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The long hot summer

September 8, 2010

Phuket has now adopted a permanent “summer” season having canceled the low season and if the latest tourism numbers are anything to go by, it seems to be working as it now becomes seen as an annual destination.

Even with the mother of all storms last week Phuket enjoyed some delightful sunshine in the mornings and with its escaping clutch a calm and summery week followed. The west coast beaches were high season quality, charter boats have been frolicking in Phang Nga Bay, local restaurants are busy and there has been some great surf….all good news in the run up to September school holidays and a fresh influx of family visitors.

Phuket has a spring in her step, she is upbeat, positive, enthusiastic and full of enjoyment. The eco-campaign and the island’s awareness of all things green is highlighted daily with cleaner roads, beaches and towns and a much more proactive local government.

There is a distinct thawing in the Phuket property market with solid purchasing and good deals to be had. The quality end of the market remains in demand, so long as sellers are reasonable. A few sellers somehow missed the Global Financial Crisis cocooned and cosseted on a yacht off Sardinia for the last 18 months as some agents still promote wildly inflated prices, but in the main prices are reasonable despite dwindling land resources and tougher build codes on new builds.

The discovery of Phuket by Australians in 2010 with new direct flights showed a 30% increase in arrivals y-y, happy cashed up Aussies who have benefited from the resource boom and are buying quality, high-end apartments and villas.

Hong Kong, with its increasing air pollution is still the main property feeder and there have been, quietly, a few very top tier property transactions in the plus USD10mn bracket. The near sell out internally of the Amanpuri Phase three this year also augers well for the super high end of the market.

Phuket Island’s luxury rental market continues to grow probably 30-40% annually with a broad international clientele who seek large, private homes for family get-togethers and long vacations. A number of the high end rentals are now 3-6 weeks, a trend that was not evident before and is becoming more like the Hamptons with daily rates giving way to weekly/monthly rental packages.

The latest hotel research piece from Phuket local Bill Barnett shows that Phuket is enjoying higher occupancy as a result of increasing Asian short haul travelers, bringing with it a raft of new visitors from India, the Middle East, Korea and China.

Phuket is within easy distance of most of Asia with 220 million people living within a 5 hour flight and offers a happy, clean & green healthy hub to base yourself, put the kids to school and buy that family house you have been dreaming about. The Thai baht has been a safe haven in USD weakness and politically and economically Thailand is getting a secure footing again.

It’s a good time to be a buyer!

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