Khao Yai Growing at top end

Khao Yai Green Resort

Khao Yai Green Resort

Luxury development expands as demand defies economic malaise

Khao Yai, in Nakhon Ratchasima province, adjacent to the national park of the same name, has become a new target for property developers, who are expanding their investments in the area by launching luxury residential developments worth several billion baht.

Offering a “second home” holiday destination close to Bangkok, a number of wealthy businessmen are also reportedly collecting land in the area on which to build weekend villas.

The popularity of Khao Yai among developers is buoyed by its apparent immunity to economic impact. While other holiday destinations have begun to suffer from the affects of the global economic crisis, new investment is still flowing into Khao Yai as developers express confidence in continued strong demand from local buyers of second homes.

Earlier this year property firm Kirimaya, which owns the luxury Kirimaya Golf Resort and Spa at Khao Yai, began spending nearly Bt1 billion on two luxury residential developments occupying part of its 1,200 rai of land.

The company is also planning to launch another residential project in the coming year worth Bt800 million. Company owner and chairman Kitti Thanakitamuay said the expansion aimed to meet strong demand.

“Demand for Khao Yai residences is different from that at other tourist destinations in Thailand because most of the home-buyers are local people who want to buy second homes that are not far from Bangkok. As a result, residential projects in Khao Yai don’t feel any negative impact when demand from foreign investors falls because of the global economic crisis,” he said.

“demand for resort residences at Khao Yai had not suffered any negative impact from global economic problems”Between 60 and 70 per cent of Kirimaya’s two residential projects launched earlier this year have already been sold. They feature detached villas with a starting price of Bt10 million per unit.

Art the Living Development, the company that developed a residential project called Art the Hill at Khao Yai, launched Art the Hill 2 at Khao Yai worth between Bt300 million and Bt400 million, in the final quarter of this year.

Managing director Kwanchai Mordpradit said demand for resort residences at Khao Yai had not suffered any negative impact from global economic problems. Sales from the company’s second project already amount to 10 per cent of its total value. Units are selling at starting prices between Bt4,000 and Bt9,000 per square wah.

Phatra Real Estate has also launched a luxury hotel and residential development it calls Mo Muan Rai. The project, which has a value of about Bt500 million, comprises 32 detached houses and villas and a resort hotel with 40 units. Ten of the detached houses have already been sold.

“Our hotel will use a ‘Belle Villa’ concept by focusing on the upper-income market, with rooms rates starting at Bt3,000 to Bt5,000 per night,” said Phatra’s president Luxaman Bunnag.

Meanwhile, the Khao Yai area is attracting the extremely wealthy. Reported to be among the area’s new landowners are Charoen Pokphand Group chairman and chief executive Dhanin Chearavanont, Amata Corporation managing director Vikrom Kromadit, King Power International’s chairman Vichai Raksriaksorn and Workpoint Entertainment’s chairman Phanya Nirunkul.

Strong demand over the past four years has driven land prices at Khao Yai up from an average Bt500,000 per rai to Bt2 million per rai at present.

However, this is still lower than prices at other tourist destinations, which has led Kirimaya - to name just one firm - to believe there is potential for prices to grow further, even at the high end of the market.

“We believe that investment at Khao Yai will generate a high return when compared with that from other tourist destinations, where prices are at a record high,” Kirimaya’s Kitti said.

About the author

Somluck Srimalee Somluck Srimalee
Somluck Srimalee is a journalist with The Nation, Bangkok's independent English language newspaper and specialises in the property and real estate sectors.
Other posts by Somluck Srimalee ( 34 )
Website: http://www.nationmultimedia.com

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