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The tropical paradise with a touch of Blighty that is attracting rich British buyers
Marianna Hunt
January 27, 2020

The tropical paradise with a touch of Blighty that is attracting rich British buyers

The average Briton over the age of 65 has been on 114 holidays, according to website lastminute.com. Many of these adventurous retirees are now looking east in search of that "gap-year" lifestyle that was not available when they were in their 20s.

Blanketed in coconut trees and frangipani blossoms, and surrounded by turquoise waters that offer some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world, it is Thailand's islands – not its loud and lairy capital – that are attracting British retirees, says Robert Collins of Savills.

Of the south-east Asian countries popular with travellers, Thailand is the only one to really be attracting overseas buyers in significant numbers. This is because "it feels relatively safe and familiar," he adds.

Koh Samui now has its own Boots pharmacy and there's even an M&S in Phuket, an island on Thailand's west coast that is another favourite with retiring Britons.

"It helps that the healthcare is fantastic," says Collins. There are international hospitals where you can walk in and get top-quality care on demand. The Thai government offers retirement visas for overseas buyers, making it relatively straightforward for over- 55s to move there.

Villas at Samujana start from £765,000

John Kinder, a British property investor owns a number of villas on Koh Samui, a 95 sq mile island of sandy bliss in the Gulf of Thailand.

He says that most of those looking to buy one of the sleek white villas at Samujana, the 27-property compound that he and his friends designed and built on Koh Samui, are Britons who have travelled to the country before. They have "fallen in love with the friendly people, great food and more relaxed way of life... And, of course, there's the fact that it's summer all year round," he adds.

The properties, which cascade down the hillside to the cove below, have landscaped roofs, and blur inside and out. They were designed by Gary Fell from Gfab Architects, and echo the architectural style of Oscar Niemeyer, with their angular shapes and views out to sea.

Only 10 are currently for sale, four of which have never been owned, with prices ranging from $999,000 (£765,000) for a three-bedroom villa to $4.5 million for a six-bedrom home with a games room and gym.

Buyers can try before they buy, and the large villas are perfect for an intergenerational holiday home. Each has its own infinity pool and some come with cinema rooms and yoga decks overlooking the ocean. "The laid-back, yoga lifestyle has big appeal for buyers," says Kinder.

Developers around the world are fast catching on to this trend and designing communities with wellness at their heart. The Amanpuri resort on Phuket introduced the concept of residences attached to a famous brand for the first time in 1988. It has since cultivated a reputation as both a pilgrimage site and investment spot for wealthy buyers in need of some TLC, with detoxing courses and mindfulness workshops, even gene testing, and, of course, Thai massages.

"These luxury new-build developments give buyers an added layer of security compared to buying second-hand," says Victoria Garrett of Knight Frank. "There's always plenty of holidaymakers keen to rent them out when you're not staying there, and most schemes will have their own property management teams to organise all that for you." Plus, she adds, with a branded residence you know it is backed by a name you can trust.

Owning a home with a luxury label attached does not come cheap. When properties at the Amanpuri do come on to the market – and it is rare – they usually sell for in excess of $10 million. Currently just one is available, for $14 million.

High-end developments such as Samujana also manage to sidestep the sticky legal issues that often accompany buying property in Thailand.

Villas at Amanpuri are in high demand

Foreigners can own homes but not the land on which they are built, which is on a long-term lease. "To ensure that buyers can protect their long leasehold we have a general landholding company for the estate which is majority Thai-owned. This is required under local law, but it has Samujana representatives on the board," says Kinder.

With amazing scenery, great weather and cool design, it's no surprise that celebrities have been snapping up Thai property. The Beckhams, Robbie Williams and ex-England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson are among those thought to have owned homes on Koh Samui.

But you don't have to have had a professional footballer's salary to enjoy Thailand's year-round sunshine and high quality of life. "At the other end of the spectrum you can spend £100,000 to £300,000 on a comfortable apartment with a sea view," says Collins.

Your money buys you much more in Thailand than in other popular retirement destinations such as the United States, France and Spain, adds Garrett. And you'll pay far less for a luxurious way of life in your golden years.

Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/abroad/tropical-paradise-touch-blighty-attracting-rich-british-buyers/

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