New index puts Yangon property prices up 39 pct this year

Oct 9 (Reuters) - As Myanmar opens up, speculators have raced into its property market, real estate prices have soared and foreign investors are hunting for office and factory space. Now, for the first time, an index shows just how much prices are climbing.

The Silk Road Yangon Property Index (SYPIX), which measures the average price per square foot of residential property in Yangon, the commercial capital, rose 39 percent in the first nine months of the year. One square foot now costs $85.

The index is compiled by a unit of Silk Road Finance, an investment bank operating in frontier markets.

Foreign interest in Myanmar has soared since the end of military rule in 2011, with a period of rapid economic and political reform under President Thein Sein.

Residential property prices are not alone in their surge.

Silk Road said hotel rates in Yangon had risen 65 percent this year, the biggest increase in the global hospitality industry and a trend that prompted the government to introduce a cap on room rates in foreign-owned hotels in June.

Office rental rates have also increased, rising 50 percent this year. Prices in downtown Yangon are now in excess of $50 per square metre a month.

According to Silk Road, the total office space available in Yangon -- 63,000 square metres -- represents less than 1 percent of that available in the Thai capital of Bangkok.

(Reporting By Paul Carsten; Editing by Alan Raybould & Kim Coghill)

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