The property market on Koh Samui has gone from strength to strength in recent years; making a strong recovery from the global financial crisis. Investors have once again started to consider the island a sound investment destination and local government is improving the investment environment in order to make the process of buying property on the island more efficient and transparent.
Whereas hotels and resorts were once the most sought after asset classes, private villas are now becoming popular for savvy investors wanting to tap into the changing travel patterns of discerned travellers.
During the 1990s Koh Samui experienced a boom in tourist arrivals and the island started developing at a fast pace. New hotels and resorts were being built around Chaweng, Lamai and Bophut beaches on the west and north of the island with the south and westerns parts remaining relatively unspoilt. Rapid development continued up through the first half of the 2000s with both commercial and hospitality real estate booming and locals and travellers alike started voicing concerns that maybe the island had reached saturation point.
The global financial crisis hit the property market on Koh Samui just when officials had started to appreciate the importance of sustainable development. The decrease in investment funds meant that the island got a much needed break from the fast paced development that had taken place for more than a decade. The crisis also meant that many of the developers and investors who had previously relied on fast returns were forced to take a long term view and prices deflated to healthier levels.
Today, Koh Samui's real estate market is better regulated than during the 1990s and early 2000s and the result is a stronger, more stable real estate market. Gone are the days where an investor could flip his or her property and make double digit returns within half a year, but the island still offers great investment potential due to its ever expanding tourism industry and more sustainable approach to growth.
Better infrastructure such as roads, international schools, hospitals and connectivity to large cities in Asia also make Koh Samui a popular retirement destination or a place where young families or professionals can live for longer periods of time.