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Rising air access spurs Koh Samui’s property sector

Rising air access spurs Koh Samui’s property sector

Call it Chinacation or just the way of the world but increased air links between the resort island of Koh Samui and Mainland China bode well for the real estate sector.  There is little doubt that taking the Phuket model which has seen a spike in investment sales from Chinese property buyers due to the large-scale influx of tourism and the domino effect is a no brainer.

Recent developments in airlift that has seen Bangkok Airways initiate flights between the island and Chengdu has propped up numbers. Two other high profile routes coming up are  Koh Samui – Guangzhou and also another direct service to Chongqing. Point to point flights are expected to counter the competition from low-cost carriers who fly into Bangkok in increasing numbers.

Over the past few years Mainland Chinese has been on the upswing on Koh Samui’s tourism scene with many flying into nearby Surat Thani on LCC’s and then coming to the island by ferry. Bangkok Airways has moved solidly into the Greater China market with increasing flights from Hong  Kong and the latest shift to the Mainland is clearly a sign of the times.

There continues to be non-scheduled charter flights that are mounting in volume both to Koh Samui and also nearby Surat Thani and this trend is expected to grow given it’s prominence in Thailand’s most popular tourism destination Phuket.

Looking at the Koh Samui property market there remains a large inventory of villas which continue to be serviced by the sprouting  tourism set.  Speaking to rental groups  one recent revelation has been the entry of Chinese agents booking villa properties for groups and multi-generational families. This is even extending into the estates or complexes where multiple villas are rented to groups. It’s a step towards Airbnb Chinese-style.

While looking at the broader market, there are transactions in villas mainly with premium design or locations such as oceanfront units but a mounting trend is at the lower end of the price points for condominiums and apartments. Sizing is shrinking to meet a larger appetite for entry level products.

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Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements at key events and spends substantial time with his feet on the ground on research projects and gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

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