New villas for rent aim for 8% return

The property developer AKA Resorts Limited will launch a new 800- million-baht luxury resort, the AKA Resort Guti Kiri Villas, targeting foreign and Thai investors with a projected yield of 8-12% a year, says James A. Ngai, the firm's director and legal counsel. The project will be located on a 50-rai mountainside plot in Hua Hin, comprising 95 private-pool villas in two sizes _ 200-square-metre one-bedroom and 255-sq-m two-bedroom units priced at 8.5 million and 12 million baht respectively, with an additional one million baht for furniture for the rental package.

''We're selling it as a lease for 30 years, which can be extended twice. This won't be affected by the nominee law,'' Mr Ngai said.

The projected annual rate of return at 8-12% will be based on an occupancy rate of 35-50% while the owners can stay 30 days a year.

The resort, styled after an ancient Burmese-Chinese monastery, will have two phases. The first phase of the project has 35 units, with 30 units sold and 20 under construction.

The second phase, with 45 units, was launched for sale early this month, with Engel & Volkers as the sole sales agent. The remaining villas will be kept for rent by the company.

Currently, the company operates the AKA Hotel Resort & Spa, its first project in Hua Hin worth 500 million baht. The year-old resort now generates a 6% return for the owners with an occupancy rate of between 25% and 35%. Its room rates per night are US$400 for one-bedroom and $600 for two-bedroom units.

''Our two resorts are not situated on the beachfront, as we position it as a private and quiet getaway. It is only 10 minutes from the beach,'' Mr Ngai said.

The Zen-style AKA Resort & Spa is located on a 30-rai mountain-view site, with 55 pool villas priced at about 10 million baht each.

Thirty-three villas are owned by investors from Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, United States, United Kingdom and other European countries. The buyers represent various professions including businessmen, lawyers, doctors and bankers.

''The resort is sellable and it can grow more if people take part in it,'' said Mr Ngai, adding that the company was keeping 12 villas for rent. Room rates range between $200 and $600 a night, depending on seasons.

Established in Hong Kong and founded by a Japanese fashion designer under the Kinji brand, the company formed a joint venture in Thailand with a Thai partner in late 2004.

''The founder wanted to express her idea of humbleness yet elegance and simplicity with high quality not only in clothes or fashion but also in a property resort,'' Mr Ngai said. ''Thailand, China and Japan have some common connection in Buddhism.''

The company plans to use the AKA brand for resort development. New projects will be on Koh Samui where it will use a new concept for resort development, said Mr Ngai, a former lawyer who specialised in property at AIG Investment in Hong Kong.

He said the slowdown in property sales in Thailand was being caused not only by political uncertainty but also by the stronger economies of its neighbouring countries including Vietnam and China, where GDP is growing more than 10%, attracting many overseas investors.
Bangkok Post