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Property Watch: The island that never gives up



PHUKET: Phuket is an island in which the motto “Never Give Up”, rings true. At one time, t-shirts and souvenirs could be seen listing the issues that businesses in Phuket had faced year after year, and yet through the human trait of perseverance and resilience, Phuket and its people carried on.

So far as property investment is concerned, the same rings true.

Property agents face a market where their role is made ultra difficult due to unprofessional agents who, using a website, a mobile phone and a car, guess their way around the island. They talk about ‘new upcoming areas’ and pray that their unknowing customers won’t notice the adjacent bare land where the latest karaoke bar and labor camp are just about to be erected a stone’s throw from their dream home.

Fortunately, the better agents don’t give up. They rise to the top, learn their facts and figures, analyze yields, ensure that they know about alternatives in other tourist provinces, and take the time to learn about the method of prospective investment in property. Some of these uber-professionals also know the history of an estate, including when the land was first developed.

They invest into the market by spending a large proportion of their time showing ‘maybes’ around a beautiful and developing island, then wake up and see the next article declaring ‘all property investments are void’ or some such nonsense, and still manage to put food on the table.

Property developers could be said to be gluttons for punishment. They have developed property with hope when the only shopping mall was Robinson in Phuket Town and the only supermarkets were Big C and Tesco Lotus in their former states. They have developed the ‘East Coast’ which used to be considered ‘undevelopable’, and built marinas to pioneer the national development of the yacht and sailing industries.

Developers have used their vision to create Millionaire’s rows as well as integrated hotel, residential and food and beverage hubs which even have wedding chapels to complete a key part of the life cycles of their clientele. While this has been going on, roads have been potholed; floods through poor drainage have washed through foundations; and countless numbers of cement trucks have flipped over, sometimes crushing others. And yet they keep going with their brick-and-mortar spirits seemingly intact.

The big players have also moved into Phuket, indicating the faith of the smaller players has been well placed. Megamalls, aquariums, waterparks, entertainment centers and the much-discussed new light rail system – all await. The big developers have waded in and built thousands of units next to the international schools, betting – in the legal metaphorical sense – heavily on the future.

If Phuket could be a movie, it would be the ‘Rocky Balboa’ Series. I humbly congratulate all those who have persevered and work hard to make this island a better place to live. This is where my son was born and I wish to be proud of it as I am naturally proud of him. The word ‘Phuket’ should be an inspiring word, a respected word, and a word indicating the strength of its inhabitants.

Desmond Hughes has been an owner and operator of his law firm in Thailand for 14 years, and is a Senior Partner at Hughes Krupica law firm

— Desmond Hughes


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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