Bangkok the Big Mango. City of Angels. Whatever it’s called, Bangkok remains one of the world’s truly exotic and exciting cities. Over the past decade, Bangkok's residential property market has diversified immensely, emerging from the shadow of the 1997 financial crisis. Luxury condominiums in central Bangkok sell for a third of the price of those in Hong Kong, and less than half the price of those in Singapore.
Because of Bangkok’s low labour costs and cheap housing, many large corporations have over the years chosen to make this city their Southeast Asian base. Hence, a high expatriate population can be found in Bangkok. This creates a healthy demand and supply of condos and property.
From an expat’s point of view, Bangkok is extremely attractive for a number of reasons. It’s a city of contrasts, not for the faint of heart. For many, its appeal lies in its cultural anomalies; temples glitter alongside cloud-gracing highrises and chaotic streets crowded with vendors selling everything from tasty noodles to knock-off designer purses. That said, Bangkok continues to grow increasingly cosmopolitan. There is no shortage of high-end shopping malls, exciting nightlife and fine dining, making it all the more appealing for expats who enjoy life in the fast lane.
Because of Bangkok’s large expat community, there is no shortage of clubs and organizations representing a wide variety of interests, from social clubs and sports teams to charity and cultural interest groups. Bangkok has an endless number of international restaurants, nightclubs, museums and unique shopping options. Bangkok’s cultural scene is growing as well, both in terms of music and art.
Not without its big city headaches, Bangkok’s biggest problem is its annoyingly unpredictable traffic jams. Fortunately a growing high-speed rail network is easing some of the congestion, with the city’s Sky Train and underground MRT trains connecting commuters to the majority of the city’s important shopping and business areas.
Although Bangkok’s housing market is primarily of interest purely to Thai nationals, with most developers putting little effort into attracting foreign buyers thanks to the country’s strict land ownership laws, condominiums and apartments are another story. As in all Thailand property markets, condos and apartments are much easier for foreigners to buy and control. Dozens of luxury or well-managed buildings are attracting a high number of foreigners, particularly in the Sukhumvit, Lumpini and Silom areas. Other up-and-coming areas include the Chao Phraya River, Thonglor and Rachatewi. In 2006, there was a strong rebound in new condominium and apartment block launches as developers cleared inventory that had built up over the previous two years. A total of 29 new projects were launched in inner-city Bangkok, accounting for 8,148 new units. About half of these were in Sukhumvit, Bangkok’s most popular expatriate area.