First phase of Laguna Lakelands unveiled

First phase of Laguna Lakelands unveiled

Banyan Group bullish on sales prospects

An artist's rendition of an aerial view of the first phase of Laguna Lakelands.
An artist's rendition of an aerial view of the first phase of Laguna Lakelands.

Hospitality firm Banyan Group has launched the first phase of Laguna Lakelands, a 700-rai project worth US$2 billion.

The project is the largest residential development in Phuket and the group's largest venture since the $3-billion integrated resort Laguna Phuket.

Group founder and executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping said the Phuket property market has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years, fuelled by post-pandemic tourism.

"This current boom is the highest since I started doing business in Phuket over 30 years ago," he said. "It surpasses the robust recoveries following the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis."

Mr Ho said there are five factors driving the surge in Phuket's property and tourism markets. The island's climate is unrivalled compared with islands in the South China Sea, which are rainy most days, he said.

With its diverse markets, Phuket's hotel business last year experienced only high and peak seasons, with no low season, as foreign tourists arrived during the rainy season from India and the Middle East, said Mr Ho.

The occupancy rate in Phuket was 70-80% last year. A healthy tourism sector will drive property demand in Phuket because potential buyers, particularly those from overseas, are familiar with the area having visited as tourists.

Compared with Bali, which has a larger population, Phuket has a greater number of direct flights from 70 cities.

It is also a foreigner-friendly destination and obtaining a leasehold for property ownership is convenient, he said.

The Thai government launched a long-term resident visa last year covering a 10-year period, which benefits foreign buyers.

Stuart Reading, managing director of the group's property development, said sales of resort condos and villas in Phuket rose from 1,300 units in 2019 to 1,500 units in 2022, then skyrocketed to more than 3,000 units last year.

"Since we launched residential properties for sale in Laguna Phuket 25 years ago, we have recorded total sales of $1 billion," said Mr Reading. "It took only four months last year to get half of that amount from our new launches."

Among the new launches was the first phase of Laguna Lakelands, comprising 1-3 bedroom Lakeview Residences condos in four- and seven-storey towers. Unit sizes range from 52 square metres to 119 sq m, priced from 6.8 million baht.

Of the 300 units, 20% have been sold. Some 70-80% of buyers were Russian nationals, with the remainder coming from Europe and the US. To attract more foreign buyers, the project has designated some units to be offered under a leasehold contract.

There are 14 units of four-bedroom Waterfront Villas with private pools and gardens. Unit prices start from 60 million baht, with two units already sold to buyers from Saudi Arabia and China.

Located on an inland plot on the northeastern part of Laguna Phuket, Laguna Lakelands will have at least 6,000 residential units in five different themed zones launched on a phase-by-phase basis, he said.

Through 10 years of development, the combined sales value is projected at $2 billion, Mr Reading said.

Other components include a country club, a town centre with retail, eateries and entertainment, an adventure park and a resident beach club. Around 30% of the area will be forest, parks and lakes, he said.

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