by Wayne Lucas of Exotiq Property, Krabi
Back in the 80s and 90s, Krabi was one of Thailand’s backpacker destinations of choice. Unspoilt, world class beaches and islands with cheap accommodations helped put Krabi firmly into guide books such as Lonely Planet. It was during this period that the popularity and stunning scenery caught the eye of several wealthy investors who could see the financial potential Krabi had to offer them and started buying as much beachfront real estate as they could. This was mainly concentrated in the larger and popular beach areas of Ao Nang and Klong Muang. Post-sale, these buyers decided to either develop themselves or instantly set their resale land prices to a ridiculously high level. This meant that not only would they receive a very healthy return on their investment but also ensure that only serious, higher-level developers bought and developed this land.
In the 2000’s, Krabi was starting to grow-up and various larger and more upmarket hotels together with further restaurants and bars started to appear along Ao Nang beach forcing out the makeshift wooden and bamboo huts. In 2011, Wanna’s Place guest house and restaurant which has been in operation since the beginning of the tourist scene in the 80’s, closed its doors for the last time and remodeled itself into The L Resort, a more upmarket luxury hotel.
In the early 2000’s, the surge of tourism and development signaled the start of construction for Krabi International Airport in 2002. Opened in 2006, this new airport attracted the package holiday crowd further increasing tourism to all the major areas of Krabi. It was during this period that property development really started to take shape in Krabi and land prices were now quickly on the rise. Several foreign investors were also snapping up property in the forms of both land and newly built villas which were incredible value when compared to most other nations.
Fast-forward to 2009 and the brakes were firmly applied to the property market in the form of the global financial recession. This, coupled with growing political unrest in Bangkok at the time, meant foreign buyers were now thin on the ground and developers with large financial commitments were worried. Several high-profile developments in the province were either scaled back or halted completely. Many projects remained idle for several more years and sales of existing property and land has been minimal in this period.
Today there seems to be a large shift in the property market mainly driven once again by the tourism and rental market. New tourism markets from China, Malaysia, Singapore and Russia are all helping to boost Krabi’s profile. The popularity with the Chinese speaking visitors is allegedly all down to a Chinese language movie filmed on location around the province. Together with many other nations now emerging from recession, it is looking like “boom time” for Krabi once again albeit with a slightly different flavor. Today’s rental customer seems to be focused on higher quality and luxurious properties but still at a reasonable price. Investors are also looking to these higher quality properties for both personal use and for strong rental returns and the smart developers are taking notice of this. Some pre-recession developments prematurely invested into this luxury sector and financially suffered. Those that survived the recession are now profiting from the current market situation which is only set to improve. New condominium, villa and marina projects are all in the pipeline and developers are looking set to be quite busy over the next few years. With the introduction of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2015, which is focused on the economic integration of its 10 member countries in the region, this will result in further interest from developed neighboring nations such as Malaysia and Singapore.
The next 5-10 years will be an important time for Krabi as tourism is still relatively young in the province and the potential for investors remains relatively untapped. Land in lesser known beach areas is still available for a very reasonable price when compared to established tourist areas. However, it is also hoped that progress happens in a controlled manner so that any development doesn’t spoil the true beauty of Krabi which is heralded as a family and eco-tourism destination.
Wayne Lucas is Director of Exotiq Property in Krabi.
They are located on the Noppharathara Road leading out of Ao Nang, near to the “King Cobra” show and Supsangdao Resort.
Feel free to drop in or call on
(0)75-661248 or (0)84-848-0146
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