Last year saw approximately 470 serviced units added to the Bangkok landscape, which was less than the 600 units added in 2010 and the lowest supply in the past two years. “There is a lot of supply in the market and we’ve seen a lot of factors affecting demand in recent years such as political unrest and the global economic crisis,” explained Surachet Kongcheep, senior manager of research, Colliers International Thailand. “The main target group for serviced apartments in Bangkok are foreigners, especially Japanese, and demand is very sensitive.”

The majority of supply in 2011 came from the completion of the Grande Centre Point Hotel and Residences Sukhumvit – Terminal 21, which added 216 units to the market in the last quarter of 2011. Rooms are appointed in studio and one- bedroom configurations ranging in sizes from 32-46 sqm and 65-70 sqm respectively and the location right at the Asok intersection allows easy access to mass transit lines MRT and BTS as well as Bangkok’s major shopping centres, schools and hospitals.

Location, location

In 2011, more than 300 units accounting for some 65 per cent of the supply in Bangkok, were located in the early Sukhumvit area where residents can conveniently access mass transportation links, office buildings, restaurants and shopping outlets.
Supply in late Sukhumvit road concentrates around Thonglor area where residents are lured by similar amenities, while central Lumpini contains many embassies and contains more Grade A units. The newly opened Oriental Residences located in Lumpini area on Wireless road attracts working professionals who need to be close to the city’s business and diplomatic centres.
The 145 grade A serviced apartments range in size from 45 sqm for a studio to 160 sqm for a three-bedroom unit and come with specialised personal services such as luxury toiletries,butler, in-residence dining amongst others. Prices start at THB5,300 (US$170) per sqm for an executive deluxe room and guests have access to facilities such as a 20-metre tile encrusted pool, an open air lounging area in addition to a whole range of services for families such as babysitting service, a children’s pool, baby cots and strollers.

Another popular choice is Shama Sukhumvit, a 90-unit complex on Sukhumvit Soi 2 that caters mainly to a European and, to a lesser extend, Asian clientele. The development has adopted a very resident-centered approach by not offering any F&B outlets that attract external visitors. “We target long-term residents and we want people to feel at home here,” said Sukamal Mondal, the managing director of Shama Sukhumvit,, “Residents can feel safe letting their children use the facilities alone.”

The road ahead

Going forward, approximately 420 units are expected to be completed this year in Bangkok, continuing a trend of fewer launches. According to Kongcheep, the serviced apartment market is not booming as it has in the past due to a highly competitive market, which has led to the postponement of new projects. However, areas outside of the CBD saw an increase in supply and demand as some foreigners prefer the suburbs, some of which have very good international schools.

“Although they lack services and some facilities,” said Kongcheep, “the lower rental rates are more attractive for long stay residents. In addition, hotels are also competing with serviced apartments as many expatriates need to stay temporarily in a hotel first before moving to more permanent apartments or condominiums.”