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Across the Land: Strong baht, fewer buyers means soft summer market



PHUKET: The Year of the Goat (Sheep/Ram) was heralded February 19 and signaled the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year. After a disastrous Year of the Horse – two major airplane crashes, unrest in Ukraine, ISIS kidnappings and be-headings, social turmoil in Thailand – the Year of the Goat is much welcomed.

For a start, The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has donned full gear promoting 2015 following the military coup with its new national tourism promotion: Discover Thainess. This campaign will emphasize the priceless treasures of Thailand, which give the nation its charm, makes the Thais unique as a people, society and culture, and underpins the Kingdom’s competitive advantage in tourism.

This massive effort by the TAT will no doubt bring it closer to its target of 29 million tourists in 2015.

While all this effort is going on, the Thai baht remains strong against most popular currencies, especially the Euro, Norwegian krone and Russian ruble. Unfortunately this has an effect on both sales and rentals in the island’s property market.

The market has been soft for the past month or two, and with the weather warming up in Europe, this summer may be an even slower one on the island.

In stock market lingo it’s been more of a docile ‘sheep’ market rather than a ‘ram’ market.

For property owners looking to dispose of their property, this is in theory probably the best time to do so as the proceeds of their sale in Thai baht would probably convert to an advantageous currency exchange.
But unfortunately there is more supply than demand in the market, which translates to there not being that many buyers. Even if there were buyers, the abundant ‘choices’ available would make it extremely competitive to achieve a sale.

For motivated owners keen to dispose of their property, especially those whose property has been in the market for more than 12 months, a good idea would be to spruce up the property with a fresh coat of paint or even just a good deep clean.

Alternatively, invest in some new bright throw pillows for the sofa or living area, bed-runners for the beds or colorful paintings to brighten up the walls and hallways. This would give the property a totally new look, and with professional photography the property will show well. In this new age, the first impression of your property is through the photographs on a website.

When a prospective buyer is browsing the internet, he or she will no doubt see many properties, but the property that gives the best impression will probably result in an inquiry followed by a viewing.

Therefore, to invest in a professional photographer’s services may very well be worth any owner’s money and time. The fees for a professional photographer in Phuket average from 10,000 baht and above, depending on the photographer’s skills and the hours involved.

Amy Koh is the sales manager of Engel & Voelkers Phuket. To contact Amy or for more information, visit

— Amy Koh


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