Pattaya is home to one of the most diverse cultural offerings of the world. Extreme sides of civilisation can be found on a daily basis and is often referred as “The City of Fun”.
From Dawn to Dusk or, from Dusk to Dawn, whichever is your preference, there is something for everyone and at all hours. Bangkok is around 90 minutes away on a relatively smooth and direct motorway link, with fast train links planned and with new motorway links to Utapao airport, getting around is very straight forward.
One of the main draws to taking part-time residence on the Eastern Seaboard of Thailand many years ago was to “live by the sea” yet still have the opportunity to work in the big smoke of Bangkok. Let’s face it, for some it can take a couple hours to get home in Bangkok traffic so travel to Pattaya for the same time can be worthwhile. Fresh sea breeze air and being able to travel quite some distance on a baht bus (public open air transport) from North Pattaya down to the far South of Jomtien at only Bt20 was a great way to build a business for little cost and all, while getting to cruise along the beach each day between appointments.
As time goes by one can’t help but notice several big changes to the city and particularly as circumstances change to incorporate families. From luxury shopping centres, hotels, international schools, restaurants, nightclubs, children’s play areas and residences all have seen standards increase to a level where Bangkok Thai and expat residents, “pop down”, on a weekly basis to enjoy what the city by the sea has to offer.
One thing which stands out the most is that the skyline of Pattaya has changed dramatically to incorporate a high number of towers and resort-style condominiums.
Historically a tourist destination and often more on the red light side, emphasis has changed to focus more on the family and business side with high standard residences available.
With much more space and, of course, beach frontage than Bangkok, condominiums have seen massive growth and with new ideas for each development. Facilities can range from the usual pool and gym to a massive resort hotel-style pool with waterslides, waterfalls, wave pools, imitation beaches, cinema rooms, games rooms, snooker, pool, table football, barbeque areas, table tennis, squash/basketball/tennis courts, mini golf, rock climbing, restaurants, children’s soft play areas, Jacuzzis, spas, massage, conference rooms, libraries….etc. etc.
With such a wide array of condominiums available and at reasonable cost compared with International property prices, it is no surprise that over the past couple of years, units are being sold on a daily basis to multi-nationals and with extra high volumes for Chinese, Russians, Indians and Thais.
Finance for purchasing property tends to “come and go” with many requirements to adhere too, lenders often struggle to maintain long-term solutions to meet government tick boxes. For a foreigner to legally own a condo in Thailand, the land office more often than not, will require to see evidence the entire registered purchase price was remitted from overseas in order to buy or at least have an exchange take place from foreigner currency to baht, producing some paperwork for the registered purchase price.
One particular lender came up with a decent longer term solution which is to simply offer an equity release/cashback/reverse mortgage offer. In essence, buy the condo and then after it is registered in the foreigner name, the lender can easily give the buyer up to 60% cash back again. A straightforward and legal mortgage registered at the land office in a traditional Western way…
Of course, this does beg the question, if I can afford to buy in the first place, why do I need a mortgage?
The equity release model tends to be used mostly by investors who feel they can make more money elsewhere as opposed to locking up their cash in their real estate investments.
Take, for example, the latest Bitcoin prices of around US$3,500 (Bt10,000) for one digital coin. Not so long ago, the price was almost US$20,000 (Bt632,000). After a year-long 2018 bear market, chartists and true believers in the crypto scene are now on Twitter highlighting how we are in an accumulation period and, while the price may dip a little further, seem relatively confident that in the future and coming up to the next Bitcoin halving stated to be in 2020, prices will double. Some I have seen predict could lead onto new all-time highs which may indicate more than five times the initial investment!
Let’s assume an owner of a condo bought a unit for Bt5m and can easily afford monthly installments on a Bt2,500,000 loan (circa Bt26,000 per month) for a couple of years. If history repeats itself and using the logarithmic growth curve on Bitcoin than within the next one-two years, if he or she invested the Bt2,500,000 straight into Bitcoin now, they might be able to cash out for example Bt5,000,000 within a couple of years. The interest rate on the loan and fees are nowhere near the returns possibly available by investing in Bitcoin. Fair enough, 9.625% interest per annum on the equity release loan is not so cheap, however, compared to possible 100% returns on the alleged “future of money”… some take that risk.
Of course, investments can go extremely pear-shaped and a worst case scenario is that Bitcoin never recovers, or worse, you invest and then get hacked and lose everything so are stuck with a mortgage loan for the next 10 years, one should certainly not overlook this fact!
The old saying, invest ONLY what you can afford to lose and never borrow to invest would certainly need to be carefully considered. I would, however, question both as many seasoned “investors” I have known often borrow to invest if they know they can afford the loan and leverage up on existing investments to maximise returns..
Altcoin investments (every crypto coin other than Bitcoin) takes the risk category a little higher however, even more lucrative returns can be achieved in short spaces of time. If we exclude the 2018 Bear Market for the minute and look at the last 2017 Bitcoin Bull run, XVG (VergeCurrency) for example went on one of the biggest run of that year and from around 50 Satoshis (Bitcoin divisions) up to 1,980 Satoshis… thus multiplying any original investment by around 39 times….even more stunning was the fact it happened in just less than two weeks while Bitcoin was near its peak!!! XVG is presently sat back again at around 183 Satoshis after a year-long bear market. If you invested at the top, you would be looking at a massive paper loss, if you invested at the beginning and sold at the top…. you could certainly have paid off the original mortgage finance!!
In order to borrow cash using Pattaya City Condos on Equity Release terms, there is a useful map of all condos which has been pre-approved by a lender. Almost 350 condos to be exact already available to loan in around three-four weeks and deposit, baht cash back onto your designated account to spend as one may please. As a rule of thumb, for Pattaya low rise (up to eight stories , one can assume the loan is likely to be around Bt20,000-45,000 per sqm dependient on the floor, view and age of building. For high rise, these tend to loan from around Bt45,000 up to around Bt95,000-100,000 per sqm again dependent on the floor, view and age of building. Beachfront towers generally command the higher loan-to-value ratios at up to 60% for the higher floors and unobstructed sea views. A penthouse, however ,may loan around 30-40% as usually are of a significant loan size with a less liquid able asset. I.e. it’s a little more difficult to find a buyer on a Bt150m penthouse than a Bt5m condo. Installments can be as low as Bt10,600 per month, over a 10 year balloon payment term, with Bt1,000,000 borrowed.
By Stuart Maxwell Foulkes
For further information on how to “Finance Property & Condos in Thailand”, or a link to the Thailand Condo Finance Map providing easy Equity Release, please feel free to email:
[email protected] OR, call 66 (0) 81278 5382 OR, Line ID stuartmaxwellfoulkes, I shall than be happy to assist.
Note – This article is not to be considered as investment advice and all items considered in the article should be referred to your financial adviser or lawyer for independent advice. I could not be held accountable for any investments made based on the article information or references; you must do your own due diligence.