With development swiftly increasing, Samui offers some excellent investment opportunities in property. While not yet as expensive as Pattaya or Phuket, prices are, however, rising. The island offers a desirable, tropical lifestyle with a number of exceptional villas developed by local and international companies, attracting the attention of retirees, wealthy part-time foreign residents and Asian-based expats. Before rushing in, it is worth doing your homework, since there are some unscrupulous operators and cowboy developers. This section will get you started.
Buying property on Samui is a good investment prospect, with some attractive real estate and amazing locales. Professional property developers have started investing considerable amounts of capital using sophisticated strategies to target foreign and certain regional buyers. The market is quite mature, with professional agencies (often managed by foreigners) to guide you through the renting, or buying, process. Various business structures allow you to own your property and a robust industry of buyers, sellers and renters exists. In this section we give a non-partisan introduction to villas, condos, renting and building for an overview of buying property on Samui.
Villas on Koh Samui
Samui’s signature real estate character; find yourself an idyllic tropical sea view or even beachfront villa. There is so much choice, but read this before jumping in to buy…more
Condos on Koh Samui
Although apartment blocks are not common on Samui, there are some choices that offer a safe investment since foreigners can legally own their units outright; here’s the lowdown…more
Investing in property
Considered a good island to put your money into, Samui is somewhat recession-proof as limited supply keeps the market buoyant, and values nascent, but there are risks involved…more
We’ve identified some of the most ethical and reliable agents, and those with a generous portfolio of Samui real estate for your use – start finding your dream property here…more
Brief guide to Samui real estate and property options
Like the rest of Thailand, ownership of land is restricted to Thais; therefore, most property in Samui is offered on a leasehold arrangement, with proxy-ownership of the land through structures that lease for renewable 30-year terms. Condo buildings, on the other hand, can have a maximum 49 per cent foreign ownership. Those buying property in Samui should conduct due diligence and employ a trustworthy lawyer since the rapid growth of the real estate business in Samui has resulted in some unethical and fraudulent practices, especially regarding illegally-issued land title deeds.
In addition to the prime beachfront villas, which some foreigners have been buying for as much as US$3 million (90 million baht), developments along the mountainside are now more frequent. Integral to these newer residences is a feeling of elevated privacy and sweeping, seascape views. Reputable agents continue to provide professional contracts for the few remaining standalone villas, opportunities for rental income included.
Chaweng and Lamai (on the east coast) are the most popular and desirable areas to be based on Samui, with much of the property already developed for commercial interests. However, better value and privacy is found along the north coast, while, increasingly, new developments are snapping up the available beachfront land on the more remote southwest side of the island.
At the less expensive end of the property market, smaller, bungalow-style residences remain popular. One-bedroom, and occasionally two-bedroom, properties can be acquired for as little as 2 million baht (US$66,000), residing in gated compounds complete with swimming pool.
Even if you’re on a budget and plan to live for a limited period on Samui, it’s easy enough to rent a modest house in the Thai neighbourhoods for less than 10,000 baht (US$330). The environment is pleasant, tropical, full of character, and never far from the beach. Obviously the closer you get to the tourist areas, the better the views (or nearer the beach), and the more expensive it becomes.