Phuket booming

Two years after the Asian Tsunami, Phuket is booming. The 2004 December 26th Asian Tsunami caused significant damage in the region, but the recovery was rapid.

Raimon Land CEO Nigel Cornick explained; ‘The initial post Tsunami period was difficult for Phuket, but by last Christmas activity was back to pre-Tsunami levels. It only took twelve months, hotels are full and high season bookings are extremely strong.

‘Phuket is going from strength to strength. It has all the fundamentals, superb climate, the beaches, the islands and the city infrastructure.

‘We are delighted with the Phuket Kings Cup event and we have now confirmed our sponsorship until 2012. ‘It is one of our key sponsorship initiatives; it’s a wonderful event and it fits well for has synergy with our resort destinations and boating and yachting.

‘While our Bangkok developments are high rise condominiums, high rise in the cities, in Phuket we develop in sympathy with the environment. ‘With the development of the internet, people can work in setting overlooking the beach in Phuket and watch the boats, rather than sitting in offices in Bangkok or Hong Kong.’

Last year, at the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, Raimon Land introduced The Heights project featuring 51 freehold condominiums with stunning sea views on Phuket’s most exclusive location, Kata Bay. Twelve months later, over 65% of the units have been sold, achieving record prices between 80,000 – 95,000 baht per square meter.

Not only will major luxury hotel chains such as Grand Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, and Shangri-La soon be part of Phuket 5-Star portfolio, but private villas and luxury apartments are also emerging all around the island.

While two-to-three years ago, less than five condominium developments were marketed on the island, today one can easily count more than 40 projects under development, worth an estimated 20 billion Baht (US$ 500m). Phuket is now a more mature market where land is being bought to be developed, villas and apartments are occupied and booked year round, and the resale market is healthy and liquid.

According to Raimon Land research, most of the demand is coming from non-Thais with a great majority coming from foreigners living outside Thailand. British, American and Scandinavian are the most frequent buyers of condominiums. Foreigners can fully own their condominium, while villas owners need to register the land under a leasehold structure. In early 2005, condominiums were selling at an average of 60,000 Baht a square meter, while they are now selling at around 74,000 Baht. This trend is still on the up side as Raimon Land sold its latest units at The Heights for 90,000 Baht a square meter.

All world regions have their own resort destination, America has the Caribbean, Europe has the Mediterranean and now Asia is seeing the emergence of the Andaman. 'The investment world map has switched to Asia, to Hong Kong, to Singapore, to Shanghai and the property and leisure market is moving towards Thailand' added Mr. Cornick.