There are two types of luxury condominium and apartment in Phuket: those under international brands such as Laguna Property at Bang Tao Beach or Mövenpick Residence on Karon Beach, and those that have local brands, such as the Royal Phuket Marina in Phuket City, or The Heights or Kata Gardens, both in Kata.
But whatever the name, what almost all of them have in common is top locations set in beautiful gardens with the sparkling waters of the Andaman Sea or Phang Nga Bay as a backdrop.
Designs and Latest Trends
Phuket is special; it attracts talent from all over the world. For example, renowned Dutch-Thai architect Hans Brouwer of HB Design was responsible for the design of The Heights, employing his vision of regionalism combined with the influences of modern techniques.
At Royal Phuket Marina, the project architects were Frantzen Design of the UK, while the interiors were by Akara Architect from Thailand. Spread across 30 hectares (190 rai), the marina has a 16,000-square-metre up-market shopping centre which will include designer boutiques, cosmetics, jewellery, home décor, marina and boating necessities, water sports equipment and accessories, a bookshop, a Western-style supermarket, gourmet specialty stores, and essential services.
Mövenpick Residence is using Bishop International Group, an architectural practice established in Phuket seven years ago. The Managing Director, Tucker Bishop, from the US, has more than 30 years' experience. Landscaping is by Bali-based Bensley Design Studios whose MD, Bill Bensley, was on the Master Jury of the Architecture Plus awards in 2004, and who worked on the design of Bangkok's premier mall, Siam Paragon.
To merit the title "luxury" these condos and apartment come with facilities such as a clubhouse with large swimming pool or infinity pool, a pool for children, Jacuzzis and a fitness center.
The common area is looked after by a professional company that also arranges 24-hour security. Royal Phuket Marina, for example, uses CB Richard Ellis as its property manager, while Mövenpick residences is looked after by its own international resort and spa management team.
So What Does It Cost?
Prices range from 13.5 million baht for a two-bedroom apartment or condo unit of around 125 square metres, to more than 30 million baht for a penthouse. Prices vary according to location, facilities and the quality of the unit itself. But for 14 million baht, a buyer can expect to take his or her pick of some of the island's most gorgeous locations.
"Because of the location, we are a resort apartment property and most people buy the apartments for use as holiday homes," says Isara Pangchan, Sales and Marketing Manager of Mövenpick Residence. "They may use the place for 20 to 40 days a year - or even as much as two months. The rest of the time, we manage it for them by renting the apartments out. With the Mövenpick name, we have a strong marketing channel and sales team to promote our products," she points out.
Selling Like Hot Cakes
Over the New Year holiday week alone, Laguna Property Phuket took 16 reservations for condominiums. "This is certainly a record for us," said Tamsin Edenbrow, the company's Director of Sales & Marketing. "I expect this condominium development to have sold out by the end of January." She added, "Speaking to friends in the property business in Thailand and from my own experience, January is proving to be a very busy month and we are receiving a lot of enquiries, so 2007 is looking like a good year for the property market in Thailand."
Henry Young, Director of Marketing of Raimon Land, the developer of both The Heights and Kata Garden, shares this sentiment. "Phuket has strong demand driven by international buyers. Condominium demand and supply have grown particularly fast, thanks to the advantages in terms of foreign ownership, low costs and better use of precious beachfront land and views."
In Thailand, most property is sold to foreigners on a leasehold basis, but it is possible, in certain circumstances, to buy freehold ownership of a condo. Ask the agent for the project about this, but also visit the Department of Lands website at dol.go.th and consult a knowledgeable lawyer as to the ins and outs of condominium ownership.