Starter homes in major metropolitan areas should not cost $300 - 400k. There was a time when a starter home cost only 3 times a professional couple's salary. Now starter homes in MMA's cost 5 -7 times.
The average appreciation rate of realestate is 6 - 6.5% per year over a 30 year average. Some MMA's had appreciation rates peak at +30% or more in a single year. These prices either need to come down or people need to earn more money. Here we are 5 years since the bototm in the Fed funds interest rate and we've got a "growing" economy with unprecedented productivity and without significant job creation.
Home prices are screwed and with that goes private savings. The ponly people that made out in the housing bubble were the real estate agents, older americans who cashed out homes they had had for decades and moved to lower cost areas, and mortgage companies that loosened mortgage standards. Now we have a nation of home owners who own homes that will underperform the 30 year average home price apreciation rate for at least two decades. In addition, the US dollar has lost close to 40% of it's global purchasing power.
Path of least resistance dictates a drop in home prices, accerating inflation, accelerating loss of purchasing power, and the ultimate demise of private savings.
The government is not entirely to blame. We live in a country of idiots. Personally, I'm doing my best to make arangements to move abroad.
Can you imagine what would happen if 7-11 was ever to leave Thailand? hehe
The Thai stock market is a bit dangerous with the givernemnt messing with the rule regarding foreign investment. Last year,they created this rule requiring investors to put some percentage of their investment capital (I think it was 30%) in a Thai bank and not collect interest on it, in order to own stock in Thailand. the day they annouced that, their entire market lost like 20% in a day. They ended up reciding it shortly afterwards.
Be careful with those guys. Bunch of corrupt idiots running that country for sure.
Good job on the reitirement visa. I'm not old enough yet. i'm going to have to go the "start a consulting business in Thailand" route to get a visa.
Don't feel sorry for the Thai bar girls. Most of them actually find it a happy existance. The majority of them are from Isaan and 60% of them have a baby and a deabeat father which puts finanacial pressure son them. most of the time, they moved tot he city to earn money to send home while their parents (usually rice farmers) take care of their baby. Many of these girls also have boyfriends or husbands that don't mind that they work as escorts since they support the family.
The reality for poor Thai girls is that there are no opportunities for them other than being bar girls. If you don't come from a rich family then you usually leave school at 13 years old because you have to pay to attend school after the age of 13. Without an education, most move to the city and this is usually their first experience with modern shopping malls, movie theatres, bars, and clubs. Once they get into prostitution, they tend to find it easy to score big money by Thai standards and have alot of fun doing it.
What is sad is that after about 2 months of prostitution, these Thai girls transform into these commercial, manipulative women who see men as walkign ATM's and seek to draw every penny out of them that they can. That's why you can't marry a Thai bar girl unless you pull her out of that life within the first 2 months. Alot of foreigners try to setup relationships with Thai bar girls because they find it easy to meet them and many can speak some english. However, if you intend to live in Thailand, you should not take a Thai bar girl for a wife. Regular Thais can detect her from a mile away and you will never be accepted by your regular Thai friends or coworkers.
Now, regarding investment in Thailand, there are veyr strict rules about foreign investment in Thailand. Basiclaly, you are not allowed. however, you can setup a business in Thailand, but the Thai economy is not the place for foreign businesses. There is no money to be made there. However, certain businesses that are foreign owned were built in Thailand before the stringent foreign investment laws. One of these companies is the chain of 7-11 convenience stores. What?!? 7-11? Yes, you heard me right. 7-11 is a public institution in Thailand. No only do they carry out the usual food mart crap, they are also the center for all electronic payments in Thailand. The majority of Thai people do not have bank accoutns or credit cards. SO, when they need to pay a bill they are usually given a reference number and they head over to 7-11 and pay the clerk in cash. 7-11 then submits the payment to the utility, etc.
7-11 owns electronic payments in Thailand and the Thai governemnt can't get rid of the heathen 7-11 foreigners because of it. Unfortunately, in Nov 2005 a Japanese company took 7-11 private and bought all the common stock, so you cna't invest directly in them anymore. now that Japanese company is making out like gang busters. If you can figure out a way to ride 7-11 coattails, you would have an awsome invetsment in a developing asian nation.
If you can find a foreign company that's not private that is engrained into Thai society like 7-11, then you can definitley make an easy buck.
I'd like to thank you 2 guys once again for that little peak at Thailand...all very interesting.
The sight of palm trees, blue water and beaches in wesleys links sure would look nice compared to what I have to look at in the winter months.
The scenery...and the Thai girls all look nice, though I have to feel for those girls in that massage parlour...I wonder if they would be there if they had more choices in life...
Montuno...you mentioned appreciation of the Baht vs the dollar....it might be late in the game but have you considered borrowing in US funds for investment over there and take advantage of a declining dollar? Have your cake and eat it too!!! As the dollar falls in value, your debt in Baht would fall....
Heard of any good investment opps over there? Maybe something to go long with to counter my HB shorts...I really hate having to go short but what's a guy to do?
Dude, that restaurant rocks. 1000 baht is expensive by thai standards, but that rib meal would be like $60 in the states. Have you been to the Bulls Head pub on soi 21 before? Try the all day sunday roast there when you have a chance.
Should be closer to your place since your condo is on the other side of sukhumvit.
BTW, for everyone else who is into the Thai lady scene, there is a good japanese owned massage parlor ove ron soi 26 called Angel Massage 28. Some of you guys may like the photos of the girls that work there. =)
Fish bowls aren't relaly my thing though.
Damn that rent is high, but for that is the going rate for most places that size. Are you in Bangkok on a expat work permit? I hope someone else is footing the bill for that condo. Bangkok is wierd when it comes to housing and hotels. Some hotels cost $50/night and some can cost $3000/night.
BTW, forgot to mention that tips for restaurant service are always 20 - 40 baht.
Ribs and fries at the Great American Rib on soi 38 rock. Only thing is the dining is outsid eunder huge umbrellas. I can't remember if they had an indoor seating area. We always ate outside. I don't know if I would do it during the rainy season. hehee
Koh Samui: http://www.kohsamui.org/photos.html
Phucket (lots of english go here): http://www.phuket-photos.com/
Pattaya (lots of Americans): http://www.pattaya.bangkok.com/photos/
Chiang Mai: http://www.1stopchiangmai.com/gallery/
Don't get me wrong. It is 3rd world, but electricity, telephone, etc is not a problem. The farther you are away from bangkok, Chaing mai, or places like Phucket or Pattaya - it's harder to get broadband internet access. However, they are piloting Wimax as a last mile solution right now for some areas like Phucket. So, in 5 years this sort of stuff will be solved. Telephone is not a problem since cell phone service is ubiquitous throughout Thailand. Everyone has a cell phone and it's all pay as you go. When I'm in Thailand, I pick up a sim and a 300 baht credit will last you 2 weeks easily under heavy use.
If you were compare Thailand to Mexico, you would be more inclined to find things like centralized air conditioning or centralized hot water in Mexico. All the modern conveniences are available, but they are usually added afterwards like point of use hot water heaters or multpile air conditioners. If you want to see what Thai condos and homes look like, check out the picture at: http://bangkok.craigslist.org/rfs/ The price stehy ask for are a little outrageous on Craigslist, but at least you can see some expat housing in various aparts of thailand. A lot people retire to the land locked area of Chiang Mai (Thailand's second largest city). Chekc out the home sin that area. That's where you can find quiet little villas for cheap.
If you would like quiet without being in the sticks, try Jomtien beach in Pattaya. The tourist area is the walking street area, wehich is about 10 minutes away by car. It's a nice area and relatively short on tourists. My friend and I have had a long running debate over whther you can find more quality women at Nanaa Plaza in Bangkok or in Pattaya. He seems to think Pattaya is better. In all fairness, I haven't really spent much more than 4 days at a time in Pattaya and I usually brought talent in from Bangkok. So, I haven't sampled the local fare.
Whenever I stay in Pattaya, I usually stay at the Lido Beach hotel. It's at the end of walking street and it's always 1000 baht ($32 USD)/night with no reservations needed. I think you will find it extremely clean with centralized hot water(***rarity***) and the cheapets minibar you will ever see. I usually wipe out the minibar, and soing so maybe costs you $15. That place has always suited me because you can get same day laundry service without having to bribe someone. Speaking of which, all the expats usually utilize a laundry service. Thai laundry service is the greatest thing on earth. I miss the smell of the detergent they use. It's addicting.
Thanks Montuno, I'm not there yet... retirement that is. Can't afford it. Atleast not in the style I would like.... Plus I'm a little young, so another few years then I can get serious about such plans. Need a few more good stock picks and a little more time ...but I think you are right, you have to keep yourself occupied otherwise you may as well start digging your own hole.
Regarding BZH, I'm playing the puts for the added leverage. Couldn't borrow any shares to short when I first tried and grew to love the puts...now thinking about rolling into some lower strikes...we'll see.
I think it's just a matter of time for BZH's balance sheet to show it's true colors...no way can they keep hiding the truth...not with all the attention their getting.. SEC, FBI, CIA, HUD, AICPA, XYZ, MADD, ETC ETC... just a whole alphabet-soup-of-a- mess...and probably a few class action lawyers sniffing around to boot LOL.
This would be almost funny if it weren't for the so many lives that will be effected when the truth comes out ...and not just with BZH... multiply that many times over when you factor in a number of other HB's and mortgage lenders that will either fold or be laying a lot of their staff....and then we get the secondary fallout effects...
I think this will impact the economy far and wide before we are done. All kinds of people will be effected...from realtors to building trades people, to backhoe operators...I think even retail employment will eventually feel it.....just a whole lot of carnage and no way to avoid it....thanks to all the corruption throughout the system.... and in some of the highest places...WS investment banks in cahoots with the ratings agencies, even a nincompoop Fed..incompetent or corrupt, take your pick. Bubbles Greenspan should be crucified for feeding this bubble for as long as he did..if not for his keeping rates so low for so long, a lot of this wouldn't have happened.
And it's always the little guy that pays the biggest price. The higher ups get rewarded for cost cutting, jump with a golden parachutes, or find another seat as the deck chairs get re-arranged.