Many, succumbed by a euphoric holiday in Koh Samui decide to buy a piece of this magic, to invest in the island and a lifestyle dream. The property market has boomed as a result many wonderful homes have been created with the latest architectural design and amazing sea views. There are wonderful villas right on the beach or set on lush tropical mountainsides that can easily compete with any property market.
The best way to find the perfect investment is to have realistic expectations which match market place realities.
So take off the rose tinted glasses you wore while on holiday and put on your investor specs as we outline for you some of the pluses and the minuses we think you need to consider when making your investment decision, be it a property or a business.
Let's first look at those things that are on the plus side.
Location – it is centrally located in the world economy’s fastest growing region, home to almost half the world's population. In ASEAN alone there are 650 million people with a fast growing middle income population, which is increasingly mobile and well educated. Koh Samui is connected with daily international flights to major Asian hubs such as Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur – all only 1-3 hours away.
Size – Samui is Thailand's second largest island and has about one quarter the land mass of Singapore. It is in the Goldilocks zone – not too small to prevent development and continuous growth of property market but not too big to allow large scale and high rise, high density development as seen in other parts of Thailand.
Vigour of Youth – Once an island of fishing and coconut farming, the Samui you see today has had a short life having grown over a mere 40 years. It is still forming and there are still many opportunities to be found and there is plenty of room for new ideas and developments.
High End Aspirations – Development on Samui has long been focussed to the mid-high and high end tourism market. Recent investment in major Samui developments by top end hotel brands is a positive indicator of this. They include Sofitel, Melia, Hyatt, U Hotels to name a few. These will join a quality portfolio already including Conrad, Four Seasons, Intercontinental, Six Senses, Banyan Tree, Vanna Belle, W Retreat, Sheraton. The majority of villa developments are also at the mid to top end of the market.
City Status – Samui achieved City status a few years ago and this allows more independence and local control over its administration. It means a more focussed civic administration aware of Samui's specific circumstances and needs. As the island matures the quality of infrastructure and other developments is also improving. Current projects include the underground reticulation of power and communications cables in the main tourist town of Chaweng, the ongoing upgrade of the island's main ring road, continued improvements of drainage and storm water management. All the major government departments have offices on Samui.
Weather – The island is well situated in the Gulf of Thailand and is largely spared the climatic extremes many other tropical zone locations experience. With only a short rainy season of 6 to 8 weeks around November to December holiday makers can enjoy Koh Samui pretty much all year round.
Internet and Communications – Samui is well connected to the world with well-priced 5G mobile technology currently being rolled out and extreme high speed optic fibre and island wide Wi-Fi internet connections being the norm. So no need to miss out on your favourite Netflix show, your next zoom meeting, or your next fix at your favourite online store. If your business is run online then no worries.
Life Necessities – Samui has a range of life essentials, including; quality medical care provided by four private hospitals and one government public hospital, international schools, cinemas, world class banking services, supermarkets, a department store, shopping malls and a host of other retail options.
Now we would like to raise some of the things that can make your investment a challenge.
Air Connections price – The monopoly ownership of Samui International Airport by Bangkok Airways means air links are not as affordable as other Thai locations and ticket prices are higher.
Exposure to Tourism - High exposure to one industry, tourism, has worked well for the island while the global market for travel was growing. But COVID-19 has shown how vulnerable that makes its economic base.
Public Water – While the Provincial Electrical Authority has over the last five years achieved impressive improvements in the island's power network the water authority lags well behind and public water delivery still is an issue for many areas of Samui. Most hotels and villas rely on well water. The water authority is aiming to have pipes extended to 70-80% of the island within the next 3 years.Land Ownership – Foreigners cannot own Freehold land titles. However there are number of ways how to own a property in Thailand - find out more.
Immigration Issues – The Visa system in Thailand is relatively complex. Property ownership in Thailand does not give you any advantages in this system. Maximum term before renewal is generally one year.
So, Samui is still a very young destination and a work in progress. No place is perfect, right? But if you are aware of the challenges, as well as the pluses, you are bound to make a great investment decision.
Contact us now by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (+66) 89 66 23 569 (WhatsApp available).
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