Buying an Old Condo or New Condo – Pros and Cons
When you are planning to buy a condo in Bangkok, you will have a choice between buying a new condo probably directly from a developer or a pre-owned unit. Of course, it’s a personal choice but there are some differences between buying a new or older condo.
Some of the difference can be summarised as follows:
▪ Older condos tend to be larger in size. For example, it’s not unusual to find a 2-bed older condo unit with floor area around 95-130m2 with 2.6-2.8M ceiling height. Newer 2-bed condos will probably measure around 55-80m2 with ceiling heights of not more than 2.5M.
This difference is partly due to greater demand in the Bangkok market for smaller units, partly as, as land prices have risen developers have tried to maximise their number of saleable units and saleable area. Plus, affordability comes into play. There are more buyers but with relatively lower budgets;
▪ it’s an arguable point as a “good location” means different things to different people but older condos tend to be in more established and, therefore, better locations. Think of Rajdamri, Lang Suan, Sukhumvit (the even numbered Sois from 8 through to about Soi 28 or the Sois on the odd side from 3-39) where many of the condo blocks are much older. Such blocks also tend to be larger with many more condo units.
It’s only been in the last 10-12 years that sites in the Sukhumvit odd numbered Sois from 43-63 have really been developed. Changes in planning laws had some impact on the scale of condo blocks with buildings over 79 units needing EIA approval, which could take 12-14 months to obtain. Also, many of the larger sites in the core areas had already been developed meaning that new developments were “infill” developments and had to be smaller in terms of the number of units which could be built.
Then we have the changes to “good locations” brought about by the BTS and the relatively recent extensions to different BTS and MRT lines. This has made more locations in the city more accessible. Most major developers have sites for condos around the BTS stations such as Piyathai or Ari not to mentioned the stations west of the Chao Phraya River.
▪ finally, common areas and recreational facilities are usually larger and of a grander scale in older blocks. On the other hand, lobbies and sports facilities may already be relatively outdated, unless the building management or owner’s committee has pro-actively refurbished such areas. Modern condo blocks will have nicer facilities for sure but these may be smaller and more heavily used as the ratio of such space to number of units may lower.
At the end of the day, when you are buying a condo block on Bangkok the unit which is right for you will be very much a personal choice. If you are not working right in the city for example, a condo unit along the BTS line might be just what you need. Yet, to enjoy the city centre, you still might choose to live in Silom or Saladaeng or Sukhumvit around Asoke!