This year Pattaya Realty will celebrate 16 years under the stewardship of Londoner Stuart Daly.
There have been times during that period when he might have considered whether it would have been easier to cut out the middleman and bought a ticket to one of the roller coaster rides in Hong Kong or Singapore direct.
He would be first to concede his company – in line with world trends has had its ups and downs.
Fortunately many more of the former than the latter. So Stu, as his friends know him, has few regrets. As the Sinatra song goes “too few to mention”.
“Given what you know now are you pleased you committed to Pattaya back in 2001?” I asked. “Sure,” he replied, “100 per cent. Actually maybe make that 99 per cent,” he said with a wry smile indicating that life is never completely perfect.
Stu isn’t the type of guy to pretend all in the garden is rosy when it isn’t. “It would be crazy to say the past 18 months have been easy for the property market here in Pattaya,” he said. “But I’m a big believer that the fittest will survive and we at Pattaya Realty are feeling very fit. We remain here and we remain positive.”
Stu used to work in the City of London’s Square Mile so market fluctuations are second nature to him. The dip in the value of the rouble followed by the drop in sterling after the vote to leave the European Union have affected potential buyers from Russia and the UK. “But you have to remember that one person’s (or country’s) problem is another’s opportunity,” said Stu. “For example, long before the problems of either currency we were actively looking at other, currently less mature markets.” I know from personal experience that Stu’s company was among the first to explore sales to Chinese looking for investments outside that country. “We had Mandarin-speaking staff on board very early,” he said.
“We are always looking at new sales avenues,” he said. “It’s simply not an option to sit back and bemoan market conditions.”
Indeed Stu is very positive about how that the next few years are shaping up.
“Property will always be a sound investment,” he said. “Bank interest rates are so low that people looking for decent returns on investment (ROI) are looking increasingly at property as a way of gaining them. Sales are definitely picking up.”
The number of new developments launched is gradually improving and recently the Habitat Group announced plans for three new condo and villa projects on the back of expected infrastructure improvements involving Pattaya.
“Long-term the picture looks bright,” said Stu. “Pattaya is set to feature on a major rail link and U-Tapao airport is due to expand considerably.”
“The tourism outlook for Pattaya is solid, maybe even spectacular. We are seeing water parks develop and people like Terminal 21 don’t choose to establish shopping centres here on a whim. They research prospects thoroughly.”
Stu is also buoyed up by the fact that the “fundamental benefits” of the city remain unaltered.
“The weather and beaches continue to provide a big lure for folk from the colder countries of Northern Europe who are keen to put winter weather behind them. Pattaya always will compare favourably to many of the places people regard as ‘home’.
“Like me, people who come here tend to fall in love with the place. I think that’s good basis for optimism, don’t you?”
I think he has a point.