Nattha Kahapana, director of Knight Frank Phuket, predicted “bright prospects in the Year of the Dragon for condo developers,” with an “enormous number of condominiums mushrooming”.
Previously, he said, Knight Frank Thailand research had shown that almost one third of condo supply was on or close to beaches running from Layan to Kamala, followed closely by Kalim Beach and Patong Beach.
Last year, however, there was a major shift with 59 per cent of new supply being built in Kata and Karon, followed by Patong/Kalim and with Layan-to-Kamala dwindling to just 3 per cent.
Mr Nattha said he believes developers have adjusted their strategies in order to take advantage of a new surge in demand.
Previously, he said, most condominium buyers in Phuket were from Britain, Germany and Scandinavia, along with expatriates working in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Recently, however, new markets in the Middle East, Asian and Russia have been growing fast. These markets prefer Patong Beach because of its reputation for throbbing nightlife, as well as its two-kilometre-long beach.
That said, Mr Nattha explained, the majority of supply was in Kata due to the availability of land as well as the more affordable land prices, which allow cheaper condominiums to be built.
Mr Nattha reported that the change in demographics has affected the average length of stay and, directly, the types of condos being built to accommodate these markets, with people typically spending only four or five days per visit to Phuket.
The new markets tend to arrive as couples or with friends, rather than as families, which is the case with the traditional European markets.
This has resulted in developers building smaller condo units, with 70 per cent of condos currently being built consisting of studio apartments, and 18 per cent of one-bedroom condos.
In the past, 60 per cent were two- and three-bedroom units, with one-bedroom units accounting for only 27 per cent.
Mr Nattha cited the recently launched 11-unit Eden Oasis Phase 2 in Karon as an example of the new trend, along with the 190-unit Amari Residence Phuket in Patong.
As for the local market, he said that most of the action is in and around Phuket Town, with developments such as the 135-unit Phumandra springing up.
He noted that “many listed developers” are in the process of negotiating for land in Phuket. These include Sansiri, Pruksa and LPN.