Is it a good time to buy property in Koh Samui?

Nestled in the heart of Asia, Thailand is a member country of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations). Its strategic location serves as a gateway to Southeast Asia, creating real opportunities for foreign investors.

Is it a good time to buy property in Koh Samui? To find out, let’s start with the following question: Why invest in Thailand?

Thailand is the 2nd largest economy in Southeast Asia. It ranks 4th in the region in terms of per capita income, after Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia. And GDP growth has stabilized at around 5% per year.

In addition, the country has signed free trade agreements with several international partners. This is thanks to its abundant natural resources and cutting edge tech.

Recently, the Thai government has begun to provide incentives for foreign investors. Since 2013, the corporate tax rate in Thailand is the second-lowest among ASEAN countries. This has led to economic growth, more investment, and has placed the country in a competitive position with its neighbours.

Thailand ranks 21st out of 190 countries on to the Ease of Doing Business rankings. The real estate market is now one of the most popular in Asia for foreign investors.

Why buy property in Koh Samui?

To understand why to buy property in Koh Samui, let’s look at why people go there on holiday.

Koh Samui: a tropical island

Koh Samui is internationally recognized as a heavenly holiday destination. One of its main assets is, without a doubt, the numerous white sandy beaches.

The island offers activities and facilities for all ages and types of travellers. As a result, its tourism market is growing. In addition, the government has established sustainability laws to support the development of the island. For example, you cannot build higher than 12 meters, unlike the high-rise structures in Pattaya and Phuket.

Protected from weather

Nestled in the Chumphon Archipelago in the heart of the Gulf of Thailand, there are never major cyclones and hurricanes. There is less risk of natural disasters in Samui than in the islands of the Andaman Sea. Being close to the equator, temperatures remain warm all year round and rainfall also remains stable. The rainy season on the island lasts only 1-2 months.

Easy access

Samui International Airport (USM), operated by a single private airline, is now the second international centre after Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. It handles more than 1.5 million passengers each year and this number is increasing.

In 2016, the number of international passenger arrivals doubled and it has increased YoY since. Bangkok Airways operates domestic and international routes to USM. Domestic flights include direct connections to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Pattaya and Phuket.

Flying from Bangkok to Koh Samui is the fastest way to get to the island, but also the most expensive. These fares set by Bangkok Airways limit the number of visitors but still attract budget travellers and wealthy foreign investors.

A mid- and high-end tourist destination

Koh Samui has transformed from an isolated fishing community in the 1970s to a high-end, international tourist destination. Originally thought of as a “party” destination, it has developed into a middle and upper market destination. With enhanced air and sea links and several internationally renowned luxury hotels, the island attracts wealthy foreign and Thai visitors.

Koh Samui’s real estate market

Samui’s real estate offer is unique compared to other destinations in Thailand. The market is characterized by 3 main factors: its tropical environment, its affordable prices and its sustainability. In addition to the building height regulations mentioned earlier, condominium licenses have been suspended since 2015. This protects the islands exotic charm from overzealous developers.

How did the real estate market start on Koh Samui?

Back in the 80s, foreigners started to settle on the island, looking for a tropical, safe and comfortable life. At that time, there were almost no property developers on the island. Buyers would buy a plot and build their own homes, with the help of local builders.

Gradually, foreign developers and builders began to establish themselves on the island. They offered more choice of properties, built to western and modern standards.

Current Real Estate Trend in Koh Samui

Currently, there are many offers located between Maenam (north of the island) and Lamai (south-east). Within these regions, there is an emphasis on the districts of Bophut and Chaweng.

These areas are popular due to their ideal location. They are close to international hospitals, shopping centres, grocery stores, international schools and also Samui airport.

As a result, they are the most visited sites by tourists in Samui every year. The Plai Laem Hills and Chaweng Noi Hills are popular due to their awesome sea views and proximity to the airport. Buyers are also attracted to secure and fully managed projects, with a preference for luxury villas with swimming pools. Projects offering returns of 7% + per annum also attract the attention of local and foreign investors.