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Minor Group's 5-billion Baht Phuket Investment

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Posted: 07 Apr 2014 | 12:58 pm

Investment confidence on the resort island of Phuket has continued to ramp up in 2014 despite the Bangkok political crisis.

The launch of fifteen ultra luxury villas on the prime west coast by the Thai-listed group Minor International PLC is at the forefront of the upscale movement.

Tagged as The Residences by Anantara Layan, the villas range from four to eight bedrooms with commanding ocean views over Bang Tao Bay. Acclaimed designer Jaya Ibrahim, who has won global recognition with headline projects branded to Aman, Park Hyatt, Setai, Capella and Chedi, is bringing his cultured touch to the development.

Size certainly is the new lead indicator, with built up villa areas ranging from 1500-2000 square meters. The average pricing point for the individual villas is in the range of 300-million baht. As a sign of market confidence, Minor have elected to fully construct all of the units, with work presently underway and project completion expected by mid 2015.

Minor's Bill Heinecke has been a lead proponent of luxury hotel-branded residences, with highly successful offerings at the St Regis Bangkok and Four Seasons Koh Samui.

In 2012 the group purchased the Bundarika Resort at the northern end of Bang Tao, along with an adjunct vacant land parcel. The existing hotel has received a major upgrade and was recently relaunched under the Anantara flag. Consequently The Residences have been integrated into the development.

Over the past two and a half decades Phuket has seen a series of world class luxury hotels and branded villas create a broad brush stroke of demonstrated multimillion dollar real estate transactions.

This started in the late 1980's and into the 1990's with Amanpuri, Laem Son and Banyan Tree. While in the new millennium a new series of estates such as Trisara, Sri Panwa, Andara, Malaiwana, Cape Yamu and Ayara Kamala and Surin upped the high stakes game of mega-homes.

During the global financial crisis, which had a profound effect on the broad overseas-dominated, resort-grade real estate sector on the island, there remained a steady stream of both stand alone villa sales and estate resales.

Since that time new developments at the upper end have continued to edge forward, though key limitations of prime land plots and significant financial capacity have remained barriers to entry.

Allan Zeman maintained his golden touch with the Andara Signature, which has nearly sold out, and the fourth and final phase of Amanpuri villas were snapped up on the private market.

One clear sign that Phuket has firmly established itself as the leading luxury market in Asia is both a long sustained history of transactions, which well surpass those in Bali or any other regional destination, and the new projects coming up in the next few years. What remains a solid business dynamic is that direct foreign investment, which has declined in Bangkok, has strengthened here.

New developments to look for include the Rosewood on the Patong headland, Point Yamu by Como, Park Hyatt on Koh Sirey, Layan's Avadina Hills and Mont Azure Kamala.

Institutional investment in the sector from Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan reflects confidence in the sustained prospects for upscale property. What's also important is that international brand affiliations are expected to induce new demand in Phuket at the high-end.

Looking forward at this year's prospects, it's expected that the sector will continue to perform at increased levels of trading given the new inventory of quality products set to come on stream.

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