Russians own 40% of foreign-owned condos in Phuket

Thailand’s Real Estate Information Centre (REIC) reported that Russian citizens own nearly 40% of foreign-owned condominiums in Phuket, worth a collective 880 million baht (US$25).

In Phuket, Russians have overtaken the Chinese as the No.1 condo buyer.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 last year, Thailand has become a refuge for Russian citizens, as reported by Al Jazeera. The number of Russians in Thailand, especially in Phuket, has increased. From November last year to January 21 of this year, Phuket International Airport reported 233,000 Russian arrivals.

As the war enters its second year, more and more Russians are purchasing real estate in Thailand. Some wealthy Russians have even applied for the Thailand Elite Card, which allows for long-term stays ranging from five to 20 years. The membership fee for this card ranges from 600,000 baht (about US$17,000) to two million baht (about US$57,000).

According to the REIC, Russian citizens own nearly 40% of the condominiums in Phuket owned by foreigners. Some Russians have invested over US$500,000 (nearly 18 million baht) to purchase seaside villas.

As a result, rental rates for condominiums in the province have increased. Luxury condominiums that used to be available for rent at US$1,000 (about 35,000 baht) per month are now three times more expensive. Some condo rates are hitting US$6,000 (about 211,000 baht) per month.

A real estate agent in Phuket, Sofia Malygaevareal, told Al Jazeera that her Russian clients are typically wealthy 30 to 35 years olds. Some plan to stay in Phuket for three to six months, some plan to stay long-term.

A Russian tour agent said that some Russians purchased one-way tickets to Thailand, with no plans to return to their home country. Many of the men say they are fleeing conscription.

Russian people have not only moved to Phuket but are also opting for other tourist destinations like Bangkok, Koh Samui and Pattaya.

The head of priests from the Russian Orthodox Church in Pattaya, Mikhail Ilyin, shared that Russian people have continually been arriving in Pattaya since October last year. Many are young couples who are concerned about their safety if they remain in their home country.

Aside from the increasing rental rate of real estate in Phuket, the residents there also faced a problem in the job market. Many business owners and residents in Phuket have complained that foreigners, especially Russians, have stolen their job opportunities. Locals report that many Russian citizens are working illegally and operating tour agencies in the province. They have become taxi drivers, tour guides, chauffeurs for Phuket city tours, singers and musicians at bars, and even civil engineers.

Russians own 40% of foreign-owned condos in Phuket | News by Thaiger

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.