Bangkok developer sentiment ticks up

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Bangkok developer sentiment ticks up

A woman walks past miniature models at a property expo. Somchai Poomlard

Sentiment among housing developers in Greater Bangkok picked up in the fourth quarter last year after a 10-quarter low, helped by relaxed loan-to-value (LTV) limits and the country's reopening.

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Vichai Viratkapan, acting director-general of the Real Estate Information Center (REIC), said the index of housing developers in the fourth quarter of 2021 improved to 52.0 from 47.1 in the third.

“An index below the median of 50 means developers are not confident,” he said. “The last time the index was 50 or higher was the first quarter of 2019. After that, the reading dropped below 50 because of the lending curbs effective from April 1, 2019.”

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Another positive factor for sentiment was the extension of the property incentive for another year, Mr Vichai said.

The property incentive cuts transfer and mortgage fees to 0.01% from 2% and 1%, respectively, for housing units priced 3 million baht or lower. It expired on Dec 31, 2021.

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The Bank of Thailand also eased the LTV ratio for mortgage lending to allow homebuyers to take out loans of up to 100% of the total home value for all types of mortgage contracts.

The temporary relaxation — effective from Oct 20, 2021 until the end of 2022 — aims to help the property sector and the economy, which were severely damaged by the pandemic.

“Developers’ confidence grew as they expected the reopening on Nov 1 to help boost property purchases among foreign buyers,” he said.

Listed developers had much higher confidence. Their current situation index was 56.3 in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 50.0 in the third. The index on sales was the highest at 62.5, up from 47.6.

The index on new launches tallied 60.3, up from 53.8, while revenue was 59.4, up from 47.4, reported REIC. The investment index was 58.3, up from 53.6, while employment was 56.9, up from 56.0.

Meanwhile, the index on development cost was below 50, dropping to 40.3 from 41.7.

Sentiment among non-listed developers was lower, though it picked up. Their current situation index was 45.5, up from 42.7 but lower than the median. The lowest index was for development cost at 38.5, a marginal uptick from 38.4.

According to REIC, the expectations index for both listed and non-listed developers, which reflects sentiment for the next six months, was 62.0 in the fourth quarter last year, up from 57.2 in the third.

All factors improved except development cost, which dropped to 26.5 from 40.0.

The indices for revenue, sales, investment, employment and new launches all exceeded 50.0, with investment earning the highest marks.

Listed developers’ expectation index was 67.4, up from 62.9, while for non-listed firms the tally was 54.0, up from 48.7.

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