Chinese investors snapping up real estate in Phuket
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Chinese investors snapping up real estate in Phuket

Shophouses, villas, orchards in demand

Locals and tourists visit Nakkerd Hill lookout, which affords sweeping views of Phuket and its beaches. (File photo)
Locals and tourists visit Nakkerd Hill lookout, which affords sweeping views of Phuket and its beaches. (File photo)

Chinese investors are rushing to buy real estate in Phuket, snapping up condos, villas, shophouses and durian orchards to cater to tourists from their own country, according to property consultant Knight Frank Thailand.

Nattha Kahapana, the consultant's managing director, said the Phuket property market is experiencing a surge in demand, fuelled by Chinese property investors and Russian buyers.

"Russians are buying real estate in Phuket to live. They intend to buy immediately as they want to start moving in right away," he said. "More Chinese investors are expected to come to buy 7-8 months after the flow of tourists."

While Russians are interested in buying pool villas, Chinese investors like every type of property, comprising condos, villas, shophouses and even durian orchards, said Mr Nattha. They want to rent out condos and villas to Chinese tourists, taking them to visit durian orchards, he said.

"Our office in Phuket was located near Laguna, in two adjacent 3.5-storey shophouses that we bought many years ago for 14 million baht," said Mr Nattha. "Recently a Chinese investor snapped up the neighbouring units, totalling 47 shophouses including ours. We sold them for 50 million baht."

The investor also requested Knight Frank find a durian orchard of around 200 rai to buy, planning to offer durian tours to Chinese tourists, he said.

In Bangkok, the rental apartment market in locations from Ploenchit to Ekamai, with rents of more than 50,000 baht per month, resumed in the first quarter of 2023, said Frank Khan, executive director and head of residential.

"The occupancy of apartments in this location recovered to 40% from 10% during the pandemic," he said.

"Many multinational companies and their executives are coming back, particularly expatriates from Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia."

Mr Khan said this is a good sign for the rental market the remainder of the year, with demand for luxury condos likely resuming in inner city locations from Thai investors who bought condo units for rent after holding off during the pandemic.

"The condo market in the second half of 2023 will have strong growth, with the key drivers the general election and a new cabinet likely named by the third quarter," he said.

In the first quarter of 2023, the condo market in three locations -- Wireless Road, Lang Suan and Ekamai -- exhibited high demand for both new and resale units.

One of the key factors boosting demand was the influx of foreign buyers, according to Knight Frank.

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