View Talay is the name of a series of condominium buildings in Pattaya and Jomtien, Thailand. "Talay" is the Thai word for "beach", thus the name means "view beach" in English.
The Early Years
The View Talay development company is controlled by a Thai family that is now very wealthy. The head of the family is an elderly Thai man of Chinese descent. The first project was a condominium building named "View Talay" located in Jomtien, Thailand. The project was built according to traditional Chinese standards - as a "shell" - and sold relatively inexpensively. A "shell" refers to the fact that on completion of your condominium you take possession of a unit with doors, windows, a partially fitted bathroom, some minimal wiring and plumbing. You basically receive a concrete floor, and bare white-washed walls.
Some people may find this disconcerting, perhaps unacceptable. Imagine waiting a few years for your condominium to be completed, and then have to get involved in interior design, planning, ordering, installation of equipments and then decorating. However, this policy has proved to be popular with Thais and foreigners alike. They enjoyed being able to purchase an inexpensive condominium and work with a 'blank canvas', with the option to install their choice of equipment and decorate according to personal taste and budget.
Pre-construction prices of View Talay units have generally been around 30,000 THB (Thai Baht)/£500/€600/US$1,000 per square metre. Thus the typical View Talay unit of around 50 sq. m./500 sq. ft. would be priced around 1.5 Million THB/£25,000/€30,000/US$50,000.
The procedure usually followed when purchasing a new condominium is to choose your unit(s), pay a small deposit (called a "booking deposit" or "reservation deposit") of 50,000 THB/£700/€1,000/US$1,400 for each unit, followed by a purchase deposit on contract signing a few weeks later of around 200,000 THB/£2,800/€4,000/US$5,600. Monthly payments are due for the next 36 months, and are calculated so that you have paid around 60% of the purchase price after 36 months. Construction generally takes around 3 years. On completion, you have the opportunity to inspect your completed unit(s), and if satisfactory you pay the 40% balance and the title for your unit(s) are transferred to your name. Additional expenses include:
- Transfer fees of about 2% of the sale price.
- A charge of 350 THB/£5/€7/US$10 to 600 THB/£8.50/€12/US$17 per square meter, which is added to what is called the sinking fund and used for major works or unforeseen repairs.
- The advanced juristic fees, also known as management or maintenance fees, of about 50 THB/£0.70/€1.00/US$1.40 to 65 THB/£0.90/€1.30/US$1.80 per square meter per month, depending on the project.
Building the Empire
The first View Talay building was followed by "View Talay Project 2", View Talay Project 3", View Talay Project 4", View Talay Project 5" View Talay Project 6", View Talay Project 7", and View Talay Project 8". All followed the format above. All have been named to reinforce the "View Talay" brand name, but named rather unimaginatively in my opinion.
The View Talay projects are as follows.
View Talay 1 View Talay Project 1 is completed and located in Thappraya Road, outside Pattaya & almost in Jomtien. This was the first View Talay project. It was built several years ago, and continues to enjoy a bustling trade. View Talay Project 1 consists of two buildings, A & B. They share a large swimming pool with poolside restaurant. There is also 24-hour security gate with key-card entry and CCTV.
View Talay 2 View Talay Project 2 is completed.
View Talay 3 View Talay Project 3 is completed.
View Talay 4 View Talay Project 4 is completed.
View Talay 5 View Talay Project 5 is completed. Long-term rental units in View Talay Project 5 are in good demand, with prices fetching 20,000 THB/£280/€400/US$560 per month for a well finished studio. Short-term rentals are also popular due to the proximity to the beach. Many residents from View Talay Project 2 have moved or are moving across to View Talay Project 5, which has caused some units to be available for sale in View Talay Project 2 for people wanting to get onto the ladder for around 2.5 Million THB/£35,000/€50,000/US$70,000.
View Talay 6 View Talay Project 6 is presently under construction. This is the only View Talay development in Pattaya, with the other 7 all in Jomtien. Completion is expected December 2007. Updates posted at http://viewtalay6.blogspot.com
View Talay 7 View Talay Project 7 is presently under construction. Located on Thappraya Road, at the beginning of Jomtien beach, this project is truly beach-front with uninterrupted sea views. The building is designed in a "Y" shape with a large swimming pool and poolside restaurant in front. Unfortunately, there have been some complaints from unit owners in Jomtien Complex located behind the development. They are disappointed that they will lose their sea views. Hearings on this subject have resulted in some construction delays, but all permits are in place and completion is still expected on-time in 2010. Updates posted at http://viewtalay7.blogspot.com
View Talay 8 View Talay Project 8 is accepting pre-construction deposits. Be aware that this project is not being developed by the same company as the other 7 projects. The developer is a daughter of the original developer, she is apparently also a part-owner of the Sandy Spring hotel located at Soi 13, Pattaya. However, this is her first known construction project, and there is some doubt if she has yet obtained planning permission. Updates posted at http://viewtalay8.blogspot.com
Developers of properties in Thailand will tell you that land and property prices in Pattaya/Jomtien have soared recently, and excite you with the high profits that some investors have been enjoying.
However, be aware that these increases are mainly in the upper to high-end of the condominium market. Resale prices in the View Talay projects have barely kept up with the rate of inflation.
As the Bangkok market has become saturated with higher-end developments, developers have moved to the Pattaya/Jomtien area and this market has broadened as more upscale developments have appeared.
Preconstruction prices for units in many of these projects are in excess of 100,000 THB/£1,400/€2,000/US$2,800 per sq. m. and some are close to 200,000 THB/£2,800/€4,000/US$5,600 per sq. m. Such units are fully equipped and finshed, and are generally larger than the typical View Talay unit at around 100 sq. m./1,000 sq. ft. This prices can reach 20 Million THB/£280,000/€400,000/US$560,000.
Such heady prices have made View Talay units look a little unexciting in comparison, and sometimes difficult to sell. View Talay has become somewhat a victim of it's own success. They have built so many similar units in so many similar buildings that purchasers tend to look for something more upscale.
This does not necessarily imply that an investment in a View Talay unit is ill-advised. They are well-constructed, reasonably priced, and thus easily rented out to tourists or long-stay tenants for a good return on investment. Somewhat like Holiday Inn in the USA; you always know what you will get when you stay at a View Talay condo, with no surprises.
On the contrary; View Talay units may the better long-term investments as the prices are most likely to rise, whereas the upside potential from 200,000 THB/£2,800/€4,000/US$5,600 per sq. m. must surely be limited.
Thailand is wonderful, but it is not Monte Carlo. One would wonder why anyone would pay these prices when properties are available at similar prices in other countries with better infrastructure, more stable Government, and a friendlier environment for foreign investors.