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Ageing Thailand society spells promise for retirement housing

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Kobkan Junhasavasdikul, cheif medical officer of Bangkok’s Jin Wellbeing Country. the nation

Ageing Thailand society spells promise for retirement housing

(The Nation (Thailand)/ANN): Private investment in retirement homes is on the rise in Thailand, with Thonburi Healthcare Group among those companies eyeing the market potential amid an ageing society.

The company has developed Jin Wellbeing on a large site in Greater Bangkok.

“Our mission is to return healthy elderly people back to society,” said Kobkan Junhasavasdikul, chief medical officer of Jin Wellbeing Country. “We are not a property developer but a company specialising in the healthcare business.”

Kobkan, who has been working in integrative wellness for 15 years, believes that the project will serve the needs of Thailand, given the Kingdom’s transformation into an ageing society.

The aim is to support people aged over 60 who are deemed active or with assisted-ageing needs to buy residential units.

The project comprises 1,380 residential units, an aged-care centre and a wellness centre.

The aged-care centre will offer services for those who need assistance from medical staff. The wellness centre will serve as a place to exercise, perform mindfulness meditation, or take part in aqua-therapy and other activities designed to help the elderly make changes towards a healthier lifestyle.

“We want to help the elderly to achieve good physical and mental fitness so that they can continue working – if they wish - to earn a living until they reach 80 years old,” Kobkan said.

The starting price of units in the project is 4 million baht ($120,000), which is quite expensive when compared with nearby ordinary condominiums in the Rangsit area of Pathumthani province, north of central Bangkok, concedes Thitaree Yoovidhya, chief marketing officer.

Apart from the medical and wellness services, the project also offers natural space and the residents can even grow their own produce in the small vegetable farm on the estate, she added.

Kasikorn Research Centre estimates that investment in large retirement community projects between 2018 and 2020 would reach about 6 billion baht, leading to accumulated investment of about 27 billion baht by 2020.

Kasikorn said many investors have seized on the potential of businesses that cater to the growing number of senior citizens, whose ranks make up almost 20 per cent of the population.

The research centre said that investment in retirement estates in suburban Bangkok and other provinces between 2012 and 2017 was 17.7 billion baht.

This took accumulated investment in the sector up to last year to 21 billion baht.

There are a number of segments within the market. One such segment provides houses designed for people in the active ageing category.

Housing of this kind can incorporate a universal design that is suitable for all family members living with elderly parents.

Developers are also targeting foreign buyers, given that a large proportion of Thai senior citizens have low incomes.

The number of elderly people with an annual income of at least 300,000 baht is estimated at 530,000, out of a total population of old people projected at 12.3 million by 2020, up from 419,968 and 9.4 million, respectively, in 2014.

Over the long term, Kasikorn predicts that people will save more for retirement, so the ranks of seniors with annual income of at least 300,000 baht would grow to 730,000, out of an overall population of 17.7 million old people, by 2030. This would offer market opportunities for investment in retirement communities.

The government plans to build around 200,000 units for the elderly across the country in the next four to five years.

The Treasury Department, the National Housing Authority and the Ministry of Social Development and Humanity Security are responsible for this project, which is aimed at serving low- and middle-income earners.

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