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Thailand

EEC, megaprojects mean opportunities for property sector

The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and infrastructure development are setting new megatrends in Thailand with huge opportunities lying ahead for the property sector, according to former policymakers and property experts.

Heavyweight politician Suwat Liptapanlop said the EEC will be a key player driving economic growth over the next several years, similar to the Eastern Seaboard project launched 37 years ago by the late Privy Council president and statesman, Gen Prem Tinsulanonda.

"The economy continued expanding for many years after that," said Mr Suwat, a former deputy prime minister. "During the late Chatichai Choonhavan's administration, GDP grew by more than 10% for three consecutive years."

He said the EEC will open a lot of new opportunities, help Thailand escape the middle-income trap and boost investment growth by over 10% and GDP by more than 5% a year.

The EEC will create employment for more than 100,000 people and increase income, Mr Suwat said. This growth will be ignited by the high-speed train project linking three airports.

With expansion of the terminal, taxiways and runways, passengers at Don Mueang airport will rise from 30 million to 40 million, while at Suvarnabhumi passengers are projected to increase from 60 million to 90 million.

Mr Suwat said various mass transit lines in Greater Bangkok that are under construction will create new opportunities in the property sector, similar to the initial skytrain routes and condos many years ago.

"Condos along current skytrain lines are now pricey," he said at the ASA Real Estate Forum 2019, themed "Smart and Innovative Cities for All" and held last Friday by the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage (ASA).

"But after the new lines are completed, condos will be more affordable because the lines will run to outer-city locations. They will open a chance for low- and middle-income earners to get an affordable unit."

At the same time, construction of double-track rail in regions will reduce inequality, create new opportunities in provinces and aid tourists and farmers, Mr Suwat said.

Pornnarit Chuanchaisit, president of the Thai Real Estate Association, said that while Bangkok should not grow and expand without a good direction, the city's growth and expansion are unstoppable.

"The only way to stop the city's growth is to promote growth and development in the provinces by creating jobs," he said. "Property demand will follow."

ASA president Atchaphol Dusitnanon said the development of smart and innovative cities should have a city identity with a clear direction that matches local demand in each area.

The government set seven directives for each area to develop a smart city: smart environment, smart government, smart mobility, smart energy, smart economy, smart living and smart people.

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