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I need some advice please.

 

Bit of context:

British Expat of Sri Lankan origin currently living&working in Singapore and in my 40s.  I'm a Singapore PR and a Buddhist.  Married/primary school aged kids. Wife calls London her 'home' and can't wait to get back and put our kids in to UK schools/Uni.  I don't see myself getting old in UK.. I'd rather stay in Singapore where life is actually pretty good for us.

 

So I'm thinking 5 - 10 year time horizon and where I'd want to retire as I'll be able to retire in my early 50s, if I keep up with my current financial plans/income generation.

 

Singapore is great but expensive to retire, and there is a risk that PR will not be renewed once I retire.

 

I can always go back to Sri Lanka, but it is becoming a little China outpost, but with ever increasing corruption, crime possible resurgence of ethnic violence.  The second choice for me in Asia is Thailand which I know and love as I've spent there as my ex was from there.

 

My wife may or may not join me permanently, but I anticipate us spending time in Asia and having a base either in Singapore, Thailand or Sri Lanka in that order.  Singapore would be awesome, but it's very expensive.

 

Question:

 

Is now a good time to buy a condo, with a view to rent (not immediately given Covid, but perhaps in a year?) for the next 5 years and then for me to move and put my feet up in Winter! 

 

I don't have much liquid cash in the bank (~100k USD), though I suppose I can finance/mortgage. 

 

Thoughts form you would be very welcome.

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I would take a deep breath and count to 10.  Thailand, at present, is more trouble than it’s worth. The visa situation is problematic … or at least a pain in the backside.  Do you really want to pay a

you should be able to get something very nice for 1-2M    100sqm (2 bed/2 bath with views) in Bangkok for 1-2m...bit delusional I think (or maybe you mean just the deposit!!)

Getting a mortgage from a Thai bank, as a foreigner, is a tough road. And most would agree now is not a good time to buy. The pain will be felt for many years to come. I anticipate condo prices to dro

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Good time to buy, though many would still advise hang back a while, prices may drop further.

 

Bad time to rent. Rents are relatively low at the best of times, but you might not be able to rent at all for sometime.

 

No one knows for sure, but I would hang back

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18 minutes ago, James7 said:

I don't have much liquid cash in the bank (~100k USD), though I suppose I can finance/mortgage. 

Unless you can get a bank in Singapore or elsewhere outside Thailand to finance you, you can't mortgage. As you do not have PR in Thailand, all cash will need to be transferred from abroad, and you'll need to buy cash. It depends where you are buying, but in Bangkok, especially in newer buildings, you are not going to get much for 100k USD. In Phuket/Pattaya, etc., you know, the touristy places, you might be overcharged as the 49% foreign quota is possibly reached so reselling that quota would be much more expensive than the other 51% of the building that Thais own. I would not recommend workarounds (buying company that owns condo in Thai name, etc. as they are often shady or outright illegal).

 

So - yes you can buy, but only cash transferred from abroad, you'll need a document from the bank to show entire amount was transferred from abroad, before you can put it in your name. And you need to watch for the foreign quota.

 

As such... I don't know. You decide. Some prices have dropped a lot, but what will happen with them, and Thailand in general, in the future, I cannot predict.

 

I've bought it as I had to. To have permanent residence, you have to be registered at a residence, and I wanted it to be mine so I am in control of it. If you have a PR, you can ask for a loan from a Thai bank at Thai rate (2-3% per year up to 90-100% until 70 years of age). But without PR, there are some ways with UOB and Bangkok Bank, but they are denominated in SGD and interest is a lot higher. Lastly for some MBK Capital was an option but interest was 3x that of banks, and they might only cover like 30% of the asset value, so not really a particularly good deal. For that however you would not need all the prerequisites banks would ask for. That's what they charge for taking that risk.

 

Hope this is of any use.

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9 hours ago, James7 said:

Singapore would be awesome, but it's very expensive.

I know someone in a similar position, have you considered JB (Johor Bahru) just a short causeway over to Singapore (yes I know traffic is awful)

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Seem to recall a couple of the Banks in SIngapore (pretty sure UOB was one of them) were offering mortgages for properties in Thailand so you might be better looking to get your funding there whilst your still working.

 

Will also mean that you know how much your monthly repayments are & don't need to be concerned about changes to fx rates. 

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Renting for a time (1 year at least) to test the waters as a resident is my advice too. The advice on money up front when purchasing is correct. Off-the -plan buying can be different depending on developer e.g. I bought down south, deposited, with a schedule of payments (should I wish) during construction. I would suggest no less than $200,000 AUD in BKK as a start price.

Rental deals right now can be had for sure and for a while to come I suspect (no one really knows when life will return to some sort of 'normal').

As soon as the 'situation' eases and tourist, and other dollars return to the rental market, and after the lease expires, prices will go back to where they were presto pronto! Sale prices are as many suggest i.e. not moving much except for desperate folks if you can find one that's got a place you like (stiff odds to find I would suggest).

Its a matter of taste and lifestyle too I guess but I couldn't live in a BKK condo unless it was around 100 m/2. The 'dog-boxes' they sell as liveable spaces now are, ... well, unliveable to me.

There are and always have been older condo's of large size, (with solid building occupancies available - which some say translates into a nicer environment, and better kept communal areas and other services). To buy something in this realm and with some reno budget could bring a gorgeous BKK oases. A decent on of these will cost you every bit of 200K AUD.

Seen some crackers in Suk Soi 33 towards the khlong end as one example, Soi 20, Soi 26, and further out. Visited a great place over on Wireless Road a while back, quite cheap I thought at 25,000 (2018 pre covid and strong market at the time).  

There are some really quiet, large, green surround places if you can narrow this huge city down to a few areas of interest. Otherwise I'd say you will simply miss the gems and loose your mind searching and settle for something less than you want.

 

 

 

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25 minutes ago, brianthainess said:

Why retire in a polluted city ? You do not mention the nationality of your wife is she also Sri Lankan ?

Does not sound like the wife is part of the equation...

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Just sharing my thoughts with OP since I'm in Singapore and own a condo in Thailand. Obviously finances play a significant part in your consideration, but have you considered how suitable is the country and culture for you and family? Traveling for holiday is not the same as living there long term. It would be prudent for you to consider that first. Second, if you only budget 100k USD for a property, it doesn't get you nearly enough in bkk if that's where you plan to go. My one bedroom condo in bkk suk 28 was about 6m baht in 2012. I believed prices has gone up since. If you are earning income in Singapore, you can try uob bank for mortgage but there are limitations on the amount you borrow, the loan period, restriction of which developer to purchase from as well as high interest rates. Having said that, 100k can't get you anything in Singapore too so....... Maybe you can consider johor like someone else mentioned here. I got my freehold waterfront 3 bedroom condo in johor bahru in 2014 for about 150k USD. Living cost in johor is about a third to half of Singapore's. Ultimately your budget plays a big part in where you end up. 

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A new, medium quality condo in Bangkok will likely cost you 150-200 thousand baht per square meter, more than 200 thousand for a new extra luxury quality condo. I paid 180 000 baht per Sq Meter (discounted from full list price) for my condo in 2018 and that was a nicely finished but not top end quality building and apartment. The square meter price range took into account a high floor, double corner condo (views to North, South and East), 3 bedroom/ 2 bathroom condo and distance to the BTS and shopping infrastructure. You could use this as an estimate how many square meters that a $100, 000 budget would buy you at that price per Square meter range if you wanted a new build in a similar locale.

 

Don't assume that the Bangkok condo value will increase year on year either, I expect that my condo value has potentially dropped by as much as 40% or so during the last 3 years due to supply and demand in this area and Covid. Whereas many countries have seen a major uptick in real estate value during Covid the same cannot be said about the Thai Real Estate market, regardless of what real estate agencies might say.

 

If I had to buy into a real estate growth market it would definitely be Singapore over Thailand. I cannot see Bangkok ever being a great place for long term real estate property value growth unless you owned a plot of land, which does appreciate. Condos are a dime a dozen. Just my opinion though and I could be wrong.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Yellowtail said:

At forty you should be investing most of your money in an account that will appreciate over the years that takes little time and effort to manage. 

 

In five or ten years or whenever you are ready to retire, see how things look and if you still want a condo in Bangkok rent one for a years and then buy one if you still want to.

 

A lot can happen in five to ten years politicly and economically.

 

 

 

 

     I agree with everything you posted.  My Thai partner and I have bought numerous condos in Thailand--in Rayong, Pattaya, and Bangkok--so I am certainly not opposed to the idea of buying a condo here.  But I think it would be more prudent for the OP, at his age, to invest the money and let it grow.  In 5 or 10 years time ,when he is planning to retire, take a fresh look at things.

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6 hours ago, spidermike007 said:

Getting a mortgage from a Thai bank, as a foreigner, is a tough road. And most would agree now is not a good time to buy. The pain will be felt for many years to come. I anticipate condo prices to drop by half. And the rental market is very soft too. A friend of mine recently moved to Pattaya. He looked at condos in Jomtien. He walked into one of the nicest towers, looked at a 36th floor unit with panoramic views, and when he was quoted 28,000 a month, he offered 10,000. They settled on 13,000. He said the agent more or less admitted the building was nearly empty, and they could not rent to sell anything, at this time.

 

A good friend has a girlfriend who is a senior level manager for one of Thailand's biggest developers. She told him that they have reduced their building by 90% of what it was pre-Covid, which was around 100 developments a year. She said it was nearly impossible to lease or sell anything right now, at prices that make sense. 

Demand is way down. The Chinese market is nearly gone, Russians and others are very hesitant to commit. And the long term tourists are gone too. So, who does that leave? Wealthy Thais, many of whom see the market collapsing, and would rather wait and see how all of this shakes out, and ex-pats, many of whom are smart enough to be shopping for bargains right now.

Anyone interested in buying a condo right now, would be better off waiting awhile. Timing is on your side. Time is now your ally. The economy is going remain devastated here, for a very long time to come. And the longer this goes on, the more people are going to be affected by it, and the more desperate some will become. For the wealthy it barely matters. But, there are many middle class who have money invested, and there are alot of Chinese and Russians who bought, and cannot even visit Thailand. Some of them will want to unload their properties. Wait. The condo market is severely overbuilt. And demand is low, for all but the top buildings.

And yet I’m hearing and experiencing something totally different. In my building in Bangkok 4 units sold in the last month at close to reasonable asking prices. Lower than 2 years ago but very acceptable. Here in Hua Hin I’ve been half heartedly trying to sell for the past 3 years. The market has been depressed for a while due to over supply. I’ve been living here the last 3 months and it’s it’s made me take a different view. With foreign tourists non existent it’s a much nicer place to be and I’m likely not going to sell. Having said that I’ve had 2 viewings this week. Bangkok people are buying like crazy the last 2-3 months. 
where I definitely agree with you is on the rental,side. That market has been decimated.

In difficult times the better properties will always have some strength.

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1 hour ago, Toby1947 said:

Don’t, they’re not worth a carrot shoddily built, high percentage of Thais don’t pay their maintenance fees consequently falling into high disrepair. Never buy a thing in Thailand unless you can walk away from the expense of losing it.

Never buy a thing in anywhere unless you can walk away from the expense of losing it.

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1 hour ago, Toby1947 said:

Don’t, they’re not worth a carrot shoddily built, high percentage of Thais don’t pay their maintenance fees consequently falling into high disrepair. Never buy a thing in Thailand unless you can walk away from the expense of losing it.

Quite    blight effects all

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10 hours ago, Toby1947 said:

Don’t, they’re not worth a carrot shoddily built, high percentage of Thais don’t pay their maintenance fees consequently falling into high disrepair.

Sweeping statement that means nothing to anyone who’s been clever enough to do a bit of research. 

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14 hours ago, Aussieroaming said:

A new, medium quality condo in Bangkok will likely cost you 150-200 thousand baht per square meter, more than 200 thousand for a new extra luxury quality condo. I paid 180 000 baht per Sq Meter (discounted from full list price) for my condo in 2018 and that was a nicely finished but not top end quality building and apartment. The square meter price range took into account a high floor, double corner condo (views to North, South and East), 3 bedroom/ 2 bathroom condo and distance to the BTS and shopping infrastructure. You could use this as an estimate how many square meters that a $100, 000 budget would buy you at that price per Square meter range if you wanted a new build in a similar locale.

 

Don't assume that the Bangkok condo value will increase year on year either, I expect that my condo value has potentially dropped by as much as 40% or so during the last 3 years due to supply and demand in this area and Covid. Whereas many countries have seen a major uptick in real estate value during Covid the same cannot be said about the Thai Real Estate market, regardless of what real estate agencies might say.

 

If I had to buy into a real estate growth market it would definitely be Singapore over Thailand. I cannot see Bangkok ever being a great place for long term real estate property value growth unless you owned a plot of land, which does appreciate. Condos are a dime a dozen. Just my opinion though and I could be wrong.

 

 

No you are very right . Condos and houses hardly ever go up in price . There is always new competition just around the corner being built as we speak . Land tends to appreciate nicely , you just can’t own it 😄

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3 minutes ago, Freddy42OZ said:

I rent in Bangkok, in a nice building, nice pool, nice gym, 2 minute walk to a Sukhumvit BTS station.

500 sq/ft and I pay 10,000 baht a month (about 415 SGD). 

My point is the rental income here is very low relative to the purchase price.

 

What BTS station?

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Thank you so much for amazing and useful insights!  I much appreciate it.  

 

To answer some of the questions above:

- yes I have 100k sitting in the bank not doing anything.  So idea was to do something with it... One of them was property if it's 'value for money'.  I do have access to a large property portfolio I own pretty much mortgage free back in the UK which I can refinance. I'm not looking to finance in Thailand.

 

- no, I'm not planning to split from my wife!  It's merely that we have different outlook in life (I love scuba diving and travelling and she much prefers to spend time with her siblings).  My wife has a Sri Lankan heritage but born/bred in London.  Key is that I can't stand UK weather esp in Winter and I want to enjoy my 50s so having a base in Asia makes sense for me.  

 

- as for JB, there are some awesome condos at really cheap prices.  I'm not sure Malaysia (and I lived in KL for a few years) is the right country for me compared to SG or Thailand though somewhere up north or Borneo wouldn't be so bad.

 

Given your collective advice, I'll look to invest in other assets (likely ETFs) or buy something in SG.

 

I really appreciate the amount of guidance guys - truly humbled that you all took time to reply.

Edited by James7
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