DISCOUNTS are now on offer to prospective buyers looking for real estate on Phuket as the impact of the global money crisis crunches home.
While the island still has a great future, talk of it being immune from the problems of the rest of the world has proven to be wishful thinking.
The number of professionals now talking up ''the golden age of Phuket property'' and ''the boom that is about to come'' provides the surest indicator that business is really bad.
One experienced hand who is about to quit the property business told Phuketwan that some island developers are now prepared to sell at rock-bottom, bargain basement prices.
He believes discounts could go as low as 50 percent in cases where developers need the cash today.
While Phuket certainly remains different because it's a cash market, the people with the money have been sitting back, waiting for prices to fall.
These people are not fools. Buyers with big money have not grown rich by spending more than is necessary, or of jumping in prematurely when the market is clearly entering a downward slide.
The rich certainly are different. They are canny enough to be able to see that property prices everywhere are on the way down, and to bide their time.
And now is their time.
The departing experienced real estate hand, who wishes to remain anonymous, toughed out the difficult period after the 2004 tsunami.
He says the sales situation on Phuket now is far worse, the worst he has seen.
If you happen to be a prospective buyer, read that sentence again but substitute the words ''far better, the best it has been.''
And in the US and Europe, when your share prices suddenly start going down, or your business begins to dry up, you cut and run first from those luxury extras . . . the annual five-star jaunt, or the second home in the sun.
One man who recently signed up to buy a Phuket property retreated so fast that he dropped his $US68,000 deposit cold.
Immune from the problems of the world? Yeah, sure.
Oversupply is also a problem in some sectors of the Phuket market. There is no shortage of high-priced villas from which to choose.
And given the wide choice available, which is better?
The west coast, where infrastructure is already in place, or the east coast, where so much has yet to be added?
Yes, I'm afraid that when it comes to looking at Phuket from a buyer's perspective, the golden age has definitely arrived.
Look for those red ''Bargain'' stickers now.
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