SUKHUMVIT’S LASTING APPEAL

bangkokDue to a convergence of the BTS Skytrain, MRT and 2 major roads, as well as an established expat community helped in no small measure by the retail and entertainment attractions, the area is poised to become a residential hotspot in years to come.

With a population of over 8 million inhabitants and spreading across 1,500 sq km, the city of Bangkok offers a vast and unique market for property investors. From new developments, second-hand property, buy-to-lets and even renovation projects, every area of the city offers unique opportunities for savvy investors.

However the adage “location, location, location” could not be more true, especially in a city as vast as the City of Angels. The multitude of areas, neighbourhoods and roads make property investment particularly confusing and can be a potential minefield. While capital appreciation and rental yield opportunities exist in all areas of the city, the general rule of thumb is, “It is always best to restrict property investments to Bangkok’s Central Business District (CBD)”.

While the exact boundaries of the CBD are a subject of much discussion, most property professionals in the city will agree that the 3 Areas considered prime are:

1. Sukhumvit

2. Silom and Sathorn

3. Ploenchit and Wireless Road

The Sukhumvit area’s name is derived from the major artery “Sukhumvit Road”, which runs across this area of the city. It is arguably the most diverse and exciting area of Bangkok and its appeal comes from the multitude of retail, residential and commercial developments that have mushroomed along Sukhumvit Road. These developments have been fuelled by the BTS Skytrain, which allows residents of Sukhumvit to travel across the city in a matter of minutes. The area is therefore ideal for commuting to work or simply travelling for leisure. The work life balance that the area offers, contributes to its desirability amongst the city’s expats and locals alike.

Technically “Sukhumvit Road” and by extension the “Sukhumvit Area” is extensive, therefore when referring to the CBD, only a small part of that area is really considered prime. These areas are anywhere from BTS Station Nana to BTS Station Ekkamai.

Nana

This area has firmly consolidated itself as one of the most cosmopolitan part of the city, thus making it a popular residential area for expats. Sukhumvit Road 11 is a popular nightlife spot which attracts a crowd of young professionals and Sukhumvit Road 3 -Sukhumvit Road 5 has attracted a large middle-eastern community. A notable landmark is the Bumrungrad Hospital, a five-star institution that provides state-of-the-art medical care thus making Nana a centre for medical tourism.

Nana has always been an established part of the CBD and therefore there is a good mix of quality condos both new and old. Some of the newer developments available include ultra-luxury “Q Sukhumvit” and “Hyde Sukhumvit”.

Asoke

This area is where the BTS Skytrain crosses the MRT Line (Mass Rapid Transport) thus making it a busy intersection where commuters and travelers from other parts of the city congregate. By road, the Asoke Intersection is also connected to two major roads, notably Phetchaburi Road (via Asoke Montri Road) to the North and Rama 4 Road (via Rachadaphisek Road) to the South.

This accessibility has made Asoke an attractive office space hotspot. Various office spaces are available in the area with numerous local and international businesses setting up their operations in Asoke. Numerous office blocks are on offer such as “Interchange Tower” and “Exchange Tower” which are directly connected to the BTS Asoke Station via a skywalk. An important landmark which has consolidated the prominence of Asoke as an area to do business is the presence of the “Thailand Stock Exchange” on Rachadaphisek Road.

On a residential perspective, Asoke’s northern tip (Around Phetchaburi Road) is currently a hotbed of new development activity. This can be attributed to numerous factors, notably the presence of good public transport networks (MRT Phetchaburi and the Airport Rail Link) but also the fact that numerous leading Thai developers have acquired land banks for development. Numerous developments are currently under way notably “Q Asoke by Q House” and “Life Asoke by AP Thai”.

Phrom Phong

Currently one of the most exciting areas of Sukhumvit, the massive development by The Mall Group of “EmQuartier” shopping centre and the modernization of “Emporium” shopping centers have made Phrom Phong the shopping heartland of Sukhumvit. The ambitions of The Mall Group for Phrom Phong, does not end there as they are currently in the process of developing a third shopping center “Emsphere” thus dubbing the trio the “The Em District”.

While Phom Phong has always been a chic and established area of the CBD, these massive retail projects have transformed this enclave into an ultra-desirable residential neighbourhood. Investors looking to put money in Phrom Phong have a choice of old and relatively modern second-hand condos as well as new developments.

Thong Lo/Ekkamai

These two neighbourhoods are fashionable and trendy areas, with plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. The area is alive both during the day with its multitude of retail spaces and coffee shops popular with families and night with Thong Lo Road 10 offering an eclectic collection of bars and nightclubs.

Thong Lo/ Ekkamai are generally considered upmarket and chic and this makes it a popular hangout spot for young professionals and socialites. On top of this, Bangkok’s Japanese expat community cluster around this area and Thong Lo Road 13 offers a multitude of Japanese restaurant and shops.

Both areas offer an attractive lifestyle and therefore condo developments in the area have benefited from a healthy dose of capital appreciation and are always great buy-to-lets.

Phra Khanong/On Nut

While many will argue that these two areas are not quite CBD material, the proximity of these neighbourhoods to areas like Thong Lo, Phrom Phong and Asoke due to the convenience of the BTS Skytrain has transformed Phra Khanong/On Nut into commuter belts. Both neighbourhoods attract a population of working professionals (expats and Thais) and young families who are seeking better-value condos on both the rental and sales front.

This trend has not gone unnoticed and numerous major Thai developers have started to invest into gentrifying the area. One notable development is The Base by Sansiri (On Nut), which is inspired by the concept of community living. The developer has developed 3 residential condos (The Base Sukhumvit 77, The Base Park East and The Base Park West). They have also invested into improving local living and are in the process of developing a retail mall “Habito” which is meant to cater to the residents of its developments.

The bottom line is residential property is ultimately about investing into areas, where people want to live. The Sukhumvit area offers an incredibly attractive lifestyle option, where its residents can balance work and leisure. On top of this, the different sub-areas within Sukhumvit from Asoke, Phrom Phong, Thong Lo to On Nut offer a diverse choice with each neighbourhood catering to the needs of people with different backgrounds and lifestyles. This diversity and choice, means that in the years to come, Sukhumvit will continue to thrive as a residential property investment hotspot!

pierrePierre Leung is the Sales Manager of Fresh Property, a boutique property agency that specialises in sales and rental of residential property in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok.
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