LH’s Chaiyapruk Srinakarin project launched in 2017, one of 10 projects that helped the company exceed its targets for the year.

SET-listed developer Land Houses Plc (LH) plans to launch 18 new projects worth a combined 36.3 billion baht in 2018, more than triple last year’s total because of strong confidence in economic sentiment and the property market.

LH aims to have 19% growth in presales to 31 billion baht by the end of the year, up from 26 billion in 2017.

It plans to invest 13 billion baht — 7 billion for land acquisition and 6 billion for spending on recurring income assets in the country and the US.

The 18 new projects include four condominium projects and 12 single house and townhouse sites in Greater Bangkok. One low-rise housing project is planned for both Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya.

“Everything last year was very good for us. We outperformed the targets for presales, unit transfers, revenue and gross margin,” said managing director Adisorn Thananan-narapool.

Actual investment last year was also higher than the target of 11 billion baht, he said.

LH spent a total of 15 billion baht in 2017, 8 billion of which was scheduled for land acquisition and 7 billion for recurring income assets.

Of the recurring income assets, the company last year acquired the 168-room Revere Apartments in Campbell, California, where it spent US$119 million (3.80 billion baht) last November.

“We focus on apartments mainly in the Bay Area of San Francisco as the apartment market is very healthy,” said Mr Adison. “We can also gain from a reduction in taxes in the US late last year, which was trimmed down from 35% to 21%.”

Throughout the past five years, LH spent a total of 18 billion baht on five rental apartment buildings in the US and gained rental income ranging from 900 million to 1 billion baht per year. The occupancy rate was 90% with a 7% rise in rents per year.

In Bangkok, LH plans to develop a mixed-use project with an investment of 7 billion baht on a six-rai plot close to Sukhumvit Soi 10. The plot is currently the private Chuwit Park, and will be leased from former politician Chuwit Kamolvisit early next month.

With a construction area of 100,000 square metres, the project will have hotel rooms under the Grande Centre Point brand, office and retail spaces. Construction is scheduled to start next year, finishing in 3.5 years.

Mr Adisorn said the company aims to raise revenue from recurring income assets by 19% this year to 3.7 billion baht and 4 billion baht next year as the shopping complex Terminal Pattaya will be completed late this year.

“The residential market last year was not so good, but also not so bad. Though we launched only 10 projects worth a combined 10 billion baht, lower than our plan of 12 sites worth 15 billion baht, our presales were on target. This momentum will carry on this year,” he said.

Last year, revenue from housing development sales accounted for 85-90% of the total, with the rest from recurring income. LH expects to transfer housing units worth 33 billion baht by the end of 2018.

The company plans to issue bonds of at least 14 billion baht in the second and fourth quarter of the year to refinance mature bonds.

President Naporn Sunthornchitcharoen said positive factors helping boost the property market this year will include private investment, which was stimulated by government spending, and the growth of tourism and exports.

“The rising SET index has a psychological impact on market sentiment. Our only hope is the positive sentiment carries over to the Eastern Economic Corridor initiative,” he said.

However, even if construction costs remain steady, land and land development costs will rise, leading to higher housing prices in some locations, said Mr Naporn.

LH shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 11.90 baht, an increase of 80 satang, in trade worth 1.37 billion baht.

News Reporter

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