Bangkok’s Mass Transit System is in the midst of an expansion of grand scales. Once completed, the network of rail links could look similar on paper to that of other major cities such as London.
For property investors, developers and the residents of Bangkok this is sure to have a big impact. We look at the changes and investment that are currently taking place and what the future holds.
The Mass Transit System is commonly known as the BTS (Skytrain), MRT (Underground) and Airport Rail Link…
The very first plans for the Bangkok Mass Transit Systems Master Plan (MTMP) were first drawn up in 1994. With the first stages of the plan to be implemented between 1995 to 2011. During this time, there’s been some turbulence in many Asian economies, including the Financial Crisis in 1997. This has meant that some stages of the plan have been placed on hold, and some have been amended. In 2016 the cabinet approved the most recent proposals, which consisted of the following extensions:
• Light Green Line: North-South extension of the BTS to Saphan Mai and Kheha Samut Parkran
• Dark Green Line: West extension of the BTS to Yot Se and Bang Wa
• Blue Line: Extension of the MRT Blue Line to complete a quasi circle line with a branch to Lak Song
• Purple Line: South extension to Rat Burana is under study
• Orange Line: Running east–west Min Buri to Bang Khun Non
• Dark Red Line: Running north–southwest from Rangsit to Bang Sue to Maha Chai
• Light Red Line: Running east-west from Hua Mak to Taling Chan
• Airport Rail Link: North extension to Don Mueang
Above: The lines currently
Thailand BTS Extension
Currently, there are two main BTS lines: The Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line. As you can see from the above list, they are set to have large-scale extensions. Currently, there is a lack of rail links to Don Mueang Airport (one of Bangkok’s two main Airports) where most internal flights are scheduled from. If you’re flying with Air Asia, and heading to Krabi, Phuket, Chiang Mai or other short flight destinations outside of Thailand, the chances are you’ll be flying from Don Mueang. Currently, travellers get taxis from the centre of Bangkok to Don Mueang airport, or get the BTS to Mo Chit station and then a taxi or bus to Don Mueang, or do the same from the MRT station at Chatuchak Park (close to Mo Chit BTS).
The routes total 555.74 kilometres (345.32 miles) and construction is expected until 2029. Anyone who has spent some time in Bangkok recently can witness first hand the large scale expansion of the BTS, with stations and huge concrete supports for the track already in place. New stations are expected to open soon, with large-scale real estate developers in Thailand salivating at the very prospect and clambering on each other trying to purchase development land surrounding the new lines. Land in such areas has always carried a premium of up to 20% of land prices elsewhere, but with the effectiveness of the BTS already proven, the demand for property isn’t likely to be an issue.
BTS Founder and Chairman Keeree Kanjanapas believes that the Skytrain has already changed the way people live in Bangkok. High-rise condominiums were not really a consideration for the people of Bangkok originally, he says in an interview with Forbes. Not only are condominiums now accepted, but the people here want this lifestyle, similar to modern cities all over the world.
Above: The future plans for the MRT and BTS
Real Estate Opportunities Thailand
For years, Real Estate close to the MRT or BTS (BTS in particular) has been hot property. The convenience it provides to people living in a hugely congested city like Bangkok is clear for all to see. The surrounding infrastructure in such areas has also improved and some areas are barely recognisable from 5-10 years ago. Find Thai Property is keeping a keen eye on the development of the Bangkok Mass Transit System, as it will continue to change the face of Real Estate here. Take a look at Don Mueang area for example, where currently most of the housing is either townhouses or traditional Thai style housing. Land in this area will become like gold dust. A developer knows, that as soon as a BTS link is within walking distance, the value of the property will continue to rise. With land at a premium, the best way to build is upwards. And with the Thai people already embracing this style of living elsewhere in Bangkok, those areas with a distinctly low skyline could look very different in years to come.
Property Developers in Thailand Lead The Way
There are also hard luck stories from those in similar areas who invested on their best guesses several years ago, only to see that Rail Link developments haven’t come to fruition. This time around, external influences aside, the Thai government look like they mean business with miles and miles of construction already in place.
It’s a fascinating time for Real Estate in Thailand, as purchasing off plan condominiums in such areas of expected development provide more of a risk certainly, but for those that get it right a reward that is set to repay you year after year.
For reassurance, look to the huge Real Estate developers that dominate the Thailand Real Estate market. They have contacts, know-how and huge sums of money to support their decisions. If they’re investing in certain areas then the chances are the government are also investing in the surrounding infrastructure.
Proof of this comes in the form of Sansiri, one of the largest local developers, having formed a close partnership with the BTS Group. Sansiri has five major residential Real Estate projects under way – all of them situated close to existed or upcoming mass-transit stations. All are selling fast, and the partnership provides extra reassurance for property investors and us as Real Estate Agents in Thailand.
Long-Term Property Investment Thailand
Condo owners close to most BTS stations will continue to see a healthy return on investment. Taking a longer-term view on investment property in Bangkok is wise. Compare the prices of Real Estate here now compared to 10-15 years and it is clear that there has been a lot of money made. There’s some talk of a bubble, but with property prices still amazingly low in Bangkok in comparison to infrastructure levels, it is likely that property investors will receive handsome rewards for investing their money into Thailand property. There are some horror stories, like you’ll hear anywhere in the world. Predominantly, these come from people who haven’t done their homework, used a trusted Real Estate agent in Thailand or have fallen foul of ignorance to land or condominium ownership rules. You can own a condominium outright (100% freehold) in Thailand as long as there are 51% of units within the development under Thai ownership. Purchasing land here is difficult for foreigners but it is possible.
We’ve been in this industry for a long time, and in Thailand specifically for more than 10 years. We’ve seen the landscape of the Real Estate market change considerably in that time. Enough for us to know that you have to be savvy, and one step ahead to really succeed here, but also enough to know that Bangkok is not the land of diminished returns that some will claim.
Want to know more about the increasing Bangkok infrastructure and where to invest in property in Thailand? Contact Find Thai Property today
- Huge variety of property available in all of Thailand’s major markets
- Expert insight into the local market for foreign buyers
- We’re impartial and provide non-biased advice
- We can manage the entire purchasing process for you
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