Buying property on Koh Samui makes for a good investment as the property values over the last 10 years has shown growth in the market. Many have looked at Samui as a better choice than Phuket as the island is close to Bangkok and does not come with so much tourist traffic during the high season.
Compared to Spain as a retirement destination Thailand still has better value for money, with good infrastructure, modern medical facilities and close of all the countries in Asia as a fraction of the flying cost than Europe. The property market in Samui has changed over the last 5 years as more people invest in property before retirement and offer their condo units and villas as rental units. We are seeing more long term property leases registered in Samui and this is across the market from the high-end villas to the bottom end bungalows. Sale of properties is not as high any longer as many who bought in early have seen a good return on their investment. Compared to Bangkok or Pattaya the market in Samui is also seeing more people wanting full management of their property and service agreements.
Prices in Samui still depend on a range of factors such as size and location. The only property now in the for sale market are those in the 2 million and 8 million Baht category. Condos are yet to make a significant impact on the island although recent projects are certainly beginning to include them. Notable condominium developments include Casavela, Peregrina bay and Kirikayan, all of which offer luxury high-end facilities on site. In Thailand, a foreigner can personally own a building, but not the land it sits on. Therefore an apartment within a condominium provides an obvious solution to the foreign ownership issue.
Those foreigners who have a Thai wife can buy land and this still holds the best value on Koh Samui and therefore offers the maximum returns. You should note that the government requires that you give up any rights to the land which is bought in the name of your wife. The small inland plots at present are still considered by many as being affordable and with some local knowledge, the materials and also the labor is cheap. Note that very few would recommend this line of action as it is best when you do this yourself. You need to obtain a building permit and all other government permits before you can build. If you are considering this then think carefully.