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ALFA Resorts Insight: Asia Rising

16 October 2015 - Tony Smyth, SquareFoot Magazine

In an environment of market crises, debt defaults and stock volatility, the events of the past month have been tumultuous and have left many private investors wondering what to do next. Is it the start of the next major market sell off, the collapse of the Euro or simply the start of a new phase of the cycle?

Experts around the world are of the same opinion that market volatility, especially in bonds and stocks is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Asian investors are becoming increasingly reticent towards traditional US and European markets and are steadily looking at property investment as a more secure medium- to long-term option to bolster the more capricious elements of their portfolios.

For the past few years ALFA Investors have been assisting clients to mitigate their exposure to the markets by offering a selection of high-end resort properties in Asia that offer guaranteed developer returns. It is important to choose a developer with a proven track record, a thorough understanding of the market and the legal framework to protect overseas investors. Many countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia are restructuring their laws on foreign ownership to make it easier for foreign entities and individuals to invest in properties.

There are still many pitfalls that can trip up the unwary or unadvised especially if that dream property is too good to be true. Doing thorough due diligence is essential. That’s where a dependable and experienced agent is a must, one who can explain the ownership structure ­– whether leasehold or freehold – clarify the local banking regulations and payment processes, and who employ trusted local legal firms to safeguard the interests of the buyer ­– likewise when they eventually wish to sell on.

At ALFA, we only work with trusted developers specialising in luxury lifestyle resort residences and gated community developments. All are fully funded, can grant developer mortgages and offer guaranteed rental returns, with some offering substantial buy-back options after completion of the relevant investment period.

Investing in a resort residence that can rent out the property when the owner is not using it is a growing investment opportunity especially in popular tourism destinations in countries such as the Philippines, Thailand and more recently Vietnam and Cambodia. The growth of tourism to and within the region is a dominant factor influencing the increase in higher end resort developments.

A growing mobile middle class in Asia, looking for unique places to stay, is significantly boosting the rental real estate sector offering investors lucrative returns on investment. More people are travelling from China than ever before, with Korea and Japan still dominating the visitor numbers in regional hotspots. National tourism boards are aggressively vying for this increasing market share backed by government infrastructure initiatives that are improving regional airports, highways and accessibility. This is opening up regional hotspots to visitors from medium-haul destinations including India and the Middle East as well as long-haul sun-seekers from Europe, Russia and the USA.

We are currently seeing the most interest in resort properties in the Philippines and Thailand. Boracay, in the Philippines, has consistently been voted the best tropical beach island destination in the world, and with the completion of the ongoing expansion of the nearby Caticlan airport in 2016, will make this idyllic island even more popular. At present there is a shortage of high-end resort properties to accommodate the current and anticipated influx of visitors looking for luxury lifestyle experiences.

ALFA is the marketing partner for the soon-to-be-completed Aqua Boracay by YOO 5-star resort offers investors guaranteed rental returns of 6% for the first two years once fully completed in Q4 2016. Designed by YOO, founded by renowned designer Philippe Stark, this development offers investors a lifestyle retreat, a fully managed rental scheme, a stunning beachfront designer apartment with furniture designed by Vito Selma. Apartments start from US$234,000 and when not in use by the owner, will be rented out by YOO Hotels & Resorts as part of their worldwide reservations system.

In Thailand, ALFA is the exclusive worldwide agent for a 10-villa gated community beachside resort development in Rayong Province. Suanson Villas is an exceptional investment choice with guaranteed rental returns of 6% each year for the first two years with conservative anticipated rental returns from year 3 onwards of 8% based on 50% occupancy. Built to British standards by a renowned UK developer, each 240 square metre villa has its own private pool, secluded landscaped gardens (300-500 square metres), as well as a host of shared communal amenities and private beach bar. These luxury villas start from US$459,950 and with three of the 10 villas completed, with the remaining villas coming online at the end of 2015, owners can start earning almost immediately.

In Phuket we have a luxury award-winning resort that offers a guaranteed rental return for the first six years and also a comprehensive buy back option with apartments starting from US$138,000.

Contact ALFA Investors for a customised investment briefing to advise you on the next steps to purchase your dream home.

Tony Smyth is Head of Marketing at ALFA Investors Ltd, a luxury resort and city property specialist based in Hong Kong. He can be contacted at or +852 2110 8712. Or visit the website: