Those of us involved in the property business in Phuket over the past six years know that it's been a bit of a wild roller coaster ride, with its ups, downs and in-betweens.
But each year as the rains come and our seasonal market dips to its annual lows, out come the doomsayers with their tired old question: "Is this the end for the Phuket real estate market?" It's been a phenomenon as steady as clockwork and might be compared with the “groundhog” coming out at the end of winter and gives the thumbs up or down for an early spring.
Luckily, we live in a climate of endless summers and to the best of my knowledge there are no groundhogs on this island. Hence, in assessing the market we have to look at something more solid than a furry animal that spends its winters underground. During the past six years, Phuket has experienced spectacular double-digit capital appreciation within the property sector despite 911 , SARS, bird flu, land scandals, a tsunami and coup d'etat. Prices have continued to rise.
Tourism recovered from the post Tsunami low and was close to 80 % last year.
Depending on the source one uses for statistics, tourist arrivals in Phuket soared to five million people in 2006, and year-to-date figures show continued impressive growth for 2007.
In a property market dominated by foreign buyers the holiday market provides as a good barometer as any real estate forecasts.
According to an independent agency for real estate affairs the Bangkok property market in 2007 is expected to be worth 145 billion baht. In 2006, Raimon Land 's research team, in its Focus publication, valued the condominium in Phuket alone to be worth 20 billion baht. Realistically, if we are looking at the total property market, including not only condominiums but also villas, homes, apartments, rental space market value could easily economy, exceed 40 billion baht.
To provide some scale to the market, consider the government figures that show the total spent on books and newspaper in the entire country at 60 million baht, though (bizarrely) the fastest- growing enterprise in the entire Kingdom is amulets, which were fuelled by the recent Jatukham Ramathep craze.
The Kaisikon Bank Research Center has