The property market on Koh Samui is still in its infancy compared to other more mature destinations in Thailand such as Phuket, Pattaya and Bangkok. Due to an economy largely supported by the tourism industry, the real estate market has largely been focused on the hospitality industry with hotels and resorts making up the majority of local and foreign investment. Yet Koh Samui continues to renew itself year on year, and one segment that is seeing growth is the private villa market, driven by a maturing of the tourism industry and a demand for bespoke travel experiences,
While the island saw a modest downturn in construction between 2008 and 2012 due to the global financial crisis, the real estate market picked up again in 2013 which saw the highest level of new supply of private villas. According to reports, as many as 134 new villa units were added in 2013, compared to just 16 new units in 2012. While hotel-branded villas used to make up a large proportion of the total supply, this segment has given way to privately owned projects that are not attached to large hotel brands.
Most of the villas on Koh Samui are located on the east and north sides of the island around Cheong Mon, Chaweng and Bophut beaches, although the west and south west coasts are also becoming popular locations due to their relative exclusivity. The west coast is more easily accessible from the international airport and the beaches there remain some of the most popular areas for tourists due to the varied shopping, dining and nightlife options.
For investors looking to enter the villa segment on Koh Samui now is the time to buy. Many observers predict both land and property prices to increase as the island fully recovers from the global financial crisis with investors from up-coming regional markets also starting to invest on the island. Americans and Europeans no longer represent the largest buyer groups, instead buyers come from countries such as China, India, Russia and the Middle East are increasingly staking a claim in paradise.