Phuket Market Summary & History of Phuket

Phuket Property Market Overview & History


Phuket is one of the greatest places in SE Asia to enjoy a lifestyle of sun, sand and beautiful blue seas all year round. Couple this with the renowned hospitality and warmth of the Thai culture and boundless smiles its status of being one of Asia’s best destinations keeps on growing.

More people are turning to Phuket with a view in investing in their future – investing in paradise.

The diversity of lifestyle on offer to residents and holiday makers  alike is very diverse, you can enjoy a variety of activities from golf, sailing and boating, diving, swimming, during the day whilst enjoying all the gastronomical delights from the best Thai, Asian & European cuisines on offer at night. It has something for everyone from families with young children given a number of excellent international schools through to retirees and investors alike looking for a more relaxed lifestyle.

The island was initially was seen as a foreign holiday destination and today it still heavily depends upon tourism as its no.1 generator of income.

Over the past decade, Phuket has seen a increasing level of property development that has also seen improvements in infrastructure and a large expansion of hotel and resort developments that in many cases also includes private residences. In more recent times this has also seen the  increase in boating facilities and marina’s to accommodate the growing number of visitor and residents enjoying the surrounding islands and waters of the Andaman.

Private real estate has being growing hand in hand with the increasing numbers in tourists & tourist development with those at looking to reside in Phuket full time as well as investors seeing the long term opportunities that the market offers.

The nature of the Phuket property market is primarily one of being a cash market as those looking to invest are astute investors and  people looking to their property portfolio’s having somewhere they can come and invite their friends during the European winter months or holiday periods.

Due to the ability of buyer to be able to purchase luxury beachfront or stunning seaview apartments the property market has been seen as being very robust and resilient and protects market itself from liquidity issues .

With the current financial climate still experiencing a great deal of uncertainly, its not surprising however that we see the market in general  being quite steady. The number of buyers are definitely lower than at anytime before but we haven’t seen the same drop in prices as other markets as owners simply have no real urgency to sell in the norm.

The market here has been steady so far with the types of buyers being from all around the world. They could be lifestyle seekers or smart investors who combine a holiday home with investment.

Condominiums on a good location are still in demand as it hits both holiday home owners and investors looking for rental returns whilst allowing foreign freehold ownership (subject to Thai regulations). The scale of investment required to enter this market also makes it easier entering the market. A 2-3 bedrooms units within high quality  development with an av. 125 sqm of built-up area with common facilities and a professional program is coming a standard of good condominium project on average are available to be purchased from THB 100,000 – 120,000/sqm. of course there are more luxury apartments available where location and views play an important part in pricing.

The Villa market in Phuket provides a big range of price and depends on location. Beachfront villas are defined as high-end luxury residences as are those with sea views located on hillsides and close to a beach. This of course is due to the limited availability of quality land and subsequent high price to purchase land in such areas requiring developers to build a high quality of residence to off-set the land cost.

A 3 bedrooms plus 1 convertible room for either office or games room of 800-1,000 sqm in total built-up area on plot of 1,600 sqm is considered the starting size of a luxury residence that provides views going all the way up to super luxury residences consisting of 5-6+ bedrooms.

The price range is also very wide for such villas. Most such villas have a starting entry price of approx US$ 1-1.5 million for a luxury sea view or a larger size residence located on a golf course while larger villas with elevated sea views or beachfront villas can fetch offers of US$3-5.0m+.

Land in Phuket continues to gain in value not only for immediate development but also for investment as less land is available on the market. The availability of prime land is running low as owners hold on until buyers are prepared to pay what the owner wants which can lead to a negative cycle as buyers are looking for cheaper prices.

International hotel operators, offshore land banks and individual developers are the main investors for limited prime land in Phuket. And  due to the scarcity of land on Phuket (west coast particularly) investors are now turning to areas such as Phang Nga and Krabi where inland at cheaper prices are still available.

The global financial storm that has hit the worlds economies hard that has seen global share markets loose approx 50% of their value in the past 12 months has had a serious knock on effect in the number of tourists visiting Phuket being down dramatically this year hence the number of buyers has also reduced dramatically. Real estate in Phuket as a holiday home market is also effected, but the fact is, the crisis is not changing the quality of beautiful beaches and great lifestyles on offer here. So picking good quality on a good location and be smart on value in this buyer’s market, Phuket after rough waves will then show how secure to invest smartly in real estate.

The History of Phuket – Courtesy of Thailand Tourism

Located approximately 862 kilometers south of Bangkok is Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, which is often dubbed as the pearl of the Andaman, or the pearl of the south. Its natural resources- rocky peninsular, limestone cliffs, white powdery beaches, tranquil broad bays and tropical in-land forests contribute to making it the South’s wealthiest, busiest, most visited and most popular island and province.

Nestled in the tropical zone off the west coast of the southern part of Thailand in the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean, the province covers an area of approximately 543 square kilometers (excluding small islets). It is estimated that Phuket Province covers an area of approximately 590 square kilometers if its 39 other small islands are included. The islands total length, from north to south, is estimated at 48.7 kilometers and approximately 21.3 kilometers wide.

Phuket borders on Phang-nga Province to the north. The other 3 sides are encircled by the Andaman Sea the place where many of the best diving sites are located. The island is connected to Phang-nga Province by Sarasin Bridge and Thep Krasattri Bridge.

Staying on the island is easy, as there are only two seasons in a year – the rainy season (May to October) and the hot season (November to April). The low season of Phuket is between September and October as they are the wettest months. The best period for a visit, is from November to February, when it is possible to see the clear blue sky, feel the fresh sea breeze and marvel at the crystal clear water while lying on powdery, palm-fringed beaches. Average temperatures ranges between 23 C and 33 C.

Phuket’s topology is exceptional with 70 percent of its area covered with mountains which stretch from north to south and the remaining 30 percent being plains located in the central and eastern parts of the island. The island does not have any major rivers except for a total of 9 brooks and creeks.

Phuket is divided into 3 administrative counties namely Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Thalang and Amphoe Kathu.

Phuket has a lot more to offer its visitors other than its natural heritage sea, sand, sky, beach, forest, and world renowned diving sites. Sino-Portuguese architecture casts its spell delighting travelers to the city, while Phuket-style hospitality has never failed to impress visitors from all walks of life. In addition, accommodations ranging from world-class resorts to tropical-style bungalows have warmly catered to the different needs of travelers. For seafood lovers, there is a lot more to sample than just Phuket’s famous lobster. Altogether, these characteristics have made Phuket a truly unique destination.

History of Phuket

Seen as a perfect stopover even in the 1st  century. Phuket was sheltering traders from monsoons, riginally known as Jung Ceylon, Phuket welcomed merchants from India, Persia, Arabia, Burma, China and also Siam. During the 16th century, the island was also a popular trading port for tin with Portuguese, Dutch, English and French traders flocking to the island. This contributed to making the development of mining so unprecedented. Chinese businessmen and miners later migrated to Phuket and soon enjoyed thriving business wealth.

Apart from serving as a meeting point for traders from Europe, Central Asia and China, Phuket also attracted ambitious immigrants, especially those from Portugal and China, to work in the tin mines. With its colorful history, visitors admire the Sino-Portuguese style architecture in the city especially those buildings located along the Thalang and Yaowarat Roads.

Thalang town was surrounded by Burmese troops who invaded the coastal area in 1785. It was under the leadership of Chan, the widow of the governor, and her sister, Muk, who united local residents and successfully fought and drove the invaders out of Phuket. It took over 30 days for the defending troops of Phuket, under the command of Chan and Muk, to claim their victory. As a result of such heroic deeds, noble titles were granted to Chan and Muk as Thao Thep Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon respectively. To honor them, a monument was established at Tha Ruea Intersection, 12 kilometers to the north of Phuket City in 1966. They are still highly respected by Phuket residents even today.

However, 24 years later, the Burmese succeeded in seizing Thalang causing many local residents to flee to Phang-nga and Krabi. In 1825, some of them returned to re-establish a town and established a rice farming community. On the other hand, the area to the south of the island (Phuket City today) was developed and became a tin trading center

When Phuket was elevated to a town in 1850, it attracted more immigrants from Thalang and nearby communities. In 1894, Phuket was promoted to be a Monthon administrative unit under the supervision of the central administrative body (located in Bangkok).

In 1902, Phraya Ratsada Korsimbi, a Sino-Thai businessman who contributed to developing the modern city of Phuket was appointed Governor of Phuket. He also helped to improve the welfare of local residents and set up the market system in the countryside. In 1916, Phuket became a province.

The tin mining industry has gradually closed down as it failed to be economically viable, especially after 1985 when the price of tin fell by half. However, with its natural resources, Phuket later emerged as a tourist destination with great potential that we see today. This polished pearl of the Andaman is truly a destination that provides visitors with memorable experience.

Below are two useful links to Phuket beaches & Phuket Islands.

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