Over the past two years the Phuket real estate market has been remarkably resilient, and we have seen a myriad of foreigners attracted to real estate on the island, with both luxury condominiums and villas being in high demand.
While many of these buyers have been looking for a residential home, in this issue we will cover the reasons why Phuket remains so appealing to foreign buyers and renters.
As we experience a hopeful resurgence of the tourist industry, one thing has become apparent: despite tourist numbers being significantly down from 2019, large numbers of foreign nationals continue arriving in Phuket to make a permanent home, or simply to reside for a few months of each year.
Of course we know Phuket does not appeal to all and sundry. We do not have the picturesque glaciers, snowcapped mountains or skiing found in the Alps or the Rockies. We also don’t have the open savannas of Kenya, or deserts of Dubai. And we are lacking in Loch Ness Monsters, Great Walls, and Incan ruins.
Some of these areas don’t have the necessary infrastructure to attract long term residents, but those who visit on holiday also rarely fall sufficiently in love with them to buy property and settle down for the rest of their lives.
Phuket, on the other hand, is a tropical island paradise with the infrastructure and ‘mod cons’ to make a stay of any duration enjoyable. Most people form a life-long love affair with the island from their first visit, and Phuket becomes their default holiday destination. Sometimes the evolution from tourist to resident takes years, but an increasing number of visitors make the decision immediately to leave their current homes behind and make this island their home.
Phuket has had a flourishing tourism industry for decades; foreigners have always been welcomed. It is relatively easy to relocate to Phuket. It attracts professionals and retirees, as well as young couples who wish to raise their children in a marvelous environment. People may only need to visit the island once to find themselves so enchanted with the people and the lifestyle that they want to own or rent their own little slice of paradise.
The year-on-year increase in the number of tourists we have seen over the last 10 to 15 years (excluding the ‘pandemic years’), coupled with its ever-improving amenities and attractions, has only increased the numbers of potential future residents, encompassing dozens of nationalities. Many expatriates working in the region have decided to move to Phuket, rather than return to Europe, North America or Australasia when they retire. We have even seen an influx of Hong Kong residents, both foreign and local, making moves to Phuket.
So what is it that makes Phuket so special?
Most people living on the island would ask the question: What is there not to love? We have fantastic beaches, stunning scenery and endless sunny days. Although it is a tropical island, it does not have the severe weather patterns of other similar destinations. Our rainy season is fairly mild, and we don’t see hurricanes or typhoons. Our brief monsoon period, although undeniably wet, is nowhere near as extreme as those experienced on the Indian subcontinent.
One of the obvious concerns for retirees is the quality of medical care they can expect. But here, too, expatriates are spoilt for choice. The hospitals are excellent and are regularly praised for the modern facilities and the quality of health care provided.
Parents with children are attracted to the island by the availability and quality of education options. Phuket’s international schools are once again thriving with most reporting a new influx of students. The choice of schools on the island could not be better, accommodating all budgets, accepting children of all age groups, and catering to a wide range of foreign curricula.
For boat owners and sailing enthusiasts, Phuket now boasts four major marinas. Yacht Haven in the north offers deeper berths, while slightly further south you have Ao Po Marina, the Boat Lagoon and Royal Phuket Marina (the latter two being closer to Phuket Town). The island also hosts international yacht shows and several international regattas, all drawing boating enthusiasts from around the world.
Golfer’s are also not disappointed. Phuket offers a variety of courses with unique landscapes and beautiful scenery.
As well as those actually on the island - Blue Canyon, Mission Hills, Laguna Golf, Phuket Country Club (the old and new course), Red Mountain and Loch Palm - there are also two courses a short drive away in Phang Nga Province: Aquella and Katathong Golf Resort & Spa.
There is no shortage of shopping venues either. There are a multitude of local markets and shopping villages, but serious shoppers also have some world class malls to visit. Central Shopping Mall is a marvel, with three different buildings linked by walkways across the major Darasamut Intersection in Phuket Town. Central offers excellent supermarkets, high end fashion brands as well as a state-of-the-art English language cinema.
While the infrastructure on the island is already excellent, including a modern airport, an improved road network and even a new modern bus service, improvements on the island seem to be ongoing. This includes new attractions and world class leisure facilities. We now have three water parks, a choice of aquariums, ice skating, petting zoos, bird parks and zip lining. And that is in addition to the traditional excursions – both on the island and out in the water – which have been available for decades.
So you see, it is not difficult to understand why this amazing island appeals to foreigners seeking a home in the sun!
by Thai Residential Phuket Property Guide
This article is from the Thai Residential Phuket Property Guide.To download the 2019/2020 Guide visit ThaiResidential.com