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Upturn in high-end homes

The confidence of high-end consumers in the homebuilding market has started to recover since the beginning of the year, thanks to a healthier political situation, say building firm executives.

Home Builder Association president Panthep Thanchitikul said market sentiment for houses priced from 10 million baht showed signs of reviving, although interest in houses priced below 3 million baht has yet to recover.

"I can't say about sales, but the trend [for the high-end market] has started to pick up since the beginning of this year," Mr Panthep said. "Customers who return are mostly the existing ones."

Although banks are offering attractive loans, buyers in the middle and lower-end markets are uncertain about their income, he said.

"Consumers won't see aggressive promotional discounts as high as 20%, as in last year's fourth quarter, because construction cost have come down to the same level as March last year and also become less volatile," Mr Panthep said.

Somsak Rochdrongkul, Windmill Architects' CEO and managing director, said the company saw better sentiment and had sales of over 100 million baht in the first two months. "The high-end market is still doing well as consumers' purchasing power is not the problem. A little discount and good design are enough," he said.

3D Housing managing director Wisit Monaiyapong said the stable political situation, a drop in oil prices and less concern over volatile construction prices had boosted consumer confidence, which had picked up this month.

Pramote Theerakul, managing director of Four Pattana Group, said now is a good time for homebuyers with land to build, as prices are back to the start of 2008 and the interest rate is low.

The Home Builder Association yesterday opened a homebuilding fair offering promotions from 21 member firms at Central Plaza Lat Phrao until tomorrow. It aims to generate deals worth 500 million baht from the fair. The association will also stage another fair in August this year at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.

From : Bangkok Post (Business section)

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