Downtown condominiums at the front of property boom

Downtown condominium prices are leading the charge for more expensive real estate in Yangon.

While properties across the board have increased in the last three years, a large influx of people wanting to move downtown are leading to a climbing market, even as more projects come online, real estate agents say.

The most expensive units are on the four main east–west roads in the downtown core, said Ko Sawr Lay, agent from Shwe Trigan real estate. Newly-built, good quality condominiums on Bogyoke Aung San, Anawrahta, Maha Bandoola and Strand roads now cost between K250 and K300 million each.

“Prices are so high downtown compared to two years ago, even though there are more projects,” said Ko Sawr Lay.

However, he dismissed concerns about a possible bubble in the shortterm, claiming there are increasing numbers of business and residents moving downtown.

“Compared with two years ago, there are so many high-rise construction projects in the downtown area, but still, prices are higher,” he told The Myanmar Times.

“Downtown condos and apartments won’t see a demand drop any time soon – even though prices are high – because most businesses and residents are gathered there,” he said.

Ground floor apartments are in particular demand to rent out to businesses, said Ma Myat Thu, agent from Moe Myint Thawdar real estate.

She said it is not just property on the four main roads that has become valuable.

New condominiums in buildings with elevators in the downtown streets with numbrs instead of names – usually indicating a side street – are now starting at about K200 million.

“We get a lot of clients looking to rent downtown, in areas like Lanmadaw, Latha and Kyauktada townships. Dagon and Bahan, which are near downtown, are also popular,” she said.

Yangon is attracting lots of people from the other regions and states, and they are often keen to relocate downtown near employment opportunities, said U Maung Aye, central executive committee member of the Myanmar Real Estate Association.

“Yangon is full of migrant workers, families and students, as well as foreign investors and workers,” he said.

Many of the recent residents aim to move downtown, as it has lots of workplaces and social goings-on, despite transportation often being a challenge.

“While transportation is not easy, people come downtown for businesses, offices and classes.”

While some analysts have spoken of the possibility of a property bubble, Phoenix real estate agent Ko Htun Htun said he has not seen signs yet that the market will slow down. Demand has continued to be strong, though prices have not seen the large gains of previous years.

However, property dealers are eyeing all the proposed high-end condominiums announced for construction in Yangon, attempting to anticipate what effect that will have as they come online in the next few years, he said.

Although many large-scale projects have been announced, not all of them are likely to be seen through to completion.

Another unknown is the condo law, which has been much-discussed and undergone several drafts but has not yet passed into law.

Sai Kun Naung real estate marketing manager Ko Hein Zaw said many would–be investors are also wary of a potential impact from the condominium law when it is finally passed. But with the large demand from foreigners and for rentals continues, condo prices will likely keep climbing year–on–year.

Previous drafts of the condominium law have included provisions allowing for foreign ownership up to a certain amount of a building, and above the fourth floor.


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