At long last the year that wouldn't go away is nearly over and the halls of commerce for Phuket property
resound with a collective sigh. As we enter the last year of the decade, it feels akin to hitting a reset button
on some magical electronic device, and a clean storyboard will suddenly appear.
The 1990s marked the birth of the pool villa resort, after the style of Amanpuri and Banyan Tree. For most
of the 2000s, the allure of resort-grade property in a tropical location, with fairly short travel time to the
capitals of the region, was irresistible.
Few publicly listed Thai companies - with the exception of Laguna Hotels and Resorts, Land and Houses
and later Charn Issara - took part in the developing market. The landscape was marked by small
entrepreneurs. It became almost a gold rush atmosphere, involving mostly foreign businessmen or joint
venture partnerships. Demand far out-stripped supply.
Capital appreciation grew year on year at well over 20 per cent, and looking back at the most successful
enterprises, the initial buyers often made better returns then the developers themselves. With debt
unavailable, one of the main methods of raising money was taking land on contract, going to the market with
an appealing design and marketing materials, and then gathering presales to fund construction.
It's interesting to note that, in most cases, the formula worked. In my my nine years on Phuket I can come
up with fewer then 12 projects that failed and defaulted. However, times changed. The burgeoning market
was beset by events including the bird flu, the tsunami, Thaksin, the coup, the foreign business act scare,
and ultimately the global financial crisis and the violent political demonstrations, including closure of
Nothing moves in straight lines. What was more the atmosphere of an emerging market has now moved
higher in the cycle and matured. Resales and rentals have now edged into the market place in a significant
way, displacing off-plan sales,