Thailand property development is in the midst of a paradigm shift. Developers are taking a keen interest in residential spaces for the elderly. And this shift to aged demographics has spurred on calls for new property models.
Vittakarn Chandavimol, AP Thailand Plc chief of the condominium business group, said the company will benchmark from Japan's real estate development for seniors.
The SET-listed developer will look into Japan's housing framework to produce new development models applicable to Bangkok. Hopefully, the new model will improve the lifestyle of elderly Thai people.
Mr. Vittakarn said that the company will develop condos for elderly “with active lives.” Development will begin in the next few years along urban areas. The project aims to provide the elderly best of both city life and transportation convenience.
The new generation of elderly Thais may carry on a different lifestyle from their predecessors. Not all of them may stay with their children. They would rather pursue an active and independent retirement lifestyle.
By studying Japan's elderly housing policies, Mr. Vittakarn hopes to shed more light into senior lifestyles across Bangkok. One interesting finding is that most of them enjoyed living in the city centre, particularly during the 2011 floods. Many seniors temporarily relocated to condos owned by their children.
Another SET-listed residential developer, Supalai Plc, expressed its interest in building homes for old people. The company will launch a real estate project not far from a resort in Kaeng Khoi, Saraburi, northeast of Bangkok.
Supalai Plc is also designing the Supalai Elderly Home and Wellness Center, according to chief executive Prateep Tangmatitham. This development project will comprise of 100 residences, each priced at approximately 1 million baht. Seniors may opt for a 30-year lease or lifetime purchase.
The growing population of elderly people aged 65 and above will serve as a basis for another residential development study. N.C. Housing Plc, also a SET-listed developer, will spearhead the study to understand and address senior population growth.
According to N.C. Housing Plc chief executive Somchao Tanthathoedtham, there is no existing project to “learn from.” Where senior living and development is concerned, Thailand still has a long way to go. A number of nursing homes are not even fit for future elderly lifestyles.
Years ago, property developers saw opportunities to establish retirement projects in the country. Most projects are in their early stages but may take some time to take off.
The slow progress is largely attributed to the lack of local studies on the lifestyle of elderly Thais. Since there is hardly any research on elderly folks in the country, developers need to make use of overseas research.
On the first half of 2019, one of the first few senior townhomes will begin construction in Phuket. Named Kamala Senior Living, this soon-to-rise property for the elderly is a joint project of Nye Estate, Chewathai Plc and L.P.N Development Plcs in cooperation with contractor company Ch.Karnchang Plc.