Massive Nordic boom set to hit resort towns


Scandinavian investors are expected to invest up to Bt16.2 billion in residential developments in Thailand this year and the next. This money will flow into tourist destinations such as Rayong, Hua Hin, Koh Samui and Phuket, according to research by Colliers International (Thailand).

The company's managing director, Patima Jeerapaet, said Swedish investors figure most prominently in the list, followed by Finns.

The main residential projects developed by Scandinavian investors include villas, resorts and condominiums at tourist hotspots.

According to the research, Rayong is seeing huge investment from Scandinavian investors, especially Swedes, in projects valued at Bt4.79 billion this year, followed by Hua Hin with Bt4.1 billion and Koh Samui with Bt2.07 billion.

Patima said the market was dominated by buyers from Scandinavia who are interested in owning a second home or a property for vacations, in Thailand.

Presently, 3.08 per cent of all Scandinavians visit Thailand.

According the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the number of tourist arrivals in the Kingdom for last year stood at 14.5 million persons. Of that, 757,734 visitors, or 5 per cent, were from Scandinavian countries, a growth of 17.4 per cent from 2006. The majority of Scandinavian tourists travelling to Thailand are from Sweden, at 350,000 visitors last year, followed by Finns, at about 138,332.

The average length of stay in Thailand for visitors from Scandinavian countries has been rising year on year, mainly from four countries. Norwegians recorded the longest average length of stay at over 16.42 days, followed by the Swedish at 16.20 days. Danes spent 14.81 days while Finns spent 14.11 days.

Given the strong interest Scandinavian tourists have in Thailand, most of them are also interested in buying residential properties  as a second home for vacations or retirement. Due to this, a number of property developers from Scandinavia have expanded their investment in Thailand, said Risinee Sarikaputra, manager at Colliers' research department.

Most Scandinavian developers have set up joint ventures with local partners to develop residential projects in Thailand. Some of them have bought condominiums developed by Thai developers and resold these to Scandinavian buyers.

People from Scandinavia are  known to be traditionally interested in resort properties in Spain and France.

However, over the past three to four years, apart from Thailand, they have snapped up real estate in Turkey and Bulgaria though investment to the former country has now dropped, Risinee said.

The Kingdom is more popular though it has a long way to go before it has the high number of Scandinavian-owned homes as Spain does, she said.

As of now, Scandinavian developers, such as Glen Asia, which develops residential projects in Rayong and Pattaya, and Logans Thailand, which develops residential projects in Rayong, Pattaya, and Hua Hin, have entered the Thailand market.

"In recent years, Scandinavians have become investors in Thailand. Hundreds of Swedish home-buyers are spearheading an incredibly strong Nordic property boom in Thailand," Risinee said. The Nation

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