The island of Samui is rapidly becoming one of the region's most popular options for property investment. In my next two columns, I am going to look at Thailand's other "significant resort island".
The past decade has brought major changes to Samui, where Thai and international investors have funded accelerated development, building high-end residential products and upscale resorts that have transformed the face of the island.
Difficult global conditions worldwide have resulted in a challenging sales environment in Samui. As a result, it is probable that some short-term effects will be evident in terms of slower development progress, reductions in the number of new product lunches as well as a weakening in property transactions and pricing.
However, it needs to be acknowledged that current and upcoming supply at the top-end of the Samui property market is limited and few prime parcels remain for future development - factors that will continue to bolster demand in coming years among potential real estate purchasers.
For most developers and purchasers, there is always a keen interest in identifying new and emerging areas of development. Based on interviews with local developers and industry resources, these look to be centered into three key areas.
First on the lisit is Taling Ngam. While developments on Samui have traditionally been clustered along the northern and eastern shores, the lack of remaining prime sites has resulted in a shift to the west of the island.
Until recently, the Taling Ngam area was a somewhat overlooked part of the island, but ironically it is the site of the first luxury resort on the island, the Baan Taling Ngam Resort. Formerly Le Royal Meridien Baan Taling Ngam, the 70-room resort with its 14 luxury villas was successfully sold years ago. Projects in this area now include Magic Beach, the small Headlands villa development, as well as the upcoming Vana Belle Samui Resort and Spa, to be managed by Starwood Luxury Collection.
The second area of interest is in south Samui, the southwestern corner of which has been slow to develop due to its distance from tourist areas and the airport. However, this area has gathered momentum in recent years with several high-end projects, some underway and others rumored to be in the pipeline.
The availability of good-sized parcels, striking elevation and the unspoilt nature of this area has attracted several high-end projects. As a result, the Phang Ka Bay area and neighboring Thong Krut are expected to become highly exclusive enclaves. One of the first luxury villa products in this area was the striking Naissance
Villas. Future projects include the Conrad Koh Samui and the Park Hyatt Koh Samui, among other luxury developments rumored to be coming.
The third area is not on Samui itself, but on nearby Koh Phangan. As Samui develops apace and land prices rise