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In Thailand, Russian Buyers Have ‘Disappeared’


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In 2007, Russians accounted for 80 percent of the purchases in Pattaya, a resort city on the Gulf of Thailand, says David Walton, v.p. of sales and marketing for Waterfront, a tower project on Pattaya Bay. Today, the Russians buyers have practically vanished from Thailand’s beach cities, he says.


“The only game in town two years ago was the Russian market,” Mr. Walton said. “That market has virtually disappeared.”


Developers tell similar stories in markets around the world, from France to Bali. Waves of Russian buyers are simply gone from the landscape.


For Mr. Walton and the Waterfront , it is bad timing. The developer, the Bali Hai Company Ltd., backed by the Elran Group, a listed Israeli company, began marketing the 54-story project in August, just as the market plummeted. (Thailand’s tumultuous political situation hasn’t helped, either).


The 315 units in the tower are priced between 5.5 million and 65 million baht ($150,000 to $1.8 million). More Europeans are starting to explore Thailand, but not enough to make up for the lost Russians, Mr. Walton says. (He also said the developer was exploring fractionals as a way to generate revenue.)


“High season is not going to happen this year,” he said.




Have they actually started building this yet?

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