With the rapid development on Phuket and good amenities and facilities in place, it’s no wonder that many overseas investors have been jumping at the opportunity to own homes in Phuket. It’s easy to find homes in Phuket by simply checking out estate agents’ websites.
Even if you don’t see something online, most agents will make every effort to find you something suitable and all speak English. Elsewhere in this section is a list of Phuket estate agents with listings of houses for sale on the island.
Perhaps the best thing to do is spend time on the island first and figure out which area you find most appealing before looking for houses for sale. Will you spend time in the home or is it strictly for rental? Homes in tourist areas are rented out more easily and at a higher price. However, Patong and Kata, especially, can be loud and cost more than residential areas like Phuket Town and Chalong.
If you want to live in the property and have children, you may want to consider the location of bilingual and international schools. Many people purchase homes near the British Curriculum International School (formerly Dulwich Academy) or the new Phuket International Academy.
Another consideration is the distance to the airport. Many Phuket expats are part-time residents who work in Hong Kong, Singapore and other parts of Asia during the week and fly home at weekends. Time is precious to them and they don’t relish the idea of an hour-long drive home from the airport to Chalong. These are also the more affluent buyers on the island and they tend to purchase Phuket homes in the Cherng Talay, Surin Beach and Laguna areas.
In Phuket, you’ll also find houses advertised in local English-language newspapers, such as the Phuket Post or Phuket Gazette. If you prefer marina living or are interested in a particular housing area, you should venture down and keep an eye out for ‘For Sale’ signs.
Boat Lagoon sometimes has houses for sale, but they go quickly, and The Royal Phuket Marina is currently building a second phase of high-end homes.
If you don’t see anything you like, you can always ‘buy’ land (see here for the pros and cons) and build a home yourself. Although this can be a cheaper option, it can also cause headaches as good builders can be difficult to find. The cost of materials and labour are definitely higher than you would find building a house in the north of Thailand, and you may also have difficulties communicating what you want to your Thai builder.
Homes in Phuket are certainly desirable and in demand. But land is always going to be the problem. Foreigners cannot own land in Thailand. Some with Thai partners put it in their spouse’s name (and have to sign an affidavit that the money has been gifted to the partner). In the past, many put the ownership of land into a company specifically set up for this purpose, but recent tightening of the laws has made this almost impossible these days.
Foreigners may lease land; however, the longest land lease that may be registered with the authorities is 30 years. Many landowners offer lease contracts that stipulate two additional periods of 30 years each, for a total of 90 years. However, these contracts cannot be registered with the land office and, should ownership of the land change hands, the new owner is not legally bound to honour the rollovers in the contract.
It’s best to consult with a credible lawyer to get more information about the current legalities of buying houses and land in Phuket.