Today, the Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR) has 525,889 vacant housing units which are mostly sold but does not have any residents. This situation indicates a bad sign. Dr.Sopon Pornchokchai recommends reusing these vacant housing units to prevent economic loss.

Dr.Sopon Pornchokchai, President of research and property valuation center in Thailand, Agency for Real Estate Affairs (, in the name of President, Thai Appraisal and Estate Agents Foundation was supported by Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) to evaluate a number of vacant housing units. Vacant housing units (Every type of housing units) are housing units which use less electricity than 15 units per month which indicates that there is almost no use.

The number of vacant housing units is crucial for both the government and the private sector. The government needs to develop housing policies and development plans, while the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) needs to install electricity meters to match residential demands. Private sectors, especially real estate developers, need to avoid developing projects in the over-supply area as these vacant housing units might become competitors. Theses information is also crucial for financial institutes, investors, and home buyers.

The latest surveys found 525,889 empty housing units (including condominiums, detached houses, semi-detached houses, townhouses, and shophouses) in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR). There are 110,000-120,000 units of new housing developments every year in the BMR. It means that these vacant housing units could still be in the market even without any new developments for 4 and a half years. This number indicates that we have a significant amount of vacant housing units, although it does not signal great danger.

These 525,889 vacant housing units make 10.3% of the 5,097,815 total housing units in the BMR, which means that there is 1 vacant unit in every 10 housing units. This ratio was lower than the situation during the Tom Yam Goong crisis, 20 years ago. In 1995, Dr.Sopon Pornchochai founded 14.5% of vacant housing units from the total housing units in the market. Then in 1998, the ratio of vacant housing units reduced to 12.0% of the total housing units in the market.

9.2% of the total low-rise housing units are empty (there is 1 empty unit in every 11 low-rise housing units). While 13.9% of the total condominiums are empty (there is 1 empty unit in every 7 condominium units). As condominiums are mostly used for an investment purpose while low-rise housing units are mostly used for residential purpose. Investors should invest in condominium carefully during this situation.

Compare to other countries such as Japan, Tokyo has 11.3% of vacant housing units from the total housing units in the market. However, the whole country has 14.0% of vacant housing units from the total housing units in Japan. People in Japan, especially young people, migrate from rural areas to live in urban areas. As Japan is an aged society, there is less demand for homeownership. Moreover, the maintenance cost is considered high due to high wages. People prefer to build new houses instead of renovating old houses.

In Thailand, the areas with the highest percentage of vacant housing units are Nonthaburi, Bangna and Bang Yai which has the rate of vacant housing units as followed, 13.7%, 13.5%, and 12.6%, respectively. These areas are popular among migrants to buy houses and condominiums for an investment purpose. The areas with the lowest rate of vacant housing units are Bang Phli, Min Buri, and Lad Kra Bang which has the percentage of vacant housing units as followed, 8.4%, 8.8%, and 9%, respectively. As these areas are far from the city center, there are less housing developments than others.

The top 3 safe zones which have low rates of vacant housing units are as followed. No.1 is Bang Phli area which has a total of 198,272 housing units; 16,674 or 8% of them are empty, which means there is 1 empty unit in every 12 housing units. No.2 is Min Buri area which has a total of 226,940 housing units; 19,976 or 9% of them are empty, which means there is 1 empty unit in every 11 housing units. No.3 is Lat Krabang area which has a total of 156,375 housing units; 14,009 or 9% of them are empty, which means there is 1 empty unit in every 11 housing units.

The top 3 danger zones which have high rates of vacant housing units are as followed. No.1 is Nonthaburi area which has a total of 335,421 housing units; 45,848 or 14% of them are empty, which means there is 1 empty unit in every 7 housing units. No.2 is Bangna area which has a total of 231,192 housing units; 31,289 or 14% of them are empty, which means there is 1 empty unit in every 7 housing units. No.3 is Bang Yai area which has a total of 221,492 housing units; 28,016 or 13% of them are empty, which means there is 1 empty unit in every 8 housing units.

For more in-depth analysis, every price range of condominiums in Bang Yai, Bang Phli, Bangna, Min Buri, Bang Kapi, Nonthaburi, Bang Khen, Bang Bua Thong, and Khlong Toei are to be concerned. As the rate of vacant housing units in these areas are as high as 13.5% - 17.5% (there is 1 empty unit in every 6 condominium units). Theses vacant housing units could compete with new housing developments in the area, causing the housing prices to remain low. Investing in condominiums in these areas need good cautious.

Dr.Sopon Pornchokchai recommends the government to support second home sales for these vacant housing units, as followed.

  1. Organize home auctions under a market valuation to benefit everyone.

  2. Establish Vacant Housing Units Loan funds to support the renovation costs of bringing these units back to use. The owner can sell these units at a better price than selling it before renovation.

  3. Establish funds to buy empty second housing units for renovation and resell. These funds can buy properties for the cost of 90% of the market value. This action could support owners of vacant housing units to earn money for other investment.

Dr.Sopon Pornchokchai also recommends that the government should support people to reuse vacant housing units to prevent economic loss. A renovation of vacant housing units could also increase economic activity. Besides, it is cheaper than building new developments, and buyers can surely own the house. As minimum wages in Thailand is still low, the renovation cost is lower than in Japan which has higher wages and a higher proportion of elders.

Moreover, Dr.Sopon suggests that Thailand should collect Land and Building Tax for vacant housing units. If the owners buy residential properties and do not use the properties, the juristic person could seize these vacant housing units for sale. They could use this money for project maintenance. The government should also change legacy tax to be applied to every unit without exception; the rate could vary by the property value.

empty housing, vacant housing, Real Estate

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Dr.Sopon Pornchokchai, President, Agency for Real Estate Affairs which is the foremost and largest real estate information and valuation centre in Thailand conducted the survey of real estate markets on monthly and quarterly basis.  The latest survey by end 2019 found 2,359 projects still had available units for sale in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR) in 2020.  Around 1,987 of them had over 20 units which implied that they were still very active.  This meant that Bangkok was the most active real estate particularly for housing in the ASEAN region.

In 2019 alone, some 480 projects were newly launched in the BMR.  This figure was more than that in 2018 where 457 projects were launched.  However, the number of units launched in 2019 at 118,975 units were some 5% less than the launching in 2018 at 125,118 units.  In terms of value of the development of the newly launched projects in 2019, it was Baht 476.911 billion (USD 15.636 billion) which was some 16% less than that in 2018 which was worth at Baht 565.811 billion (USD 18.551 billion).  Considering pricing, in 2019, a housing unit offered was Baht 4 million or USD 131,148; however, the price was Baht 4.6 million or 150,820 in 2018.  The price was down for 12%  That the prices were down was due to the fact that the economy might not be growing significantly.  The GDP growth of Thailand was 3% which was one of the lowest growth.  Not only less-developed countries to Thailand, Malaysia with a higher GDP per capita or more advanced than Thailand still possessed a higher GDP growth than Thailand. While the number of newly launched units was 118,975 in 2019.  The number of units absorbed or bought in the market was only 99,862 units for housing in the BMR.  In 2018, the number of units bought was 120,557.  This implied that the demand was decreased by 175.  Although property developers and the government tried very hard to promote the sales, it was still ineffective. Another worry was that there were still some 218,881 units still available on the hand of the developers at the end of 2019.  It was only 119,768 units in 2018.  This was an increase of 19,113 units.  According to AREA’s survey, every year the absorption was 110,000 units.  Therefore, the 218,881 units could totally be absorbed within two years if there was no new supplies.

Dr.Sopon expected that in 2020, the number of units launched could be the same as in 2019.  The more the government stimulated the markets to buy the housing units, the more new production will be added into the markets.  Many would buy for speculation because currently the saving interest rate was only 1% The proportion of speculation from local and foreign buyers might exceed 40% of the demand.  Therefore, danger could be foreseen.  Prior to any new launching of a project, an intensive study with scrutiny is a must.

Real Estate Market, Bangkok Outlook, Housing market

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AREA Research Co.,Ltd is established by Agency for Real Estate Affairs Co.,Ltd. (AREA) possesses outstanding position in the field of specialist research services for investors in the planning of residential, commercial and industrial developments and auction property investments. Our intimate knowledge and experience of Thailand's nationwide property markets, ownership of Thailand's largest and most up-to-date private real estate database plus a comprehensive range of professional and impartial surveys, studies and analyses has earned AREA this reputation.

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high-rise office building; JB Tower

pricing analysis: development land; Chaeng Wattana Road

pricing analysis: high-rise office building; Rojana Tower

pricing for lettable spaces; JB Tower

pricing analysis: plaza; Chevalia Plaza

detached housing; Wang Hin Junction

1,324 sq.wah of land for development; Sukhumvit soi 77

Sakhon Industrial Park

Sample Survey of 9 housing projects in Bangkok

Pre-feasibility studies

development situation on Chaeng Wattana Road

investment land near exopinionway tollgate

riverside resort homes; Bang Pakong district

housing estate site; Wacharapon Road

townhouse project; Bangkok

housing estate; Wacharapon Road

500 rai of land; Muang Aek golf course housing estate

mini-factory development; Rama II Road

low priced condominium development; Don Muang district

shopping centre; Pin Klao complex

feasibility studies

apartment project; Bangkok

entertainment complex; Patpong Road

mini-factory project; Lad Krabang

residential development, 40 rai of land; Ram Inthra

financial analysis of office tower; Supalai Grand Tower

time sharing resort; Na Jomtien, Pattaya

development land; adjacent Winson golf course

residential market study for Arun Sawasdi City

13 rai of land; Ramkhamhaeng 38-40

development land; Chaeng Wattana Road

condominium development; PST Condoville

serviced apartments; JB Tower

38 rai of land; Kang Koi, Saraburi

43.25 rai of land; Lamlookka, Pathum Thani

50 rai of land; Theparak Road

land development; Ram Inthra Road

department store development; Soi Prawit la Peuan

residential demand in Bang Phli & Bang Bo Districts, Samut Prakan

residential demand of residents in Phuket Municipality

residential demand of residents in Khaeng Koi new town

residential demand of residents in Bang Phli new town

residential demand in Chantaburi Municipality

residential demand in Chachoengsao Municipality

residential demand in Chumphon Municipality

residential demand in Nakhon Si Thamarat Municipality

residential demand in Buriram Municipality

residential demand in Prachin Buri Municipality

residential demand in Rayong Municipality

study for development of new town; Nakhon Ratchasima Province

study for development of new town; Bang Phli 2

study for development of new town; Surat Thani Province

mini-factory project; Lad Krabang

commercial building; Kit Phanit Building, Bangkok

residential project; Nakhon Ratchasima

Market surveys

resort projects; Kanchanaburi Province

development in 7 areas adjacent to Bangkok

land prices along Bangna-Trat Highway

land prices along Bangna-Trat highway Km.20-50

serviced apartments; Ayudhaya Province

serviced apartments; Rayong and Chonburi

mini-factories around Bangkok

middle -income apartment estate development; Bangkok

new building construction in Bangkok

residential market situation in the top 12 provincial cities

shop survey in Bangkok CBD

high-income housing estates; Ram Inthra area

office development; Chaeng Wattana

sport clubs in Bangkok (monthly, 1996-1999) comparable housing estates to client's estate

low priced condom iniums; Bangkok Metropolitan Region

small department store; Sammakhon Estate

hobby farm land subdivisions; 200 km radius of Bangkok

apartment development; JB Mansion

1,775 rai of land; Rojana Road

housing project types; Chiang Mai

department store; Chiang Mai

department store; Wong Wian Yai

office space demand along Bangna-Trat Road

mini-factory developments; Samut Prakan Province

mini-factories and industrial estates; Bangkok Metropolitan Region

residential condominiums; Sukhumvit Road area

residential demand; Rangsit District

residential demand; Le Chateau housing project

land development in Bang Bua Thong, Nonthaburi

housing estate project; Krisada Nakhon 20

land development; Bang Bamru sub-district, Samut Prakan

property market surveys on Sri-Nakharin - Bangna-Trat Roads

housing project; Cheun Wattana Project

unoccupied housing units; Bangkok Metropolitan Region

residential demand along Suwinthawong Road

mini-offices/office buildings; Lad Phrao Road

housing estates; Sukhumvit Soi 103

mini-factories for factory land projects; Nakhon Pathom

mini-factories and low price condominiums; Rangsit district

AREA Research, Market Research, Real Estate

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