The 6 Cheapest Places to Buy Real Estate in Asia: A Complete Guide

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A commonly asked question among property buyers is where they can find the cheapest properties.

One should bear in mind though that it’s not easy, nor very important, to discuss property prices on national levels. It’s better to focus on a handful of cities, or the capitals, places where a big part of investors tend to go.

In this article, I list the countries with the cheapest land, houses, and apartments in Southeast Asia/Asia.

Before we deep dive into, I want to mention that I haven’t taken countries such as Mongolia, North Korea, Brunei and Sri Lanka into consideration.

6. Thailand

Bangkok-real-estate

The Thai economy is finally catching up, after experiencing some tumbling years. Thailand saw the highest amount of tourist arrivals in 2017 and exports are also catching up.

You’ll notice that increasingly more buyers get lured by the high quality of life and low costs offered. Still, you can thrive in an international community.

Properties in areas like Thonglor, Ekkamai and Phrom Phong are high in demand, while we see a number of new projects being built along BTS stations a bit further away, like Phra Khanong and On Nut. The Riverside and Sathorn are becoming increasingly popular.

The condo supply has outweighed the demand, while prices are still fairly stable.

Before we go into details and talking property prices, I want to highlight that property market analysis can be misleading.

Let me explain:

Bangkok, and most other capitals, are big cities. You’ll find different kinds of people, targeting different kinds of property. Foreign buyers tend to go for prime property, often in more central areas.

In Bangkok, midtown and suburban properties are mainly built to cater to local buyers, and where we see an oversupply. On top of that, the Thai population has abnormally high debts, enticing people to stay away from buying property.

This is a common phenomena in other Asian countries.

So, midtown and suburban properties affect the market badly, but is probably not your cup of tea.

Instead, you should look for prime properties, preferably 2-3 bedroom condos, in more central areas. Land and apartment prices in the CBD and central areas are predicted to grow, even if some claim that the market is in a bad state.

Bangkok property prices

Bangkok qualifies for a 6th place on this list with property prices averaging at USD 4620 per square meter in the central areas, and USD 2250 in suburban areas.

Prices for premium properties located in the central districts, and close to the BTS stations and local transportation, will continue to increase.

Thai nationals still account for 75% when buying prime real estate, but we also see increasingly more overseas buyers snapping up prime properties.

5. Malaysia

Malaysia-property

The same as it goes to Thailand, Malaysia’s economy has been in a downward trend the past years.

Hopefully, we’ll see positive changes with the new government, even if if the Prime Minister has ruled out property ownership for Chinese investors in Forest City.

Compared to living standards and salaries, Kuala Lumpur has surprisingly low property prices, on par with those in Manila. The price to income ratio is way lower. This entices many foreigners to buy property in places like KL, especially from China and Singapore.

You’ll also find a great number of Western retirees in places like Penang.

Personally, I’d rather reside in Kuala Lumpur than Manila, due to higher efficiency, better infrastructure and other personal preferences.

Property prices in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia qualifies for a 5th place on this list with property prices averaging at USD 2972 per square meter in the central areas and USD 1490 in the outskirts.

Compared to places like Bangkok and Phnom Penh, many areas in the outskirts are highly livable in KL, this can also be your shoot.

4. Philippines

Manila-property

Manila has been riding on a property boom for years.

It’s not rare to see Chinese buyers snapping up 30 properties at a time, something that’s common in places like Vietnam as well.

This rapidly growing nation ranked high in AsiaPropertyHQ’s property index, mainly thanks to comparatively high yields, investment visas available, and more.

The same as it goes to Bangkok, foreigners are still willing to buy in prime areas like Makati, even if other cities within Metro Manila get increasingly interesting, and might promise better yields.

Property prices in Manila

Manila qualifies for a 4th place on this list with property prices averaging at USD 2563 per square meter in the central areas and USD 1192 in suburban areas.

3. Vietnam

Vietnam-property

Ho Chi Minh City is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, only outperformed by Bangalore. This capital is truly interesting from my point of view, and I believe in Vietnam as a nation.

Being the new manufacturing hub of Asia, production is moving in vast numbers from China into Vietnam, the tourism is booming as well.

If you buy in Ho Chi Minh City, I recommend you to have a look at District 2, 7 and 9. District 4 should be of interest too, thanks to its proximity to District 1, but undeveloped property market.

District 1 is still comparatively cheap to Singapore and Hong Kong, and a place you shouldn’t overlook.

Property prices in Ho Chi Minh City

Prices differ of course, depending on if you buy a condo in Masteri (Thao Dien), or if you go for prime property in Thu Thiem, for example.

On average, prices are USD 2269 per square meter in the central areas, while property in suburban areas averages at USD 1083. This makes Vietnam qualifying into a 3rd place on this list.

2. Cambodia

Cambodia-property

Being one of the least developed Asian countries, with less future prospects than Vietnam in my view, Cambodia makes into a second place on this list (sure, maybe I’m biased).

Buying prime condos is still a preferred option, especially among Chinese investors. These individuals often seek a destination to store parts of their cash assets. Unfortunately, these condos are often empty, and the Chinese neither live in these units nor rent them out.

This is not uncommon in other places, like Manila.

Cambodia can proudly say that it’s one of the fastest growing countries in the region and you’ll also find some of the cheapest property prices here.

Property prices in Phnom Penh

Prices average at USD 2150 in the central areas of Phnom Penh, while prices are significantly lower in suburban areas, averaging at a mere USD 1080 per square meter.

1. Indonesia

Indonesia-property

Indonesia, and mainly Jakarta, saw tremendously high rental yields during the time period 2006-2016. Rates stretched up to almost double digits, still Jakarta performs very well with yields averaging at around 6%.

Indonesia has a promising future, thanks to a lot of aspects. With a growing middle class, urbanization, developments in infrastructure and a projection to become a new economic powerhouse, many investors turn their eyes to Jakarta.

Still, foreign ownership regulations are not very favorable, you can’t even own condos on a freehold basis. The government introduced new regulations recently, but to many people’s surprise, things are basically same as before.

Hopefully, we’ll see changes to these regulations within the coming years, if Indonesia is to compete with its neighbours.

Property prices in Jakarta

Indonesia qualifies for a 1st place on this list, with property prices averaging at USD 2041 in the central parts of Jakarta, while properties in suburban areas are priced at merely USD 1017 on average.

Summary of average property prices per square meter

  • Thailand (Bangkok): USD 4620
  • Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur): USD 2972
  • Philippines (Manila): USD 2563
  • Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City): USD 2269
  • Cambodia (Phnom Penh): USD 2150
  • Indonesia (Jakarta): USD 2041

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