With Thailand's tourism data showing an increasing number of visitors having golf on their itinerary, it's not surprising that more golf courses - and golf course residential developments - are being built.
Mark Siegel, managing director, Golfasian Co, recalls that many of these early projects collapsed during the property and currency crashes of the mid- to late-1990s, when banks and financiers foreclosed. With the property market now improving, golf course estates are getting back on track, Siegel says.
'Developers are hungry for new projects. In particular, there are many who are now quite prepared to take over part or all of existing projects, pumping-in fresh capital and drive.'
Today, a number of new projects are coming up in Thailand, especially around Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Most of these properties are being bought by foreigners, Siegel says. Why? 'Because a house or condo by a golf course is considered by many to be the best realty in the world.'
Twenty-three different nationalities have bought their dream home at Banyan Village, Resort & Golf in the resort town of Hua Hin. Banyan Village comprises tropically landscaped villas and condominiums, each featuring a lavish living area, two bedrooms, kitchenette and private jacuzzi connecting to a free-form communal swimming pool.
The resort's restaurants, concierge, maintenance and housekeeping services are all available to owners. Set around a world-class championship golf course, these homes have a starting price of 8 million baht (HK$1.99 million).
Another popular real estate opportunity exists at Chiangmai Highlands, in the foothills east of Chiang Mai. Opened in 2005, and once voted one of the Best New Courses in Asia, the property offers residential investors pure luxury.
Agents say that Thailand has had a natural attraction to investors and, along with Indonesia and Malaysia, is one of the hottest places for property investment.