For Bar-Lawyers only: Living in the Dark

  • 3 years ago
  • 1

Pattaya is overbuilt, yet they keep building.
Construction sites everywhere! It is crazy.
All these buildings: Half-empty!
Many units are unsold!
Never, ever buy a property in Thailand.
The weather is too warm anyway. And the Thais do not even speak English.
And the food? Do you think I eat Thai food?! Way too spicy!
Can I have another beer, please? What time Happy Hour finishes?

Don’t we all know them?
The bar-lawyer army. The grumpy & negative keyboard-warriors on social media?
“Property Experts”, pur sang?


  • They keep building.
  • Buildings (seem) half empty.
  • The weather is warm.
  • Thais speak better English than most of us speak Thai.
  • Thai food can be spicy.
  • Happy hour never finishes if you have a smile on your face.

For more than a decade, the property market in Pattaya showed blooming sales.
Mostly condos on resort-style “waterpark” lagoon projects.
Average room size starting from 25ish square meters upwards.
In some developments, a 25-30 square meter room would come as a glamorous-luxurious 1 bedroom unit. To become part of such a “glamorous lifestyle and a desirable and privileged world” you must think of an investment that starts from roughly ฿ 1++ million only [€ 26,000 | $ 32,000 | £ 23,000].
A covered parking lot in central Amsterdam will cost you € 89,000 or nearly ฿ 3.4 million.
(Plus € 150 [฿ 5,700 monthly service fee) – just so you can compare.

Bigger = Better?
Maybe, but also more expensive.
Higher construction costs lead to higher sales prices.
A logical step to reduce the sales price and herewith increase your audience is to create SMALLER units.
What is small?
An average 5-star hotel room sizes only 32 to 34 square meters, yet, with smart layout designs, they feel much bigger. A standard hotel room in Holiday Inn Express on Soi Buakhao here in Pattaya is 19 square meters. At the new 5-star Marriott Courtyard in Wong Amart, the room size starts from 35 square meters.

When Town & Country Property built The Residence Jomtien condominium (2007), studios were 51 square meters! In today’s market that could easily be a 2-bedrooms apartment…

Why selling smaller units at a cheap price?
It is a number game. There are more buyers with 1 million to spend than buyers with 5 million to spend.
But, are those units really cheap?

Let us see, here is a sample.
Chapter One ECO Ratchada – Huaikwang (Bangkok), a condo project with 1844 units sold out, with prices starting at ฿ 2.89 million. Averaging ฿ 120,000 per M2 for units of just 24 square meters.
That is some 30% higher than other condo projects in the same area.

So, from a developer’s point of view: Selling small units at an affordable starting price is a very lucrative business. Do the math.

Back to Pattaya.
Who is buying?
Most of the “affordable” mini-apartments (shoeboxes) are sold to buyers with disposable cash:
Foreigners that frequently visit Thailand. The other group of buyers is Thai-starters buying into projects like the ones from LPN and Q-house with attractive bank mortgages in place.

Many units remain empty most of the year, as they were only bought as an “alternative hotel room”. Frequent travelers can use their own apartment whenever they are in Thailand. Pure convenience.

So, passing a condo resort-style project at night could result in a huge building with just a few lights switched on. “Living in the dark”.

Any concerns with the condo owners?
Not really: Nobody bought a unit as a “buy to let” investment. Only personal use.
Inflation – deflation? No one worries – units were bought with disposable cash, cheaper than a parking lot at home.

And they keep building…
Also true. Mind you: Developers do not tend to build without units being sold.
Construction of a high-rise could easily take 2-3 years to complete.
So, once sufficient sales are achieved and the sales chart is all dotted with “sold stickers”, money is in the bank: Construction will commence. Corona Virus or not.

Is there anybody “left in the dark”?
Any more questions? No?
Happy Hour can continue!

Author: Mr. KC Cuijpers

For more information: Please contact Town & Country Property – [email protected]

Join The Discussion

5 thoughts on “For Bar-Lawyers only: Living in the Dark”

  • Logan

    Hya, reading this article has put a smile on my face.
    It was funny how you referred to the “bar-lawyers” of Pattaya.
    I live in the Soi BuaKauw area and wander around on a daily basis.
    I bought a condo behind the avenue in City Garden (same the photo here) and from there it is easy to walk anywhere in town. My friends would call these farrang residents of Pattaya city the cheap charlies of town and you have no idea how many of them there are. Now with covid it even gets worse as all of them are complaining about everything. lol Anyway: Thanks for the article: it is 100 % spot on.
    I personally believe living in Pattaya is great – otherwise I would not be here and move back to Canada. The info on these smaller units in condo projects is very interesting – I was lucky to buy a bigger unit few years back. I am actually now looking for a house on your website and think of moving to east Pattaya. Friends of mine live there and it is very nice. I was surprised what value for money you have there in comparison to a condo in Central Pattaya.
    I am thinking of 2-3 bedrooms and a private pool – I made a few inquiries already and I am reading your reply as we speak. Some nice properties you have there. Thanks L


      Hi Logan, thank you for your nice feedback on our article.
      It might reflect “daily life” downtown for some. Where I live, in East Pattaya, the scenery is slightly different.
      But you already discovered that when you were visiting your friends. Good residential areas, not far from the beach and the city of Pattaya are East Pattaya, Mabprachan Lake, Huay Yai, Na Jomtien, Baan Amphur, and Bang Saray.
      The Baan Amphur and Bang Saray locations might be a bit too far out for some, but others love it there as it is so laid-back. Very different from Pattaya city.
      And there is a great collection of homes available in any style and budget. I am looking forward to working with you Logan!

    • Alexander

      Bar lawyers – Cheap Charlies…
      Funny, another group we always called them balloon chasers. The guys in and around soi Bua Kau and soi 7 that were looking for birthday parties in any bar possible. (Balloons outside)
      I am hoping to go back to Thailand again soon. I love living in Pattaya as there is so much to do and it is nice. Hopefully, I can buy a nice condo in Central Pattaya. Or perhaps even a house with a pool (my dream). When I was working in real estate before, we sold nice homes in Huay Yai. Not expensive and of good quality. Since my old company closed, I visit this website often and I hope one day I can select one of the properties available on it. Greetings from Russia!

  • Aiden

    I know what you are saying here. And thanks for explaining it, especially about the few lights in a big project if you drive past one of those condo projects in Wong Amart, Jomtien, or Pattaya.
    It all makes sense to me finally. Do you think the hotels will suffer in Pattaya because so many tourists now actually have their own apartment and won’t be using a hotel anymore?


      Hello Aiden, thanks for your kind feedback. I am not sure about the hospitality industry here in the region of Pattaya.
      We still see new hotels being built. So, there is a sheer bit of confidence there.
      I believe that Pattaya will remain its position as the most favorable tourist destination in Thailand.
      Not only visitors from abroad but also domestic “tourists” must be taken into account.
      Time will tell?

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