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Thailand's Resort Property Market Building On A Firm Foundation

Sep 1, 2008
Thailand has long been known as the land of big smiles, beautiful white sand beaches and clear blue waters. The resort market in the country is building on this reputation, with developments and Thai property for sale planned in popular areas like Pattaya, Koh Samui, Phuket and Hua Hin. In this article, we look at why the white sand beaches and friendly locals aren't the only thing going for the Thai resort market - it is actually building on a solid foundation of luxury developments.

Phuket is said to be one of the world's most popular holiday destinations, and the continual increase in land prices bears this out. Patong is one of the more expensive areas currently, with inland plots selling for 45-60 million baht per rai. Coastal areas are also growing - Karon, on the west coast, recently sold beachfront plots for 40 million baht per rai. There have also been sharp increases in prices in established areas like Phangnga, where prices have risen by 15-20 million baht per rai in some locations.

There is an increasing amount of property for sale in Thailand's resort center. Branded luxury resorts with private residences inbuilt are becoming more and more popular, as the resorts can be financed easily with the sale of the private residences. Some upcoming projects of this type include The Yamu, a hotel managed by GHM, and Jumeirah Phuket private Island, on the east coast. The Park Hyatt, TAJ, and The Four Seasons also have projects in the pipeline for this area.

Koh Samui is now a household name, however, before the 1990s it was a small, boutique rural location. The opening of Samui Airport changed all of that, when individual owners started buying plots to develop their own villas, which later grew into small-scale resort projects. The rate of growth since then, while phenomenal, has also been much slower than in Phuket. The peace and quiet allows Koh Samui to continue to sell itself as a boutique resort destination.

The Four Seasons is currently building Koh Samui's first branded villa development, The Estates, adjacent to their new resort. This property for sale in Thailand already has 60% of the development pre-sold, and caters to sophisticated travelers. Also in Koh Samui, W Koh Samui Retreat and Residences will soon be launched. The property value of this Thai resort has grown substantially since the project's inception, due in part to the location's transformation from a small, off-the-beaten-track destination, to an established luxury market.

Pattaya, while not as well known as Phuket, is undoubtedly the most popular destination at the moment, with over 6.6 million visitors in 2007. The mix of Thai and overseas interest in the destination bodes well for the security of Pattaya, and this is reflected in the nature of recent developments in the area. High rise condominiums in Thailand that have been so commonly built used to fetch below 100,000 baht per square meter; now they are fetching over 125,000 baht per square meter.

Hua Hin has built a solid foundation for its property market on Thai interest, and now foreign interest is beginning to recognize the value of the region. The Marrakesh Hua Hin is a Moroccan themed low-rise property which will be for sale in Hua Hin, and this averaged more than 130,000 baht per square meter recently.

Thai resorts look to remain a solid investment, as they are building on a firm foundation of demand, along with excellent standards.
About the Author
Gregory Smyth is an independent author providing assessment and comments on leading International Property Consultants in Asia and Greater China , especially CB Richard Ellis.
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