Samui charting its own path
According to research conducted by CB Richard Ellis, prices in the Samui condominium market are beginning to catch up with Phuket, although there remain a number of important differences between the two resort destinations. Ms. Prakaipeth Meechoosarn, Manager of CB Richard Ellis Samui, explains, Samui's development pace, when compared to Phuket, allows the island to be positioned as Asia's boutique island destination. Developments are limited, although more local and foreign players are now starting to get involved. Overall, however, Samui remains an exclusive destination for tourists looking for a quieter, more secluded retreat.
There are a limited number of condominium projects in Samui, and a recent survey of the island's condominium sector reveals that 70 percent of the total existing and future supply of approximately 500 units are still under construction, which reflects the recent pace of development. The North East area of the island (Choeng Mon Beach) accounts for 38 percent of total existing and future supply, followed by the North (28 percent) and East regions (25 percent). 59 percent of units were sold as of Q2 2008.
Prices for condominium units in Samui range between Bt1.8-48.7 million per unit, with an average of Bt10.4 million. The highest average prices were in the South (Laem Set Beach), at Bt20 million per unit. Casavela in Laem Set was priced at Bt`88,000 per sq.m. at launch (Q1 2006), and resale units have now achieved prices of Bt100,000 per sq.m. The project is now completed and sold out.
As in Phuket, developments in Samui are sometimes registered as apartment buildings instead of condominiums and then are leased out on long-term leases (30+30+30 years). Most buyers of high-end and luxury Samui properties are foreigners.
The two projects with the highest price points in Samui are The Estates (adjacent to Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui) and W Koh Samui Retreat & Residences, where prices range from Bt65 to 205 million. The island's south has the highest average price per unit, at Bt68.4 million. The Conrad Koh Samui Residences, a luxury development of 32 villas, is located in this area.
Ms. Prakaipeth goes on to state, As with any resort destination, the property market in Samui is dependant on repeat high-end tourism. As such, deteriorating global economic conditions and weaker tourist activity could adversely affect this market in the short run.
In the long-run, we expect the high-end and luxury segments of the Samui property market to outperform. Coastal land prices in Samui have been on the rise and prime land plots are becoming rare. Land price movements will play a significant role in the pattern of development on Samui, as will the continued development of infrastructure and other support services, she concludes.