The real estate market on Koh Samui has gone from strength to strength in recent years as investors have returned to the island following a few slow years after the Global Financial Crisis. This is particularly evident when looking at growth in the villa segment, which has seen strong uptick as investors leverage strong demand for private holiday villas which offer a high level of exclusivity and privacy for travellers. Even large resorts and hotels have been following suit, offering guests a private villa experience while at the same time providing the common facilities such as food and beverage outlets, pools and gyms.
While land prices on Koh Samui have increased steeply in recent years, there are still plenty of beautiful plots left and they can often be bought for a fraction of the price in similarly popular holiday destinations such as the French Riviera and the Caribbean. Prices are also still below those on Thailand's other big island destination, Phuket. In addition, construction costs are also relatively low so the overall cost of building a villa remain very reasonable and investors can rely on steady rental income from the many tourists that visit the island every year.
Although the most popular areas to build private villas are still on the east and north sides of the island, many have started to see the potential of Koh Samui's less known areas such as Taling Ngam and Lipa Noi on the west coast and Laem Set on the south side. These areas are less developed than Chaweng and Lamai, for example, and offer a great opportunity to experience another side of Koh Samui. Renting a car or hiring a taxi is easy, and within half an hour's drive Chaweng's many restaurants, shopping outlets and entertainment centres await.
Villas come in many shapes and forms and while many are built with the purpose to rent, designs vary greatly. If the villas are part of a larger development, the developer will commonly set some guidelines to the overall exterior design, such as roofs and the materials used, and the same goes for hotel or resort villas. However, if the villa is an independent development, the owner can choose whichever design he or she wants, resulting in a smattering of unique residences on the island that reflect their respective owners. Some are built in a minimalistic style with clean lines and the use of plain colours and materials, while others are a lot more elaborate with intricate designs and wood carvings.