Bangkok-born and -bred Apichart Chutrakul was instrumental in the merger of two family-run property companies – San Samran and Siripinyo – into Sansiri, the company he co-founded and where he is CEO. Sansiri has since gone public and grown to become Thailand’s leading fully integrated property developer.
How is the Thai property market now for luxury homes?
High-end properties are doing well in Thailand. We project the high-end condominium market to continue to prosper throughout 2015. The upward trend was noticeable in the second half of 2014, especially for projects in Bangkok’s central downtown area valued at 200,000 baht per square metre and upwards. Last year’s total growth was up 64 per cent and yet the supply was entirely absorbed. Property prices in Thailand remain very attractive by international standards and are, for example, at least four times cheaper than Singapore. According to new data compiled by Global Property Guide, Thailand has some of the highest rental yields within prominent real estate destinations in Asia and some of the lowest property prices per square metre for premium developments in the region at an average of U$3,952.
What do you look for in a potential site?
We look for sites that oﬀer the best value in terms of performance based on yield, accessibility and feasibility. No matter how aﬀordable the land, if there is no accessibility or infrastructure in place, then there is no point in developing it. As per our company ethos, we build lives, not just homes, so we need to look at the holistic picture for our development strategy.
What kinds of homes are the ultra aﬄuent buying?
Optimal location is still a key criterion for the ultra aﬄuent. They’re discerning so they expect the very best in design and quality, and usually have a sharp eye for details too. They also look for services that enhance their lifestyle. For example, if they enjoy exclusivity and privacy, they would ensure that the property offers the best security system and also direct and limited access to their home. They also want to make a good investment so the property’s ﬁnancial performance will be a factor too.
Where will the next big high-end property enclave be?
In Thailand, it will continue to be in the prime central locations close to the CBD: Wireless Road, On Nut, Silom, Sathorn and Thong Lo. Around the world, key cities such as London, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore will always attract high-end properties and developers because there will always be a demand for them.
What do you look for in a home?
My family and I love the outdoors, so great outdoor spaces are a must. We play outdoor sports in our yard or entertain guests. For furniture, I think great leather pieces always work well. If it’s quality leather and the furniture is a good design, then it can be modern but also timeless.
What is your favourite item in your home?
There is a marble wall in my home, which I love for its natural beauty and its uniqueness – no two marbles are the same. For this reason, we use a lot of marble in Sansiri’s projects. In my opinion, there is no other material that elevates a space and projects such an air of ﬂamboyance. I also love my little corner in my room, with my computer, TV and massage chair. Just like any guy.
What are the key elements in building the ideal home?
It has to be the right balance of design and functionality, and it’s imperative to use the best quality materials. I also believe that you should build a space that you enjoy being in. If you build a space because you feel compelled to, because it’s on-trend for example, then what you end up building is a house, not a home.
What are your thoughts on the importance of feng shui or geomancy in building homes?
I think inﬂuences such as the feng shui of a home are more important than having the most extravagantly designed or expensive house. If you have a strong belief system and ascribe feng shui to your well-being, then this should be prioritised when building your home.
Apichart Chutrakul is the CEO of Sansiri, one of the largest real estate developers in Thailand. Founded in 1984, it merged with the Lamsam family company just 10 years later and has grown to build an extensive portfolio of private landed properties, and luxurious apartments.