CHIANG RAI – Property development projects in this northernmost province are flourishing, as the area has high potential from an anticipated boom in border trade and new infrastructure development.
Plans for a bridge across the Mekong River, new highways, a second airport and mass transit have attracted a number of Bangkok-based developers and new players.
Some large Bangkok developers have entered Chiang Rai’s condominium market this year _ CP Land Plc, Sansiri Plc and Quality Houses Plc (QH), the last two SET-listed.
Sansiri recently launched the 870-million-baht D Condo Hyde-Chiang Rai comprising 482 units priced from 1.45 million baht.
CP Land will on Nov 23 launch the Kallapapruek Grand Park Chiang Rai, with prices starting at 1.1 million baht.
QH will launch 400 condo units worth a combined 500 million baht early next year.
All of these will be low-rise condominium buildings located on Phahon Yothin Road.
“An indicator is the entry of Central Department Store and HomePro, as retail players always conduct market research on a province’s gross domestic product before investing,” said QH chief executive Rutt Phanijphand.
Thanakorn Sroysuwan, an adviser to the Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce, said only one condo project had been built in Chiang Rai in two decades, and 90% of the residents are foreigners.
Then late last year, nine new condo projects were launched in Muang district by Central Land and House Complex Co, a new developer established in 2011 by the Techateerawat family.
All of the projects are pending environmental impact assessment approval before construction can begin.
For the single house segment, the first Bangkok developer to jump in was the Fine Home Group of Cos. It studied the market for three years before buying 25 rai on Chiang Rai-Thoeng Road in 2011 on which it built a single house project.
“The choice of houses is limited for buyers in Chiang Rai. Demand for housing designs similar to what can be found in Bangkok is rising,” said managing director Sukit Triwanapong.
He said demand for Fine Home’s project is especially strong among doctors, nurses and local and foreign business people, particularly from South Korea and Britain.
It comprises 98 houses priced from 4-8 million baht. Eight have been sold including three to foreigners.
Early this month, the SET-listed Land and Houses Plc (LH) launched the Siwalee Sri Wiang-Chiang Rai single house project on 90 rai on Si Wiang Road.
Houses are priced from 4-6 million baht.
Mr Thanakorn said the entrance of residential developers from Bangkok followed Central Group, which opened a Central Department Store on Phahon Yothin Road two years ago.
As well, large modern construction materials traders HomePro and Thai Watsadu will open their Chiang Rai branches by year-end.
Mr Thanakorn said rising star Chiang Rai will attract new investment in the near future, as the new bridge from Chiang Rai’s Chiang Khong district to Huay Xai in Laos will open on Dec 11.
It will be the fourth one across the Mekong River between the two countries.
“This bridge will link Thailand to Laos and China via Route R3A. This will increase the border trade volume, as transport from China is now only down the river to the port,” said Mr Thanakorn.
The potential of the new bridge will be enhanced by a new road between it and Muang district.
The four-lane highway will stretch for 48 kilometres and cost the Highways Department 2.8 billion baht to build.
Airports of Thailand Plc is planning a new airport to support international flights, as the current one located close to town cannot be expanded.
The new facility will be located 20 kilometres east of the current airport, which will remain in use.
Mr Thanakorn, who is also on the subcommittee overseeing the Chiang Rai town plan, said the town is expanding.
The new town plan will change the zoning for Phahon Yothin Road, where many retail centres are located, from an orange or medium-density residential zone to a red or commercial zone.
To support the city expansion, the Chiang Rai Provincial Administration Organisation will develop the City Line, an electric bus system linking the town with Mae Fah Luang University, a distance of 13 km.
Scheduled for completion in 2015, it will comprise four stations, at the Kok River, the airport, Tha Khao Pluak Road and the university.