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Reaching the end of an era as Bill Barnett’s Property Watch column comes to an end

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The older I get, the more the concept of time simply seems to accelerate at a fast and furious pace. Does all that caffeine I’m drinking bring me closer to the end of days, or did someone mysteriously pump up the pace?

Over the past seven and a half years I have written this property column, I’ve witnessed the world around me change. Who could have known those three letters “GFC” would be the shot heard around the globe. Phuket’s real-estate fortunes have likewise shifted through cycles marketed by all those “Bs” – booms, busts and, at times, the bizarre. Hopping on Fortuna’s property wheel has never been dull.

Granted, in the last few years my eyes have strayed far and wide in reporting on the island’s property – taking on other destinations, trends – and even the odd piece of storytelling here and there. I’ve learned over the years that writing a column gives you the opportunity to reach out to readers and let them know what makes you tick – and yes – relay those dark, often searching, questions that elude us. At the end of the day, it’s like a naked lunch, displaying the goods for all to see.

But the time has come to pass the column over to new ideas, new blood and different views. I remain of the opinion that Phuket is absolutely the best place in the world to live. In its imperfection is beauty, humanity and a pace of life which is coveted. Yes, the island has changed, as has the country, but at the end of the day, find me a corner of the world that hasn’t.

For Phuket’s hospitality and property trade it’s all too easy to view the bad, the ugly, and forget about the good. Today as you drive from north to south, east to west, there remain real estate options for all buyers, from entry level to the ultra rich. A secondary market and rentals exist in great abundance – and a once infant-terrible has grown into adulthood. With the coming of age – as we all know – comes an entirely new set of problems and rewards.

Property remains a strong component of our island and is increasingly important in attracting new buyers to Phuket, either to come and live, or to invest. Its economic significance is important to the population given the jobs and overflow to the expanded goods and services sector. Putting a roof over people’s heads is an aspiration mankind has had since coming out of the cave, and there has never been a better selection of housing than right now.

Over time, I’ve also seen investments lost and projects going bust. To this day, I receive heartbreaking letters from those who have parted with their hard-earned money and have no hope of clawing it back, even at a few cents on the dollar. Life’s tragedies are no more evident than in the business world, and Phuket is not immune to this.

To close things out, I hope I have given some insight, some much needed humor, intelligent thought and ideas through this column over the many years that my contributions have stacked up. Yes, the journey often has gone sideways and into strange lands of whimsy, but at the end of our trip, I hope you have learned a little bit more about Phuket – and perhaps a little more about me than you really wanted to know.

I remain optimistic about Fortuna’s next turn of the wheel here in Phuket’s real estate market. Thank you for being a part of my world these past years. I will still be appearing in the Gazette from time to time, so you won’t be able to get rid of me that easily. Thanks for reading Property Watch and stay tuned for the next exciting chapter.

Bill Barnett is Managing Director of C9Hotelworks. He can be contacted through: c9hotelworks.com

— Bill Barnett

 

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