion baht (more than USD 2.6 million), and if signs are read correctly, the project will be sold out long before completion in 2009. According to Raimon Land CEO Mr Nigel Cornick, location is crucial for luxury residential condominiums. "Our architect's interpretation of the site has lead to a world-class residential property development, and our investment in Northpoint highlights our confidence in this rapidly maturing market. The Eastern Seaboard is a unique mix of several thriving industries and its profile is improving."
Since 2003, over 5,000 condominium units have been launched on the Pattaya market. The majority of these (72% of the total condominium market) have been in the low-end sector, with most units priced under three million baht (about USD 79,000). The increase in the mid-to-high and high-end or premium sectors, however, represent a much higher value - not only in monetary terms, but also in meeting the needs and aspirations of a luxury market. In fact, in 2005, a third of the visitors to Pattaya stayed in four- and five-star hotels. Apart from Northpoint, other high-end developments like Ocean One and a luxury complex that will be developed by TCC Capital Land at Jomtien Beach, will go a long way towards raising Pattaya's profile and attracting both quality visitors and investors.