A Brief Account of Condominium Development in Thailand
Nowadays, everywhere in Bangkok is flooded with condominiums, responding to the growing housing demands of the city’s inhabitants. Condominiums dot the urban landscape along main roads, mass transit lines such as BTS or MRT, some important roads, etc. Some of them can be quite tall, while the others may be not at all. It is only in such a few areas, which have zoning regulations, for example, to control the housing expansion or to restrict building height, that a condominium is not found, such as the center of the historic area, i.e., Rattanakosin city.
This rise in housing demand can be seen as consistent with the prediction of the United Nations that in the year 2050, the world’s population will reach nine billion people and developing countries will see their population increase from 5.6 billion in 2009 to 7.9 billion in 2050 (United Nations, 2013). In addition, three quarters of the world’s population will be living in cities (Kirby, 2011), while the land that can potentially be developed in cities is limited. Therefore, the development of urban housing has to be addressed in order to increase the density of the population per square meter and high-rise condominiums are an unavoidable solution to this goal of increasing the population density (Kasemsook & Karnchanaporn, 2014).
The Department of City Planning for Bangkok has recorded that the first condominium building in Bangkok was built in 1970 by a private developer but did not have much success in the beginning due to problems with the rights of ownership. It was not until the release of the Condominium Act in 1979, which laid down the rules for the development, management and co-living in condominiums, that condominium projects began to gather momentum, especially with high-rise condominiums in the center of town where there is a high demand but also high land prices. From then, the railway systems for the city’s mass transportation were introduced in Bangkok, which further boosted the development of condominiums along the rail lines to help greatly increase convenience of travelling in Bangkok where there are severe traffic jams.
On the whole, the development of Thailand’s condominiums tends to be concentrated in Bangkok and its satellite towns. Only in the last ten years have we seen expansion into other regions that have advanced urban environment or that serve special interests like leisure or traveling. Many of these condominiums can be found in the central district of Chiang Mai, Pattaya and the central district of Chonburi, the central district of Udon Thani, the central district and seaside districts of Phuket, Hua Hin, Cha-Am, seaside districts of Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan, and the central district of Nakhon Pathom, to name but a few.