Thailand's economy has experienced some significant ups and downs in recent years but despite the weak economy, its property market is expected to pick up significantly this year, driven by the growing low-rise sector of the residential market.
Atip Bijanonda, president of Thailand's Housing Business Association, said the Thai property market this year would grow by 5-10%, boosted by transactions in single-house and townhouse segments.
"In many provinces, condos will remain sluggish this year, while demand for single houses and townhouses will continue to grow as supply remains limited," he said.
According to the Real Estate Information Center (REIC), the number of low-rise units - single houses, townhouses and duplexes - remaining for sale in 26 provinces totalled 146,870 worth 541 billion baht. Also available were 98,130 condo units worth 275 billion baht.
Bangkok, Chon Buri and Nonthaburi are recorded as having the most condo and low-rise units remaining for sale.
Prasert Taedullayasatit, president of the Thai Condominium Association, said sales of single houses and townhouses had picked up since the third quarter last year. Demand was strong for townhouses priced 2-3 million baht as large developers shifted to the segment.
Townhouses priced higher than 10 million baht located close to mass transit stations showed the most significant growth with the sector competing with condos in the same location due to lower prices.
"Developers should prepare for changes in the real estate landscape," Mr Prasert said. "As happened last year, big developers are expected to continue dominating the residential market, putting smaller developers in trouble".
Don Nakornthab, senior director of the financial institutions strategy department at the Bank of Thailand, said the government's spending on infrastructure in 2016 may be minimal but it could lead private investment and help the property sector, as most megaprojects will develop mass transit and transport networks.
"Developers should be more cautious in property development as the economy remains slow, with high household debt and low prices of agricultural products having an impact on consumers' purchasing power," he said.
Economists expect Thailand's economy to improve from last year as the government's economic stimulus policies and other measures introduced by the central bank and the Public-Private Partnership Committee are implemented.
In 17 major provinces, the property market significantly slowed down, with the number of housing units launched dropping by 29.3% in the first three quarters last year to 31,193. The number of units sold also fell by 35% in the same period.