RESIDENTIAL DESIGN that serves the needs of an increasingly ageing society is seen as an important and growing trend for developers in the years ahead, as nearly one-third of the Thai population will be over 60 by 2031, according to the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board.
The impact of such demographic change will be felt widely, not least in terms of the residential needs of a steadily growing number of older people.
“We will see most property firms developing their residential projects with due concern for ageing family members, and designing homes that cater to such people is a major trend for developers over the next decade,” Kanda Property chief executive officer Issara Boonyoung said.
Housing will need to be both functional for the elderly, as well as using construction materials that match their lifestyle, he said.
“Since 2015, we have seen most property companies introduce residential projects to serve elderly family members, as more home-buyers have three generations living together. Designing homes to serve all members of a family is a necessity for developers,” he stressed.
The CEO said Kanda Group was already designing projects to serve three generations, especially its detached housing and townhouse projects that now have to contain a multi-function room on the ground floor that can be a bedroom for a senior family member or couple.
Kanda has also incorporated a ground-floor bathroom in these properties for ease of use by older occupants.
Looking to the long term, Issara believes that demand for homes that fully take into account the needs of an increasingly ageing population will be even stronger, as other features such as hospitality services and home management will need also need to be included for seniors in the family home.
The National Housing Authority also plans to develop residential projects to meet the needs of a growing greying population.
“This year, we will concentrate on developing accommodation for the middle- and lower-income markets by creating innovative homes with a focus on energy-saving, homes for senior citizens, and housing for the disabled and underprivileged, in collaboration with private firms providing expertise on construction under the ‘Smart City’ concept,” agency governor Tachaphol Kanjanaku said recently.
The trend for residential development for all segments of the market in the next 10 years is that property developers will have to be concerned about innovation to serve exactly what customers demand, and in order to improve their quality of life, especially for senior members of society who have special requirements, such as safety, functionality and convenience in the home, he explained.
“At present, innovative construction materials are less costly than before, and they can be used for developing homes under ageing and healthy themes, among others, for all customer types from the low-income through to high-income markets. This is dependent on property developers designing homes and selecting materials that match each category of customer,” Tachaphol added.
SC Asset Corp is one listed company developing its residential projects to serve ageing people by designing homes to include functions and features such as a convenient bedroom and bathroom for the elderly, and high-flexibility flooring.
“We design our luxury detached housing with functionality to serve senior members, because we believe Thai families will [increasingly have] three generations living together, therefore there has to be an area for senior members,” chief executive officer Nuttaphong Kunakornwong said.
Innovation trend boosts market
Bearing the innovation trend in mind, property experts predict that the overall residential market will witness strong double-digit growth this year, following an estimated slump of more than 10 per cent in 2016.
Property agency Nexus Property Marketing forecasts that the condominium market will expand 10 per from last year’s level, due to the launch of new supply during 2017 and demand from potential home-buyers who deferred their purchasing decisions from last year.
Meanwhile, some condominium prices have already increased by between 6 per cent and 7 per cent, especially in projects located close to the central business districts of Bangkok.
Kasikorn Research Centre believes the property market in Bangkok and suburban areas will experience double-digit growth this year, thanks to signs of an economic recovery, interest rates remaining low, and new investment from both the government and private sectors, which will create more jobs, increase salaries and boost residential purchasing power.