Strong potential for luxury senior housing market

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As Thailand is becoming an ageing society, more senior housing projects by both government bodies and private developers are rising across the country. While most of these projects are aimed at accommodating aging Thai population, luxury senior housing developments in the country’s resort destinations are growing in number to cater mainly foreigners and affluent Thais, according to international property consultant JLL.

Strong potential for luxury senior housing market

This May 17, 2016 photo shows a building at Sawanganiwes, a housing project designed and operated for the elderly by the Thai Red Cross Society in Samut Prakan province. (Bangkok Post file photo)

“Luxury senior housing market in Thailand remains relatively small but has a strong potential to grow,” says Suphin Mechuchep, managing director of JLL.

She explains that a nice living environment, competitive cost of living and more affordable high-quality nursing care have made Thailand an ideal home for senior people from developed economies. These include both independent living retirees and aged members in families that trust their parents would receive better care here.

Domestic demand for luxury senior housing in Thailand has remained limited, however. Putting aged parents in senior homes is not popular among Thais who generally look after the elderly well. In addition, Thai families, particularly well-to-do ones, may feel embarrassed about not looking after their parents themselves, and thus tend to hire a private nurse or nursing aide to provide the care needed at their own home.

Nonetheless, this is expected to change in the near future.

“As luxury senior housing estates put a strong focus on quality of services for assisted living, modern Thai families are likely to become more comfortable with an option to send their aged members that lose the ability to live independently to better equipped senior homes,” Mrs Suphin explains.

“In an increasingly modern Thai society, there is a growing number of affluent Thai baby boomers planning for active ageing without relying on assistance from their family members on retirement. This will translate into demand for senior homes in the future,” she adds.

There are many residential developments in Thailand that are claimed to be luxury senior housing estates, providing an ultimate living environment for retirees. However, only a handful of these developments are truly senior homes.

“Aside from accommodation, age-related services must be provided. These range from housekeeping, meals, medication management, and exercise activities to bathing and washroom assistance. These services need to be customised to suit changing needs of each senior, depending on age and health condition,” says Dexter Norville, director of property and asset management at JLL.

“While several Thai developers have realised potential growth in demand from both foreigners and Thais for luxury retirement homes in Thailand, the lack of know-how to develop, operate, manage and market senior housing estate is a big challenge,” says Mr Norville.

He believes that there remains a lot of room for the luxury senior housing market to grow in Thailand and good potential would be for local developers to form joint ventures with international specialists in this market.

“The local developer has the land and development capability where the specialist brings the intellectual property and know-how on how the property should be designed both internally and aesthetically. International specialists would also bring in their marketing know-how to help brand the project and attract the individual investors and end users,” says Mr Norville.

With an ever increasing aged population globally, Thailand could offer excellent development and housing opportunities for both the retirees and those companies involved in that business.

Source: Bangkok Post

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