Connect with us


Property Watch: Waking up the ever-looming giant

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Technically there is no specific way to jump-start a snoozing behemoth. Sure, a stun gun might do the trick or a slap on the face, but look at poor little Jack who had to scamper down that beanstalk.

In Thailand’s current property market there continues to be a strategic emphasis on fishing where the fish are. Look no further than the recent Sansiri joint venture with BTS for twenty-five condominium projects in Greater Bangkok valued at over 100 billion baht.

Turn back the island pages a few years and small condo units dominated the real estate scene here as well.

One market that suffered perhaps the most when the Russian ruble crashed was Pattaya. Both the tourism and property sectors had seen heavy investment by Eastern Europeans and the fallout from massive drops in the currency and arrivals has created a huge void in business activity.

Recently making news has been the redevelopment and expansion of U-Tapao airport, which is shifting focus from the public to the private sector and is essentially becoming a third Bangkok hub. AirAsia’s launch of direct flights from Kuala Lumpur and then Thai AirAsia’s plans of positioning aircraft there and adding in regional flights is a massive plus for Pattaya.

Mainland China and short-haul routes are the growth engines of tourism these days. While Phuket continues to voice its angst about not wanting more Chinese travellers, rest assured the eastern seaboard will gladly accept them.

I recently did work in Hua Hin, and viewing the legacy location versus broader Pattaya, I can’t help but realize that the transport infrastructure to the former remains a strong fundamental. Yes, it can be argued that the long running plan for the North/South railway will improve access, but the reality is that this is at least five years away.

Although Hua Hin’s tourism is highly leveraged in the domestic market, with over 70 per cent of hotel stays coming from the Thai market, Pattaya remains more diverse. That said, a key catalyst of growth for the latter was the development of Central Festival which unlocked the local property trade.

The timing of the collapse of the Russian market could not have been worse as it coincided with the completion, or at least latter development phases, of a number of sizable condominium projects. Suddenly, there has been a shift away from off-plan sales to offerings in the secondary sector with buyers even willing to write down prices in order to spur transactions.

It’s a strange dynamic, unlike any other real estate market, and one has to wonder where it will end. From my viewpoint the location and impressive additions to airlift and transport are lurking as strong positives. Yet while Pattaya hotels are increasingly moving toward the mainland China grail, the question is: will the property market heavens suddenly open with Chinese buyers?

Phuket’s tourism industry needs to understand that despite the angst over low-rated business, the reality at the end of the day is putting heads on beds. Airlift is a prime instigator of long-term success and U-Tapao’s growth plans are something that needs to be understood in the context of the competitive playing field.

The stock of vacant residential units in Pattaya is pretty high and in the age of Airbnb, non-traditional accommodation continues to haunt Thailand’s hotels. It’s a certain evolution that there is now a giant looming over the hospitality sector as condo-hotels and unlicensed operations continued to erode what used to be a warm marketplace. As for that giant, I still have no idea how long he is set to live in dreamland.

Bill Barnett is Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks (, the Phuket-based hotel and property consulting firm. His blog ( is the source for all hotel and real estate news within greater Phuket.

— Bill Barnett


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Northern Thailand3 hours ago

Meteor causes explosion, green glow above Northern Thailand

Hua Hin5 hours ago

Elephant that broke into Hua Hin kitchen now in memes and ads

Tourism6 hours ago

Phuket governer reviews rules, new details for July 1 arrivals

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Shipment of 2 million Sinovac vaccines arrive from China

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Autopsy requested for young policeman with vaccine

Thailand10 hours ago

Despite corruption allegations, street lamp project continues in Samut Prakan

Thailand10 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Sandbox is GO, vaccine cocktails, US warning on Thai travel | June 23

Best of11 hours ago

Top 5 Provinces to visit near Bangkok

Tourism11 hours ago

CCSA gives details on “Phuket Sandbox” and “Samui Plus” travel schemes

Best of11 hours ago

Top 5 Cities to visit in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

Gap between AstraZeneca vaccines cut from 16 to 12 to 8 weeks

Best of11 hours ago

Top 5 Steakhouses in Bangkok

Best of12 hours ago

Top 5 Pubs in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)13 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: Daily death count hits record high; provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

US is “unable” to provide Covid-19 vaccines to Americans who live overseas

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8