Investors in Phuket property are drawn to the rental yields, which can be enhanced when a professional management company is involved. Due to legal restrictions on short-term rentals by private individuals, any rental program which allows owners to capitalise on short-term holiday rentals, while offering capital appreciation for freehold ownership, is doubly attractive.
Condotel and Hotel-Licensed Condominiums
A condotel combines the services of a hotel and a condominium. This hybrid concept permits individual units to be privately purchased, and then rented as though they were hotel accommodation.
Condotels are almost exclusively intended for investment purposes, so this is not necessarily right for you if you’re looking for holiday home. As investments, the track record for rental income is very attractive. Developments will typically offer investors either guaranteed return for the first few years, followed by entry into a “rental pool,” whereby the rental income is “pooled” together and the profits shared by all of the participating owners.
In most developments, a hotel management company will be engaged for the day-to-day running of the resort, and because these companies can typically leverage their international reputation their rental programs are very attractive to investors. And because the developments are hotel licensed, units may be rented out on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis.
And because they are also condominium licensed, they may be sold freehold to foreigners in Thailand. And while they are generally investment properties, the owners may make personal use of their unit for a set number of days per year – sometimes up to one month.
This is an excellent way to capitalise on Thailand’s buoyant real estate sector, while at the same time taking advantage of Phuket’s flourishing tourism industry. And as an owner/investor, you may also enjoy a few weeks of “free Phuket accommodation” every year.
A condominium juristic person (CJP) could theoretically allow (or at the very least, condone) the practice of short-term rentals, but the development requires a hotel license to fully comply with laws governing short-term rentals.
Branded residences are one of the fastest growing sectors of the luxury property market, and while they could be simplistically described as “luxury condotels” they are really much more than that.
Like condotels, branded residences are hybrids of a hotel and condominium, which can be owned freehold by foreigners, but their management by luxury hotel brands makes them appealing to high-net-worth individuals. (As with condotels, however, ownership is almost exclusively for investment purposes.)
The price positioning of Branded Residences is one or two notches above condotels, but for that owners can expect a rental property which will be in high demand as a result of their luxury hotel affiliation. The quality standards that come with the name also mean the units can demand premium prices on rentals.
This is one of the newest sectors on the island, and the concept is already catching on quickly, not in small part due to existing developments being very popular with wealthy Thai investors.
Condotels and branded residences offer foreigners freehold ownership of investment properties in Phuket. The hotel licenses mean a consistent income stream may be earned from short-term rentals, something otherwise denied to most condominium owners. At the same time, the professional management services are being offered by established hotel groups with the international reach needed to ensure the highest levels of occupancy.
BANGKOK: While the Thai law does not allow short-term leasing of residential properties including condominiums, condotels have emerged as an increasingly popular property development format in major tourist destinations such as Pattaya and Phuket as well as Bangkok, reports the Bangkok office of international commercial property consultancy and broker JLL.
The trend has been driven by strong demand from individual investors looking for more flexible rental assets, and property developers looking for new opportunities in an alternative real estate sector, noted a release from JLL issued today (Oct 24).
A condotel is a condominium development with a hotel license allowing for the use of condominiums as hotel accommodation that can be offered for short term lease – daily or weekly – whereas the Thai law does not allow owners of condominiums to rent out their units for less than 30 days without a hotel license.
Chakkrit Chakrabandhu Na Ayudhya, Executive Vice President – Investment Sales at JLL’s Hotels and Hospitality Group, said, “Though condotels are not new to Thailand and can be found across the country especially, in holiday destinations such as Pattaya and Phuket as well as Bangkok, they still represent a small part of the country’s real estate industry.
“However, our research shows that condotels are becoming an increasingly popular development option and are likely to grow in number over the next few years,” he added.
According to JLL’s data, condotels are becoming prominent in Phuket where the stock of supply across the island will surpass the 3,000-unit mark by the end of 2021, accounting for over 30% of total new hotel rooms. Blue Horizon Developments has recently launched a 189-room condotel project, Best Western Plus The Beachfront Rawai, and is currently developing five projects with over 1,500 units set to open over the next three years.
Pattaya is another up-and-coming condotel market, with more than 1,100 new units being planned to enter the market by 2021. Habitat Group is the market’s most active player, operating two developments – X2 Vibe Pattaya Seaphere Residence and X2 Pattaya Oceanphere. The firm is also planning four new projects scheduled to be operational by 2022.
In Bangkok, there remains a limited stock of condotels operated to meet industry standards at present. However, property development firm Siamese Asset has recently put the spotlight on the city’s condotel sector. In addition to its condotel development, Blossom Condo @ Fashion, the firm has launched two more condominium projects in Bangkok, The Siamese Exclusive and The Collection where 50% of the total units will be condotels. Upon completion, the two new projects will be operated by Greenland International Hotels from China.
To obtain a hotel license, a condotel development must meet the minimum requirements in terms of specifications, facilities, operation and management under the Hotel Act 2004. In the majority of the purpose-built condotels, developers generally plan to obtain a hotel license when the construction of the project is completed, JLL explained in its release.
Co-owners in a condotel development do not let their units directly to customers (guests), but the operator who manages the rental pool. This could be the developer or an independent hotel/condotel operator. A few examples of international brands operating condotels in Thailand include Boutique Hotel Management Asia, Best Western and Wyndham.
The majority of condotels are offered to investors on a guaranteed-return programme or a profit-sharing scheme. Guaranteed-return programmes are typically offered over a period of 2-3 years, while some of the condotels in resort markets are on a profit-sharing scheme agreed upon between the unit owners and the operators.
“Short-term leasing has become more popular in Thailand’s major condominium markets. But, without a hotel license, it is an unlawful business,” pointed out Pitinut Pupatwibul, Senior Vice President – Strategic Advisory, JLL’s Hotels and Hospitality Group.
“Condotels are a development option that helps prevent co-owners offering units for short-term leasing from potential litigation. At the same time, the clear structure and purpose of uses of condotels can help prevent resistance from buyers for private use who may be unwilling to welcome short term guests into the building,” she added.
Mr Chakkrit also noted, “For condominium developers, condotel development offers new opportunities in an alternative sector and gives their projects an additional advantage which is much needed in Thailand’s key condominium markets, particularly Bangkok where sales have slowed and the market for long-term lease is highly competitive.”
PHUKET: Resort properties have sprung back to popularity, according to leading international property consultant CBRE. Sales performance of resort properties has risen, deriving from the pent-up demand for projects in the luxury and super-luxury segments, the agency suggests.
“Over the past two to three years, developers have been focusing on launching new housing and condominium supply in downtown Bangkok. CBRE Research reveals that there are around 30,000 units in downtown Bangkok from condominium projects launched between 2016 and 2018,” said a ealease issued on Tuesday explaining CBRE’s position.
One major challenge faced by the housing and condominium markets is that the cost of investment has been increasing along with the hike in land prices, leading to escalating asking prices, it added.
“CBRE found that 70% of buyers in the luxury residential market are Thais who have recently made purchases for own-living and long-term investment purposes rather than for short-term investment. Meanwhile, 40% of purchasers of residential properties priced below B10 million are foreigners,” the release noted.
“As many residential developers concentrate on building projects within Bangkok, the new supply of resort properties in Pattaya, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Khao Yai and Phuket, especially in the high-end segment, has decreased. Therefore, there has been pent-up demand as there are fewer new projects being launched,” it said.
CBRE also found that there is growing demand this year for resort properties in top resort destinations, and buyers in this segment are ready to make purchases for own-use and long-term investment purposes.
“Although prices are higher, if projects are on the beachfront or with ocean views; with five-star hotel management; or with attractive rental guarantees, buyer response and sales performance have been positive for luxury and super-luxury projects launched in 2019,” said Prakaipeth Meechoosarn, Director – Head of Resort Property Sales, CBRE Thailand.
“Some good examples include the Residences at Club Med Krabi and the Residences at Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay, which have an average price per square meter of B185,000 and B230,000, respectively. Both projects saw impressive sales performance at around B300 million during a three-day event in Bangkok. Their updated sales rates are now 85% and 65%, respectively,” she added.
Veyla Natai Residences, which was launched this year and comprises B67mn to B98mn pool villas on Natai Beach, Phang Nga, reached a sales performance of 50% in less than a month, even without show units.
MGallery Residences MontAzure Lakeside and Twinpalms Residences MontAzure, with an average of B150,000 to B180,000 per square meter, have also shown impressive sales revenue reaching B300mn in the first four days of its launch in Bangkok in August 2019, especially for Twinpalms Residences MontAzure which has now reached a sales rate of 80%, noted the release.
“These impressive sales performances prove that demand is still strong for resort properties in prime locations that can generate good returns and have the potential for value appreciation in the future. This is backed by being in sough-after locations and professional property management by leading hotel brands,” CBRE remarked in its release.
Laguna Phuket’s Angsana resort is set to debut it’s new 1,500 square metre conference and exhibition space. It’s actually a renovation and rebranding of the successful Laguna marquee space and relocated to a more permanent location within the Angsana Laguna Phuket complex.
Tagged as ACES, the venue will open at the end of September.
For big events the space accommodates 1,500 patrons, theatre style, or 800 for dining.
The new ACES will be one of the island’s largest event venues.
Phuket’s MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) industry have been calling for better conference and exhibition facilities for two decades with a growing market of businesses and conferences wanting to mount their events around Phuket’s excellent hotel and tourist offerings.
Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on September 16, 2019 by Bill Barnett
Global hotel group Wyndham has announced two more Phuket pipeline hotels. The announcement follows a long list of new developments and openings over the next few years on the island.
First for Wyndham, is a 353 key property named the Wyndham Nai Harn Resort Phuket at the popular southern west-coast beach. It’s scheduled to open late this year.
A second hotel is located in Chalong, with 150 pool villa units and will debut next year. Both properties are developed by the Cissa Group.
The group already has three properties on the island – Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay (between Kalim and Kamala), the Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket, overlooking Patong on the Patong Hill road, and Ramada by Wyndham Phuket Deevana Patong, a rebranding of an older hotel.
Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on September 9, 2019
PHUKET: DoubleTree by Hilton Phuket Banthai Resort opened its doors today (Sept 5), marking the brand’s second hotel in the country after DoubleTree by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok.
“As the DoubleTree brand celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, we are thrilled to welcome DoubleTree by Hilton Phuket Banthai Resort into our fast-growing portfolio of more than 560 hotels across 45 countries,” said Shawn McAteer, senior vice president and global brand head, DoubleTree by Hilton.
“Of the more than 200 DoubleTree hotels in our pipeline, nearly half are located in the Asia-Pacific region, providing an ideal destination for business and leisure travelers in key economic centers and tourist spots across the region,” he added.
Paul Hutton, vice president, operations, South East Asia, Hilton, said, “Thailand is enjoying healthy year-on-year tourism growth and we’re seeing key resort locations receiving increasing interest from both business and leisure travelers. We are delighted to be expanding our presence in Phuket, one of the country’s most visited resort destinations, with the entry of our DoubleTree by Hilton brand which underscores our commitment to this travel market.”
“As we continue to grow our portfolio of brands across Thailand, we look forward to welcoming guests with the outstanding levels of hospitality Hilton is known for.”
Located just back from Patong Beach, the 290 guest rooms and suites range from 35 to 350 square meters. Every guest room features a private balcony or terrace area overlooking the resort gardens and one of the three main swimming pools.
The hotel is also the first Hilton hotel in Phuket to introduce the propriety Digital Key technology.
The resort features three large free-form swimming pools, a 24/7 fitness center and five restaurant and bar options.
The resort also caters to small- and medium-sized meetings, events or celebrations with the renovated Andaman function venue that can accommodate up to 396 guests. Offering a space of 400sqm, an eight-meter ceiling height and a dedicated foyer, it is equipped with the latest audiovisual equipment and can be divided into two venues by an operable wall.
DoubleTree by Hilton is a fast-growing, global portfolio of more than 565 upscale hotels with more than 130,000 rooms across six continents.
Over the past 50 years, DoubleTree by Hilton has maintained its philosophy that it’s the little things that make a big difference, from welcoming guests with its signature, warm DoubleTree Cookie, to serving the local community.
DoubleTree’s parent operator, Hilton, features a portfolio of 17 world-class brands comprising nearly 5,900 properties with more than 939,000 rooms, in 114 countries and territories.
Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company, Hilton earned a spot on the 2018 world’s best workplaces list, and has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its 100-year history.
Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors comprises more than 94 million members.
Most people know that Thai law prohibits landed property ownership by foreigners. This means neither plots of land, nor landed houses or villas may be titled in the name of a foreign national.
But the law has not deterred everyone from the pursuit of their dream house, and the most common way foreigners attempt to get around the law is by setting up a Thai limited company.
As a Thai entity, a company is allowed to own the property, and if done properly it perfectly permissible. Unfortunately, the correct boxes are not always ticked, and the foreigner winds up with a potential legal hot potato.
There are no issues with foreigners setting up a company in Thailand; it is done every day, and the government welcomes in the inflow of capital into the country. A foreigner may even be a director, but their share ownership will be limited to 49%.
For a company, especially one with foreign directors, to purchase a property, there a few criteria which must be observed:
it should be a legitimate business, and actually generate income;
it should file audited accounts, pay taxes and abide by Thai company law;
it must hold board meetings and have minutes of those meetings; and
it must have proper Thai shareholders.
The most important thing to understand is that the company is the legal owner of the house/villa – not the foreigner. They may be a director, and they may live in the villa, but they do not own it (more on this point below).
The approach most foreigners take is to establish a Thai limited company with the sole and express purpose of buying a villa. Using Thai nationals as “straw men” (nominee shareholders), who satisfy the 51% Thai shareholding requirement, but with whom the foreigner has zero future relationship.
Such structures run into trouble for two main reasons, both of which are easy for the authorities to verify. First, Thai law does not recognise holding companies, so establishing a company for the sole purpose of buying landed property is against the law. Second, the use of nominee shareholders is illegal.
Thai shareholders should ideally have some interest in the company’s success (e.g. as investors). If ever investigated, the authorities would have no trouble identifying sham shareholders, and this would place not only the foreign director, but also the Thai nationals in legal trouble.
So, let’s assume you’ve ticked all the boxes – legitimate business, generating revenue, filing accounts, paying taxes, board meetings with minutes, proper Thai shareholders – there is still one more thing to be aware of: let’s return to the foreign director living in the company-owned villa.
This is perfectly acceptable, but please be aware that it is both a “benefit in kind” to you and “revenue in kind” to the company. In other words, the villa is a perquisite, and you should be declaring the market value of the rent as taxable income. Furthermore, the company should be paying taxes on the presumed rental income. (This was covered in greater detail in our April installment titled “Your Shelter In Not a Tax Shelter”.)
Even people trying to do everything correctly often forget this part.
If you have an experienced lawyer in Phuket they can advise you on setting up everything exactly as it should be. Be wary of short cuts. If you do things the right way, you can enjoy a lovely Phuket villa – your own slice of paradise – without the fear of legal repercussions which hangs over those who cut corners.
PHUKET: Thai-Chinese Property Holdings has joined with Aplan Properties to launch the upscale property Radisson Phuket Mai Khao Beach, scheduled to open in 2023.
Thomas Darby, Property Manager of Aplan Properties, announced the signing with Thai-Chinese Property Holdings in the development of Radisson Phuket Mai Khao Beach, in a statement issued yesterday (Aug 27).
The resort will be operated to cater to the upscale market segment. The units will be entered into a mandatory rental program with the sale and marketing of the individual units to be managed by DMRD Asia, while the operations of the property will be managed by the Radisson Hotel Group, said the announcement.
Currently, the project is undergoing an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), and the construction is scheduled to commenced in the first quarter of 2020 and complete within 2023.
The Sales gallery will be open to the public in December this year.
“Radisson Phuket Mai Khao Beach is a project that we are extremely proud of, which will certainly draw attention from both investors and tourists, thanks to its innovative designs and fully-equipped facilities. Our collaboration with the Radisson Hotel Group as the operator will enable us in elevating the level of upscale hospitality in Phuket, while also providing a phenomenal travel experience to international visitors,” said Mr Darby.
Located on over four rai (8,000 square meters) and with a total usable area of 14,000sqm, the project consists of eight low-rise buildings, featuring 222 contemporary rooms and suites (110 units for ownership), offering freehold ownership to foreigners. It is licensed as a Commercial Condominium.
The units will range from Deluxe Sea View Studio (41sqm) and Premiere Pool Access Suite with direct pool access (47sqm) to the Grand Sea View Suite with Private Pool units, which are as large as 132sqm. Every unit will have sea views.
The resort itself will come fully equipped with facilities, activities, and services, including 24/7 dining options, restaurants and bars, fitness, spa, traditional sauna and steam room, rooftop swimming pool and lounge, and state of the art meeting rooms for small and big gatherings.
“We are confident that Phuket still owns great potential as a travel destination because of its exceptional beaches, attractions, arts and cultures, and local charms. Being a Chinese organisation ourselves, we are more than confident that our collaboration with professional business alliances as Aplan and Radisson Hotel Group will surely attract Chinese and Southeast Asia investors and visitors,” said Dr William Lau from Thai-Chinese Property Holdings.
“More than being an upscale project, having a well-reputed developer and superb location, investors are now seeking projects that fit various lifestyles to ensure significant yield. Real estate projects these days, therefore, need to be adaptive and answer to various demands of consumers. Radisson Phuket Mai Khao Beach manages to bring all of these essential components together, plus its rare and strategic location right on the beach,” said Marciano Birjmohun, Managing Director of DMRD Asia.
Above all, Radisson is a world-renowned brand. It is well received globally, specifically in India and China, both of which are our main targets in terms of investment and tourism, while Thai investors are also one of our potential markets,” he added.
Starting price for the units is estimated at B7.2 million with freehold ownership and upscale operations. Investors are guaranteed a 6% yield in the first three years. From the fourth year onwards, a revenue sharing model will be designed for buyers, projecting a 5% net yield annually.
“With our experience and expertise in the buoyant economy and its position at the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand is one of the world’s most dynamic countries. Radisson, our international upscale brand, is a perfect fit for many of Thailand’s fast-growing destinations, including Phuket,” said Andre de Jong, Vice President, Operations, South East Asia and Pacific, Radisson Hotel Group.
“We look forward to introducing local and international travelers to a new era of hospitality in this beach side destination.” he noted.
Radisson Phuket Mai Khao
Total Keys 222 (110 available for freehold ownership)
Type: Hotel and residence
Type A Deluxe Sea View Studio – 41sqm – Total 30 keys
Type B Premier Sea View Suite – 47sqm – Total 56 keys
Type C Premier Pool Access Suite – 47sqm – Total 8 keys
Type D Deluxe Sea View Studio with Private Pool – 56sqm – Total 10 keys
Type E Premier Sea View Suite with Private Pool – 61sqm – Total 4 keys
Type F Grand Sea View Suite with Private Pool – 132sqm – Total 2 keys
Starting price: B7.2 million
Total Land Area = 4 Rai 3 Ngan 68 sq wah = 7,872sqm
Total GFA (Gross Floor Area) – 14,000sqm
Total buildings = 8 (Each building contains 4 stories, except building 5, which will have 3 stories)
Ownership: Foreign Freehold available. Condominium status with Hotel Licence (Commercial Condominium)
The continuing wave of developers bringing hotel investment grade real estate to the Phuket real estate market is escalating.
Notable new entries include 74 units at the Melia Phuket Karon Residences that are now for sale. Pricing for one and two bedroom units starts at 8.4 million baht. A 7% three-year guarantee is offered with 30 days owner usage.
Meanwhile, at the newly launched Radisson Mai Khao, 110 condominium hotel residences range from 41-132 square metres. Prices go from 7.2 million baht with a 3 year guaranteed return of 6%.
And Laguna Phuket, which is a good barometer of the island’s broader resort-grade real estate sector, recently launched their Skypark entry level condominium under 3 million baht.
As real estate prices shrink, so is unit size, and pressure on the once dominant villa market is mounting.
There is growing concern that Phuket’s current real estate cycle is starting to mimic the big box condominium build-up in Spain’s resort property sector in the early to mid-2000’s and later came unhinged during the global financial crisis.
Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on August 28, 2019 by Bill Barnett