A corner of paradise in Phuket

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2007, 12:00am

Battle-hardened Hong Kong investors remain the prime acquisition players in Phuket, with the island a key target despite political turmoil in other parts of Thailand.

David Simister, CB Richard Ellis Thailand chairman, says investors in luxury property developments continue to pour money into the tropical paradise while its fundamentals remain solid.

'Hong Kong-based investors are the major buyers in Phuket,' he says.

'They love Phuket because of the range of developments offered in the market. They are also very knowledgeable about the market, hence are inclined towards purchasing properties there. Compared to other nearby destinations, Phuket is superior in many respects and offers much more compared to, say, Samui or Pattaya.' The island is equipped with excellent infrastructure, an international airport which offers direct flights to many Asian and European destinations, international hospitals and international schools.

'Leisure facilities such as the three marinas and six golf courses on the island also enhance its appeal,' says Mr Simister.

One of the most prestigious Phuket properties CB Richard Ellis is selling is the Layan Estates at the northern end of Bang Tao Beach.

The five-bedroom villas feature contemporary Thai and tropical lifestyle themes and are renting for US$7,000 per week.

Bill Barnett, Phuket-based C9 Hotelworks managing director, says: 'The travel time is quite short [from Hong Kong], so Phuket is the most logical and strategic location for short trips to a tropical destination.' C9 Hotelworks is marketing the Movenpick Residence Karon Beach Phuket, which has 30 units for sale, each 125 square metres, as investment options.

They are all managed by the adjacent Movenpick Resort which ensures the units are sold as travel accommodation throughout the year to give rental yields.

Mr Barnett believes Phuket has been largely unaffected by the recent coup and unrest in Thailand's southern provinces.

'Tourism is hitting record numbers and large investment by international companies into Phuket on projects such as the new Shangri-La Resort and Spa, Jumeirah Private Island Resort, Taj Exotica and Raffles Resort Phang Nga is at an all-time high,' Mr Barnett says.

Mr Simister says there is some caution among investors, even though money is pouring into Phuket, but he believes current projects will instil long-term confidence.