Land Of Smiles
Abode2 Luxury Property Magazine|Volume 2 Issue 14

A sun-soaked competitor to the Caribbean, increasing numbers of UK buyers are seeking strong returns in the Zen paradise of Thailand.

James Matthews

Crouching at the heart of Indo China, Thailand epitomises the essence of Asia with its palm fringed beaches, floating markets and exotic jungles. A staple fixture on the hippy trail and the preserve of backpackers in the Sixties, the country’s tourism industry has experienced massive growth in recent years, with holiday makers and property pioneers swooping in to sample the tropical elixir for themselves. “Expats have been buying here for decades,” explains Dean Muir of Exotiq Property, “most of them from Hong Kong, Singapore, the States and Australia, but it’s Westerners and well-heeled investors from East Asia who are increasingly driving residential tourism sales thanks to improved airlift and a burgeoning line in turnkey luxury real estate. Median property prices, (while up 20-50% per annum over the last decade) in hot spot locations like Phuket, still compare favourably with rival destinations like Malaysia, and are appreciably less than Singapore. Living costs are a third of those in Europe and HSBC ranks Thailand number two in its Expat Explorer Survey, especially praising its quality of life.”

While foreign investment in Thailand’s property market took a hit from the Bangkok bomb blast in 2015, the sector has shown great resilience. “The tragic blast at the Erawan Shrine hurt market sentiment,” adds James Pitchon, executive director of consultancy CBRE Thailand. “But the overall state of the economy is a far more important issue driving the performance of the property market rather than a single tragic event. The real estate market is more domestically driven than exposed to foreign capital. International buyers are key too though, but they’re resolutely focused on the luxury end, where prices are usually over US$300,000.”

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