Although there is a choice of different types of property for sale in Thailand, such as villas, townhouses and bungalows, when it comes to Phuket property, most foreign buyers opt for freehold condominiums. And there are very good reasons for this.
Of course, condos sometimes have to struggle with the image of being cramped, four-walled boxes. But this is not always the case on Phuket, as the island offers an array of units, and many of these dispel that misconception.
There are many luxury condominiums in Phuket which are so open and spacious it would be easy to confuse them with a villa. These generally also have private swimming pools, and even a small flower bed or garden.
The stereotypical “condo tower blocks” are there as well, but you can also find well distributed low-rise condo buildings, as well as many duplexes.
In short, there is a condo in Phuket to appeal to almost every personal taste, and it is not hard to see why so many people choose condos over bungalows or villas.
Here are some of the reasons why foreigners invest in Phuket condos:
Full Foreign Freehold Ownership
In Thailand, foreigners may not own landed property, e.g. villas or houses. Condominiums, however, can be bought in a foreigner’s own name – full ownership, with the foreigner’s name on the title deed.
An Affordable Home in Prime Residential Areas
Houses and villas in high demand areas may be unaffordable for many buyers. A condominium unit with West Coast sea views, however, might just be within their price range.
Any large building can obviously be quite expensive to maintain. But when a hundred or more owners are all “pitching in” for the cost of upkeep, it becomes very affordable indeed.
Each condo owner must pay a CAM (Common Area Maintenance) Fee, which covers the day-to-day running costs of the resort. This is typically paid monthly, and goes toward salaries for staff, as well as cleaning and general maintenance.
There is also an emergency reserve fund, known as a “Sinking Fund”, which finances any potential extraordinary expenses in the future. These might include replacing an elevator or retiling the swimming pool.
Over time, these larger repair jobs need to be done, which makes the sinking fund a necessity. In some cases, a sinking fund does run low, so owners must “top up” the fund. However, everyone knows these costs are shared between every owner in that resort.
Each owner enjoys “fractional ownership” of the common area, so when unforeseen expenses arise, the ultimate cost per unit is a fraction of the total expense. This is a massive benefit of condo ownership.
Most resort condominiums have excellent swimming pools. Being in the tropics, you go for a swim before breakfast, or treat yourself to a tanning session anytime you like.
Some of these resorts even offer rooftop swimming pools, including a pool bar and a restaurant. If you are fortunate to be buying condo on the West Coast, you can enjoy your favourite cocktail while the sun sets into the Andaman Sea.
Another great amenity is a gym, and most condos have excellent facilities to help you work out. Whether it’s a quick run on the treadmill, a few miles on the stationary bike, or some weightlifting, a gymnasium attached to your home is a big benefit of condo living.
Less Personal Maintenance
“No More Yardwork” – that was the marketing campaign for the first modern condo project (in Salt Lake City, Utah). The slogan says it all because in a condo owners are not required to do the upkeep of the common area.
Naturally you must still look after the interior of the unit, including fixtures and furnishings, but the Condominium Juristic Person and/or the management company has the responsibility for the rest of the resort itself.
The management maintains all the facilities, including tending to the gardens, sanitation and trash removal, and the general upkeep of the buildings.
This is all covered by the CAM fee you pay each month.
If you travel a lot, or you’re only going to be in a Phuket a few months each year, a condo may be the ideal home for you.
People who only spend the high season on the island, for example, will give their unit a quick clean, unplug everything electric, and lock up pending their return. Some people also arrange for a maid to air the unit out and give it a quick clean once or twice a month.
Condos are perfect as a second home. Because of the security, a condo can remain empty for months on end without worrying about the condition of your unit when you return.
Phuket is already a safe place to live, but the safety, security and peace of mind you get is from living a condo is that much greater than from than owning a villa or house.
To begin with, the majority of condominium developments have a key card entry system at the main entrance, as well as for using the elevators. Many condos have a secure reception area for guests to pass through before accessing the units, and most also have one or two security guards who do rounds at the resort throughout the night.
This level of security is more than you can reasonably expect from other types of property.
Great Investment Returns
Most people buying Phuket condos are doing so as an investment. Despite the Covid pandemic, the outlook for the tourism sector remains bright, and owners will be rewarded with a reliable rental income.
A new condo typically offers buyers guaranteed returns for a pre-determined period of time. This is generally between 6-8% p.a. for up to 10 years.
When a guaranteed return period ends, resorts will typically offer owners access to a “rental pool”. These are resort-managed collectives of owners, who share the rental returns among themselves. (This is obviously for people who own for investment only, not those wish to live in the condo themselves.)
Here are some excellent investment properties in Phuket:
Leave the Hard Work to Someone Else
If you don’t like doing housework, then a condo is perfect for you. The management will take care of all the hallways, the building exterior, and the resort’s common areas.
Whether cleaning or fixing things, there is no need for you to be involved. When repairs are being done, or the walls are being painted, it’s so much nicer to watch someone else do it, rather than being forced to do it yourself.
One of the joys of a condo is that your common area fees take care of these time consuming and mundane tasks.
The extent of your maintenance responsibility is replacing burned out lightbulbs or – as and when needed every few years – putting a lick of paint on the interior walls.
No More Yardwork . . . Or Pool Duty
While you are admiring the well-manicured gardens and pristine swimming pool, be thankful that you are not required to trim hedges or checking the pH and chlorine levels of the water.
Ok, maybe you actually like doing this. But in the tropical heat, those erstwhile enjoyable summer chores can quickly become exhausting.
If you came to Phuket for rest and relaxation, why subject yourself to the extra manual labour? Since it is all being taken care of, you have more time to enjoy the island, or just kick back by the pool.
A Seat At The Table
Condominium owners get the right to vote for any decisions being made regarding the operation of condo. As an owner, you also get a seat at the table for any meetings being held onsite, and voice on any actions taken. You even have the option of joining one of the owner’s committees, giving you more direct participation in running the resort.
Very Competitive Pricing
There is so much to recommend in buying a condo in Phuket, but we would be remiss if we failed to mention the value you get for your money. Condominiums in Phuket are quite simply excellent value for money when compared against other well-known holiday destinations.
If you look solely on a price per square metre basis, it is one of the most affordable holiday locations in the world to buy a property.
Whether you are planning to buy for the rental income, as a holiday home, or as your permanent residence, a condominium in Phuket has obvious benefits.
There is full freehold ownership for foreigners, security and peace of mind for your unit, and excellent amenities either for your use, or to attract a long-term tenant.
Compared with many other holiday destinations in the world, Phuket offers great value for money on a beautiful tropical island. Who can ask for more than that?