The Koh Samui Property Market
The Koh Samui property market is very different from the real estate market in other popular areas of Thailand such as Hua Hin, Pattaya and Bangkok for a variety of reasons.
The island has unique environmental building regulations limiting construction to 3 floors with a maximum height of 12 meters. These regulations guarantee to protect the island from the urbanized high-rise skylines of other beach destinations Thailand has to offer.
In addition, condominium licenses were suspended in 2015 and are still under suspension to this day. With condominium sales the most robust sector of Thailand’s other real estate markets, the island’s environmental laws and suspension of condo licenses are a huge part of the uniqueness of the Koh Samui property market.
Another exclusive aspect that sets the island apart is the higher number of affluent visitors drawn here. Koh Samui offers everything needed to live the high-end luxury lifestyle whilst still preserving its tropical beauty and charm. In recent years a large number of luxury hotel brands such as Conrad, 4 Seasons and W Retreat have invested here, further securing the promising outlook for high-end investment. Frank Knight Thailand Research recently published that in the first quarter of 2014, the type of properties in highest demand were in the 20-40M THB (600K – 1.2M USD) price range and that homes in this price range took up 61% of the local market. With condominium sales taking up the highest share of the market in Pattaya, Hua Hin, and Bangkok, this further defines the uniqueness of the Koh Samui property market.
Who Buys Property on Koh Samui?
By far, the majority of buyers are prosperous Hong Kong and UK expatriates looking to secure a holiday home and rental investment opportunity. However, buyers from all over Europe, SE Asia and Australia are also drawn to the luxurious lifestyle Koh Samui has to offer and the relatively inexpensive property prices when compared to Europe, Australia and other SE Asian destinations. Recently, with the increase in direct flights from China and influx of Chinese visitors, mainland Chinese buyers are also becoming increasingly attracted to investing here.
Historic Trends in the Koh Samui Property Market
The very early days of the Koh Samui property market began in the 1980s. Back then foreigners who wanted to own a home here would buy a plot of land and construct the home with the help of local construction companies. This was the norm on Koh Samui for the next 20 years and then began to slowly change as both boutique developers and larger developers slowly began to grow in number. These days, with Koh Samui offering a large choice of both completed and off-plan developments, the option of buying land with the intent to build a private home has become less attractive.
The Koh Samui property market is centered on the northeast of the island from the populated areas of Bophut to Chaweng. The Bophut and Chaweng hills have always been popular areas to buy property due to convenience of location near the busy tourist centres and more so the panoramic sea views offered in these locations. In recent years, the areas of Plai Laem and Chaweng Noi have become increasingly popular with both land and property prices increasing sharply here due to the fact that these areas are the only areas on the island offering spectacular sea views within walking distance to the sea.
Current trends show much interest in the lower end of the property market with prices ranging from 2-8M THB (60k- 250K USD), however as previously noted in this article, Miss Risinee Sarikaputra, Head of Research at Frank Knight stated in 2014, the most popular homes to purchase are 3-5 bedroom properties with living areas of 450-650 sqm on land plots ranging from 800 – 1600sqm with selling prices of 20-40M THB (600K – 1.2M USD).
The Koh Samui property market is now steering towards fully managed secure developments and off-plan sites by a large number of boutique developers many of which offer guaranteed ROIs and full property and rental management options.
Future trends are sure to follow in the footsteps of Phuket where the property market is mature and growth has occurred in already developed areas. Residential properties will become an increasingly popular and easy purchasing option. The full property management options and rental programs offered by such developments make them an easy choice for purchasers looking for a holiday home and investors looking for an easy return on investment.
The Koh Samui property market may arguably be in its infancy, but steady growth is sure to continue. The beauty of the island, growth in the secure residency sector of the market and increasing number of flights and visitors to Koh Samui will ensure this. The time to buy, surely, is now.