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How Thai mega-villa buyers have reignited Phuket’s luxury real estate market in the downturn




Phuket’s newest luxury development is the Residence at Tri Vananda Integrative Wellness Community with 77 villas in Phase 1 newly launched.

The following story was submitted by Bill Barnett, founder and managing director of C9 Hotelworks.

Phuket’s sizable mega-villa property sector has experienced an unexpected surge in multi-million-dollar sales over the past year as Thai buyers sought refuge in the global Covid-19 crisis. Over 5 billion baht (approximately $167 million USD) in primary and secondary high-end properties transacted at the height of the pandemic.

According to new market research from Thailand consulting group C9 Hotelworks, transactions in 2020 in top tier real estate hit its highest level in five years despite flat trading levels in the broader marketplace. Expansive tropical island mansions with four, six or more bedrooms have struck a chord with wealthy Thai’s who have been unable to travel overseas and are fatigued by mounting air pollution issues in the nation’s capital.

Speaking about the transaction charged revival in the island’s mega-villa sector C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett said “country living and estate villas in the age of pandemic are a strong reaction driven by both internal and external factors. Thailand’s wealthy have been effectively stranded in the country for nearly a year and the impact has seen them revisiting and falling in love with Phuket. Resort real estate remains an emotional proposition and this is a contributing factor in reigniting luxury property sales”.

Aside from the Thai segment, there is more to the Phuket real estate backstory. There’s off plan and completed properties in the primary market, whereas secondary or resales has seen some deep discounting of large villas to overseas buyers. C9’s research has identified one source of these to be the global luxury marketplace Concierge Auctions. One of the key factors that the group has been able to effectively harness is creating competitive tension by means of an auction and inducing demand through the perception of value creation.

Taking a sharper look at locations recording mega-villa trades, C9 data reflects that Millionaires Mile in Kamala, Layan and Nai Thon Beach, all on the West Coast of the island are favorites. While on the East Coast, Cape Yamu continues to perform strongly with the new Headland project. Phuket’s luxury footprint is now also firmly expanding over the Sarasin Bridge into a Greater Phuket catchment with the Aquella integrated golf course community underway.

Noting how proximity of projects is key to success and that there is often only one degree of separation between buyers in mega-villa estates, Bill Barnett points out “one of the most successful twining of projects last year has been the ultra-luxury Layan Residences by Anantara and Avadina Hills by Anantara. The synergy of having a hospitality overlay and hotel-style management to the developments has helped enormously.

While forecasting how 2021 and beyond will see the Phuket luxury property market fare, Bill Barnett voices optimism for primary residences saying “we are seeing considerable interest from Bangkok high-net worth individuals and key regional capitals like Hong Kong and Singapore who are drawn to the island by clean air and space, quality international schools, and strong support infrastructure.

“We are on the cusp of seeing a series of new inland integrated communities such as Tri Vananda in Thalang come on stream and this is expected to shift a larger slice of demand towards luxury single family homes. Covid-19 has refocused an entire generation on the value of work-life balance and proven work from home is a viable ongoing alternative.”


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  1. Avatar

    J West

    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    This is not unique to Thailand. Low rates and urban conditions are gutting downtown cores worldwide for the time being. WFH schemes are all the rage, albeit temporary. Once the pandemic is mitigated office life will restart and the boss won’t let you WFH anymore. Recent buyers will find Phuket too remote and a difficult commute. We’re having the same conversation worldwide. The Recency Effect , unsustainable interest rates and FOMO will bite many buyers in the *ss. My prediction, prices will likely plummet as quickly as buyers dry up.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 3:07 pm

      These estate agent really make me laugh at the language they use.
      “inducing demand through the perception of value creation.”
      “The synergy of having a hospitality overlay and hotel style management . . .”
      They can talk it up al they want, but I think these are distressed sales.
      The owners are unloading at a loss to pay off their debts.
      Bankrupt sales always go through auctions.
      The western buyers have stopped buying due to the unreasonable conditions the government have imposed. Hence Thais are buying at a much lower price.

      • Avatar


        Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 5:21 pm

        How about this Advert.

        The synergy of having a hospitality overlay and hotel style management, bullet proof glasses drives away erratic meth indulged Btrits. A safe heaven is born.

        • Avatar

          Toby Andrews

          Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 10:56 pm

          Yes that is a point, and might encourage buyers.

      • Avatar


        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 8:03 am

        How about this advert? The synergy of having a hospitality overlay and hotel style management, A respite from the pontificating buffoons found on social media.

        • Avatar

          Toby Andrews

          Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 12:07 am

          Even pontificating buffoons have the right of free speech . . .

    • Avatar


      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 1:52 am

      If my boss don’t let me work from home I just change to a better paying job that lets’s me. For those in in-demand professions it should not be a problem. Finding a new boss is easier than finding highly competent people in the tech industry.

    • Avatar

      Mel Burn

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:03 am

      People with this kind of money do not care. We’ve seen this in 2008 crash – multi-million dollar properties in most expensive suburbs never went down in price.

  2. Avatar

    Andy W

    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    There’s no doubt that a few Thai families have unimaginable wealth and there are also a large number of wealthy Chinese looking to move money away from China, and high end property purchasing in a dead market is a wise course of action for them. However that is such a small sub-set of the property market that it has little relevance to the overall property market future.

  3. Avatar


    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    Yes, I mean there’s only 75m millionaires in China after all.

    • Avatar

      Leo Z

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 4:03 am

      Except it’s NOT 75m millionaires, not even close, it’s 4m millionaires.

      Still a lot, but China is hardly a country of well-to-do people. In fact, only 9 million people make over $1,500 a month after taxes. Kid you not.

    • Avatar

      Andy W

      Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 1:15 pm

      Because of the unstable financial outlook for many Chinese companies (not all of them!) And despite the CCP propaganda machine saying otherwise, many wealthy Chinese are tightening their financial belts until their future finances are clear.
      Obviously there are many in the ‘Multi-millionaire’ group that are unaffected but far less than pre-virus.

  4. Avatar


    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    These rich people can live on their small islands of luxury but once they leave that area they are facing the same bad traffic, noise, pollution, environmental destruction and now a mostly destitute population, etc etc as all of us. In any case this hiso market is very small, Bill Barnett as usual makes things sound bigger than they really are. He loves this hiso environment.

  5. Avatar


    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    I beg to differ with Bill. Several high end villas are for sale at the west coast at highly discounted prices. Many hnw foreigners have actually failed to honor their punctual payments after having submitted their initial down payment. All the Bangkok hiso’s have had exclusive property in Phuket for decades.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 4:38 pm

      How can you disagree, after all he’s quoted an expert source more than half a dozen times?

      Oh 😮

      He’s the expert source … and he was quoting himself …

      Oh 😮

      • Avatar


        Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 10:15 pm

        Expert of what? With false claims like this, it’s similar to selling snake oil. You Johnny boy; your deranged and obnoxious comments with no relevance – that’s your expertise. Bugger of Johnny boy. You have no clue as to what is going on in Phuket or anywhere else for that matter. As many have already correctly pointed out; you are a chav, now go fetch your WKD blue and stfu, thank you.

      • Avatar

        James R

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 1:05 am

        Issan John, it seems Kim did not realise you were being sarcastic at what the expert was quoting about himself.?

        • Avatar


          Monday, February 8, 2021 at 3:42 pm

          Issan’s comments are usually so weird that its getting hard to see when they are supposed to be sarcastic !

          • Avatar

            Toby Andrews

            Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 12:11 am

            Yes Isaan John is a master of posting incomprehensible posts.
            I try to advise him but my kind suggestions are cruelly ignored.
            Alas . . .

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 12:49 am

          Yes … I thought it was pretty obvious, James R, and the emojis were a bit of a give-away, but oh well ;(

  6. Avatar


    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    It happens all over the world when thier is depresion and property falls in price thier is always people with money ready to buy and sit on it until the markets rise again and they will they always do as demand outstrips supply once economys become strong again its life the rich always take advantage of the disadvantaged

    • Avatar

      Mel Burn

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:06 am

      It’s not about investing. Ultra rich people – UHNW – just move wherever they want at the moment.

  7. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Property agents the world over are the same.
    This reminds me of that scene in the titanic movie of the band playing on.

  8. Avatar


    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    I didn’t realize that Bill Barnett was running the comedy section now.

    Having so famously predicted the end of Covid by June 2020.

  9. Avatar

    Investor Ken

    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    very verbose language; I prefer the straight, down to earth talk of Tim.

  10. Avatar


    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Next time Mr wannabe hiso Bill Barnett interviews a real hiso he might be better of wearing some nice clothes and not some tight t shirt 2 sizes too small.

  11. Avatar

    Sir Burr

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 10:43 am

    “One of the key factors that the group has been able to effectively harness is creating competitive tension by means of an auction and inducing demand through the perception of value creation”.

    Or, in plain English, they have put the prices down.

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