Survey: Demand for senior housing on the upswing as Thai culture and demographics shift

26 Sep 2017

Survey: Demand for senior housing on the upswing as Thai culture and demographics shift

Properties in Thailand with features appropriate for senior citizens are poised for growing demand as buyers begin thinking about the comforts they want in a home during their golden years.

The uptick in demand will benefit those properties offering convenient services, senior-friendly surroundings, and increased social opportunities.

DDproperty, Thailand’s number one property portal, noted the potential growth in demand for senior housing in the latest version of its bi-annual Consumer Sentiment Survey. Between the second half of 2016 and the first half of 2017, there was a growth of 5% among people reporting personal concerns about their living situation in old age. DDproperty anticipates growth again of at least 5% in the next survey.

“We predict that the demand for senior housing will continue to grow in our sentiment surveys every six months. This is creating an opportunity for property developers,” said DDproperty Country Manager Kamolpat Swaengkit.

“We know that some property developers have already moved in this direction. We see this as a major trend in the property industry in Thailand, and we will be watching this situation closely.”

Globally, a set of factors is coming together to create the need for privately run senior housing. These factors are also very much in play in Thailand.

According to the World Bank, 11% of Thailand’s population was 65 years old or older in 2016, compared to 5% in 1995 and the bank forecasts that, by 2040, 17 million Thais – or more than a quarter of the population – will be over 65.

Traditionally in Thailand, children have taken on the responsibility of looking after their parents and live in the same homes together. But these traditions are changing, and people in Thailand, and across the ASEAN region, are more open to the idea of senior housing today.

In addition to this domestic trend, there is a growing number of foreign aging citizens – including Japanese, Chinese and European retirees – looking for senior homes in Thailand. The country indeed offers numerous advantages when compared with its neighbours: world-class healthcare, relatively low living costs, friendly culture, tropical weather, and easily obtained retirement visas.

A few senior housing projects have already been launched and more will open across the country. The Government is planning to set up elderly centres in the country within the next five years.

Financed by the Elderly Fund thanks to a bill approved by the Cabinet last August, these centres will aim at promoting quality of life and work for the senior population. Not to be outdone, the private sector has also started to launch senior housing projects in places like Pathum Thani, Bangsaray, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.

“The significant increase of the Thai elderly population, the change in traditions, and global demand for comfortable senior living means that Thailand needs more property for seniors,” said Mrs. Kamolpat. “Conservatively, we estimate a need for 800,000 units or more units of senior housing over the next two decades.”


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