Thai property developers competing to provide sheltered complexes for elderly expats

Published:  11 Apr at 6 PM
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Thailand has been a popular retirement destination for some years, attracting Western expats from the USA and UK as well as from other first world countries.

As with a good number of other world countries, Thailand is an ageing society due mainly to a huge fall in birth rates. It’s also an increasingly favoured destination for elderly expats looking for warm weather, good service and a reasonable cost of living. Healthcare is important, with private hospitals setting up to deal with the demand from both expat retirees and the ageing Thai population. One Bangkok businessman’s recently started venture aims to take healthcare one step further by providing residential sheltered accommodation plus meals and services.

Boob Vasin’s Jin Wellbeing County is now under construction on the edge of Bangkok, and will offer 500 housing units priced at around £130,000, with monthly fees of between £224 and £385 for services and food. Fitness sessions and excursions are planned, and medical services will be provided at extra cost. According to Boon, annual profits from the project should reach some 240 million baht, not including medical fees from his Thonburi Healthcare Group and property sales. He adds the complex’s employees will look after their residents from waking to sleeping.

Other real estate developers are also investigating the market and its earnings potential, with one such residential project by Magnolia Quality Developments Corp slated to be open by 2022. Elderly care, a wellness centre and medical specialists are features and the accent is on luxury, even including specially treated shock-absorbent flooring. The developer is considering going into partnership with a local private hospital to build a self-contained retirement community.

Boon is targeting his concept to expats with incomes in excess of 100,000 baht (£3,000) per month, with around 20 per cent of the properties aimed at foreign investors. Chinese and Japanese buyers are already showing interest, he says, and he’s already partnered with a Chinese company on the sale of 90 units. As attractive these developments may sound for those who can afford them, prices rule out interest from the majority of British would-be expat retirees, even although the Thai government has already launched a campaign aimed at attracting British pensioners unable to continue living in Spain due to Brexit.

Last year, some 73,000 foreigners over the age of 50 applied for the country’s so-called retirement visa, double the number in 2016. The majority were Britons attracted by the low cost of living, but very few reliable statistics give full financial details of the costs of private medical and dental care and medical insurance. Long-term residents have been posting their concerns about sharp increases in hospital charges on local expat forums for several years and, although charges are still less than in many Western states, they can’t be described as cheap, especially when compared with English speaking Indian medical facilities just a short flight away.
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