Koh Samui Property Market


Now a world-renowned luxury dream holiday destination, Koh Samui attracts visitors from all over the world. The island was once the ultimate backpacker's haven but following improved air links, the emergence of branded 5-start hotels, leisure facilities and amenities, the number of affluent visitors to Koh Samui has increased steadily over the last decade and the island has developed into a full-blown resort destination to rival Phuket. Luxury hotel groups now on the island include The Four Seasons, Six Senses, Conrad Hotels, Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels, and Hyatt Regency. Koh Samui also features hundreds of deluxe independent hotels and spa resorts, countless first-class restaurants, shopping centres, cinemas, and a championship 18-hole sea view golf course.

Granted municipality status in 2012, Koh Samui became self-governing with infrastructure, facilities and amenities improving significantly. The island now offers a reasonable choice of international schools and hospitals naturally becoming a more appealing destination for property investors seeking a holiday home or even a permanent residence. 

Offering modern luxury living in a romantic island setting, despite extensive property development, Koh Samui still retains an exotic tropical island feel with its fantastic white powder sand beaches and jungle backdrops. Local building regulations exist in Koh Samui which have had a positive effect on constraining over development, thus to some degree protecting the environment. For example, with land located up to 50 metres from the beach, you can only construct a single storey building with a maximum height of 6 metres and each building cannot exceed an area of 75 square metres.

Regarding the different areas on the island for real estate investment, the north-east region has historically been the most popular, followed by Lamai, Maenam, Bang Por and Lipa Noi…Read More

In terms of property types, the focus of residential real estate investment for Samui is primarily on pool villas, investors seeking to take advantage of the tropical island lifestyle via outdoor living space. There is a limited supply condominiums on the island, partly due to local zoning restrictions governing where condominiums and apartments can be constructed. Following the gentrification of the island, Samui property prices have of course increased accordingly with average villa prices, excluding the super luxury segment, now similar to Phuket and properties at the top end of the market listed for as much as 8M USD and more.

Post COVID Recovery

A very significant proportion of Thailand’s GDP is accounted for by tourism (12% pre-pandemic) which is also a key driver of the country’s real estate market. On the back of the reopening of Chinese borders in March this year, tourist numbers have continued to rise dramatically from 11.5M in 2022, and projections for 2023 indicate visitors will reach 30 million (source BANGKOK, Feb 7 (Reuters), approximately 75% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The principal factor being foreign investment enabled by tourism, the Thai property markets’ recovery since COVID has been particularly strong in resort destinations such as Koh Samui and Phuket. 200,000 tourists visited Samui during January this year and a majority of the mid to luxury end holiday rental villas were booked back-to-back over the last high season (between December 22 and January 23). A key indicator for the now buyout property sales market for the island, as of 19th April 2023, the year-on-year change for the global search volume in Google for the key phrase “koh samui property for sale” was + 19% (source Google Ads API April 2023).

Other key influences fuelling the continued recovery of the Koh Samui property market include the notable increase in Russian investors looking to move their money into safe havens due to the nervousness about their economy fuelled by war anxiety and the Thai governments’ luring of foreign investors via new longer-term visa programmes (Read More) for high net worth visitors and professionals deemed to be able add value to Thailand.