The development of nursing homes has an estimated market value of up to 19.2 billion baht over the next decade, a significant sum thanks to a substantial gap between limited supply and a projection of high demand.
According to recent research by the Real Estate Information Center (REIC), preparing suitable housing for seniors is crucial because Thailand is moving towards a super-aged society.
This year, the country has around 12.9 million people aged 60 or older, accounting for 19.5% of the total population. This proportion is up from 15.5% in 2017 and 10.9% in 2007. The figure is projected to reach 31.4% by 2040.
REIC estimates there are 90,150 bedridden seniors, accounting for 0.7% of the senior population, while home-bound seniors tallied 350,009, representing 2.7%. Socially active seniors amount to 12.5 million (96.6%).
Among those potentially requiring nursing home services would be those who are bedridden or home-bound. Demand for senior homes by 2040 is estimated to reach around 80,000 units.
However, the total number of senior homes and hospitals for the elderly is only 10,879 units across 36 projects. This includes 10 government-owned projects offering 5,649 units.
Two projects featuring 515 units are operated by non-profit organisations and foundations, while the private sector owns the remaining 24 projects, amounting to 4,715 units, with four projects comprising 238 units specifically designated for foreigners.
Of the total supply, 19 projects with 3,861 units are residential properties for the elderly which were developed between 1997 and 2023.
This include Sawangkanives Housing in Samut Prakan, Busayanives in Ayutthaya, and some units at Lumpini Ville Naklua-Wongamat in Pattaya.
Four projects which were designated for foreigners and developed between 2002-2018 comprise two in Chon Buri -- Scandinavian Village and Sunplay Bang Saray -- and two in Chiang Mai: Care Resort Chiang Mai and Vivo Bene Village.
Six are elderly hospitals with a total of 713 beds developed between 2002-2018. Two are in Bangkok, comprising Bang Khun Thian Geriatric Hospital and Geriatric Kluaynamthai 2 Hospital.
Three are in Chon Buri: Somdet Phra Sangharaj Nyanasamvara Geriatric Hospital, Somdej Phra Boromratchathewi Na Sriracha Hospital, and Burapha University Hospital. There is one in Chiang Mai: Geriatric Medical Center, Chiang Mai University.
There are four senior housing projects with a total of 1,557 units which are under construction and will be completed from next year.
The largest number of units is the Rama-Thanarak Senior Housing Project in Samut Prakan with 891 units.
Three senior housing projects with a total of 4,465 units were recently launched. The largest one was Baan Keha Sukkasem, developed by the National Housing Authority with 4,089 units on a 98-rai plot on Theparak Road in Samut Prakan's Bang Phli district.
REIC also studied the residential patterns of seniors, revealing a significant increase in seniors living alone, surging from 1.3% of the total senior population in 1990 to 7.2% in 2020.
Similarly, the proportion of seniors living only with their partner rose from 1.2% to 6% during this period. Concurrently, the average family size decreased from 4.4 to 2.4.
There are six property business models related to senior living: home remodelling, day care provided by either the government or private sector, retirement communities, nursing homes, dementia and Alzheimer's care, and hospice care.
The Department of Older Persons aims to remodel 447,618 homes for the elderly by 2036.
As of the end of 2022, 23,206 units were completed and it is expected that around 10,000 more units would be ready in 2023.
Between 2024 and 2028, nursing homes are expected to experience an average annual growth rate of 30.5%, reaching a market value of 9.5 billion baht by 2028.
For the period from 2029 to 2033, the compound annual growth rate is projected to be 15% annually, culminating in a market value of 19.2 billion baht by 2033.
The trend in senior living communities is moving towards a new franchised model, involving partnerships with developers who have various residential property categories, including hotels, resorts, condos and low-rise houses.
These spaces can be transformed into nursing homes or repurposed as residences for the elderly. This could involve redesigning units to accommodate living for people of all ages, including seniors, according to REIC.