The Koh Samui Real Estate Market
Koh Samui is the third largest island in Thailand (229 km²), it has undergone a major metamorphosis over the past decade, going from a low-cost holiday destination to an upmarket resort island, rivaling Phuket. It has attracted an international clientele looking for an idyllic holiday setting, while remaining an exotic destination to live for a couple, a family or for a sunny retreat.
The charm of the island, its geographical location, its Accessibility by Plane from the main Asian capitals, its preserved environment, its temperate climate and its diverse nightlife … are all positive aspects which attract a more sophisticated clientele with a high purchasing power, seeking both the quality of Thai life, while still enjoying the modern comfort of the West.
Koh Samui’s qualities are numerous and often put forward in TV shows or articles around the world, with its seaside resorts, its White Sand Beaches, its surrounding islands, its activities and leisure for all ages … Moreover, many visitors compare the island to a small “Saint-Tropez” Thai. Be that as it may, it remains a Dream Destination where life is good.
This fervor increased in the 2000s with the multiplication of daily flights, a better service, the organization of events and festivals, and an important development of local infrastructures.
Koh Samui can boast of counting, today, a large number of Luxury Resorts (all upscale hotel chains have a resort here), high-end Restaurants from several countries, trendy places of life spread over the whole island. 5 Hospitals were created, as well as international schools, not to mention a multitude of shops and catering trades (bakeries, cheese factories, butchers, caterers …). Lastly, 7 Supermarkets and Malls now offer a wide choice of local and imported products to meet the needs of the island’s ever-growing population.
For some time, significant efforts have been made on the renovation and securing of the road, the water supply or the restoration of the electricity network.
Obviously, all these elements together (without forgetting the project of a Luxury Marina in the near future) have had a remarkable impact on the local real estate.
The Real Estate Offer
The real estate offer is mainly composed of villas. Indeed, there are rather strict Urban Planning Rules on the island, limiting the number of building construction, but also the height of the accommodations (which must not exceed the height of a coconut tree), in order to protect Koh Samui from a wild urbanism. In terms of Standing, we are heading for an upscale or luxurious market. However, the real estate offer remains very wide and covers a spectrum ranging from a few tens of thousands of Euros to several million Euros depending on the desired area and the type of housing sought.
The Price of Lands on Koh Samui has increased dramatically in the space of a few years, on the whole island, with prices reaching huge amounts, this phenomenon has forced developers to build further back on the heights of the island (with, nevertheless, superb sea views). Although some prices may seem prohibitive, beachfront lands are much sought after by foreign and local investors, even if they are increasingly rare (especially for high-end resorts and hotels) and are sold in no time! Since then, Thai landowners have found the parade. They sell less and less their plots and opt for rentals through a “Lease” (for a given period that can fluctuate from a few years for a business to 30 years for a property and renewable in most cases) for a higher or lower price.
The real estate market of Koh Samui mainly covers individual or integrated in secure sets villas. However, the market is currently moving towards the construction of small residences composed of apartments and built on the model of Resorts with shared services (swimming pools, tennis courts, gym …), although this is still limited.
Koh Samui remains, above all, a tourist destination. Therefore, most properties are bought as a second or semi-main home, and many homeowners make a rental investment in order to obtain comfortable revenues.
In Thailand, with very few exceptions, foreigners cannot own land in their name and therefore have full ownership of it, but they may own the property built on these lands.
In Koh Samui (as in the rest of the country), foreign buyers have 3 solutions:
Freehold: Since the law of the Condominium Act, enacted in 1979, foreigners of all nationalities can buy an apartment in their own name and have full ownership of the property for an unlimited period of time, under certain conditions.
Leasehold: buy through a Lease. This consists of renting a property in its own name for a period of 30 years, often renewable by contract for the same period. The first 30-year lease is registered in the Land Department, equivalent to the Cadastre.
Whichever solution you choose, you should check with a Thai law firm specializing in land acquisition or contact your Estate Hunter to find out what the best solution is for your needs.