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Potential for retirement properties in Thailand

Bill Barnett

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Potential for retirement properties in Thailand | The Thaiger
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by Bill Barnett of c9hotelworks.com

While a number of property offerings in Phuket, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and more recently in Bangkok have promoted themselves as retirement-centric offerings, the jury is still out on the broad success of the sector.

Despite retirement communities and assisted living being mainstays in Western countries like the US, UK and Australia, these are for the most highly domestic offerings.

Some of the key market challenges are the absence of a secondary sales market, disconnect with national healthcare schemes, difficulties in financing offerings and the sheer distance from relatives or family units. Additionally, intrinsic differences in nationalities of prospective end-users has created a somewhat confusing potential geographic source of business.

Thailand does have a widely promoted retirement visa program but it has not been linked to the real estate market. Malaysia’s ‘My Second Home’ initiative has been a leader in Asia and has effectively tapped these two issues.

Two developments that are being watched in the property world in the Kingdom, the first is Nye Estate’s Otium Living which is working closely with the UK retirement specialist group Audley Villages, with its initial offering coming to Phuket’s MontAzure in Kamala and plans to expand in Bangkok.

Second is MQDC’s The Forestias in Bangkok which is aimed at multi-generational living. A number of iconic groups are involved in this undertaking including the Foster + Partners, Six Senses and Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health on wellness. What’s unique about this project is the inclusion of older generational housing into a larger green, eco and family- oriented community.

At C9 Hotelworks we have advised on a number of retirement projects in Thailand, Philippines, Mainland China and Japan. One of the key issues for the sector has been developers who are looking to simply brand real estate and not do the hard yards on programming a working community.

One clear idea that is emerging, that we feel has strong broader potential is a shift from a property offering into shorter-term lease options, membership or rentals. This becomes a recurring cash flow play versus the typical blow and go real estate structure.

A strong indicator of the upside potential is Australia’s property group Lendlease’s estimated USD1.4 billion investment into Mainland China’s senior living marketplace. On offer are transferable long-term memberships with a value of approximately USD250,000. Wellness and hospitality offerings are key components of the end-product.

The reality of lower, more rationale pricing points with an understanding that senior living is transitory in nature and the long-term prospects will be a transfer into assisted-living or family care.

We continue to see real estate developers go blindly into creating offerings which do not recognise the need to build a secondary resale mechanism as well and trying to price offerings on legacy real estate models. For the most part these are going to be highly stressed financial models and not sustainable.

Senior and/or retirement living is a reality for a “greying Asia”, but for now, the lack of fundamental models and reality has yet to take hold. It will be interesting to see how Lendlease’s China outing goes, but they certainly look to be set on the right path ahead.

As for the prospects of the Kingdom, one astonishing data point on Thailand’s potential for senior living is that by 2030, according to the United Nations a quarter of the population will be over 60 years of age. Falling birth rates and an aging population have created a first world situation in the making. There is a growing long-term market, if someone can just create the right product.

If you’re looking for new or pre-loved homes and condos in Thailand click HERE.

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Chiang Mai. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements and is continually gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

Protests

Injuries and arrests as Bangkok protests turn violent

Maya Taylor

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Injuries and arrests as Bangkok protests turn violent | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AP

Pro-democracy protesters clashed with police in Bangkok yesterday, leading to injuries and arrests as activists attempted to reach the residence of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. At least 33 people were injured, including 23 police officers. The clashes happened in front of 1st Infantry Regiment barracks, King’s Guard on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road and involved around 1,500 activists from REDEM (Restart Democracy), part of the Free Youth group. The group has been protesting against the government and calling for reform of the monarchy since protests began in July of last year.

Yesterday, the Metropolitan Police Bureau deployed over 2,000 riot police, with barricades erected to prevent protesters reaching the PM’s home. The Bangkok Post reports that at around 6.30pm, activists clashed with police. Officers deployed tear gas and water cannon and allegedly used rubber bullets as protesters threw objects their way.

Piya Tawichai from the MPB has denied that police used tear gas or water cannon, accusing protesters of instigating violence by using weapons and vandalising government property. Thai PBS World reports that yesterday’s demonstration was the most violent anti-government protest in recent weeks. Protesters’ demands include the PM’s resignation and reform of the monarchy.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Thai PBS World

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Bangkok

Royal Thai Police accused of “ticket” promotion system to buy senior positions

Caitlin Ashworth

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Royal Thai Police accused of “ticket” promotion system to buy senior positions | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The Royal Thai Police are being accused of using so-called “elephant tickets” to buy their way into promotions and pay their way up the police force’s chain of command. The corruption among the police force and the buying of positions without meeting the requirements for a promotion has been a longtime problem, according to the Bangkok Post.

The “elephant ticket” issue was recently brought to light by an opposition MP at a censure debate who said it fast tracked the promotion system and allowed some people who were unqualified and undeserving to raise their rank. Some Thais have protested the “elephant ticket.” Many gathered in front of the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok last week, including one person who dressed up as an elephant.

At the censure debate on February 19, Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome called out PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chairs the Police Commission overseeing the Royal Thai Police, and said the prime minister allowed the “elephant ticket” promotions. Prayut later said there were problems within the police force and that he would handle it.

Police who want a promotion need a ticket, which is basically just a reference or a stamp of approval from a senior officer or even a politician or business person. To get an “elephant ticket,” some can pay for the ticket. A source told the Post that positions for police superintendents cost between 5 to 10 million baht.

Others can get a ticket by doing favours for their superior or even just serving their superior for a long time, sources told the Bangkok Post. The higher the position a senior officer has, the more tickets they have to give out.

To read the full special report by the Bangkok Post, click HERE.

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Crime

Woman talks about the life of a Thai “pretty” after model’s death

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman talks about the life of a Thai “pretty” after model’s death | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Instagram/ wawa_manika

Following the news of a model who died after working as a hostess at a Bangkok party, Thai media spoke with a woman, known in Thailand as a “pretty,” about what it’s like to work in the lucrative, yet shady Thai model entertainment industry where many work as hostesses at parties and events that often involve alcohol, drugs and sex work.

“Miss Cake” told the Thai news outlet Daily News that pretties are sent to parties by “modelling agencies.” The parties are even categorized depending on if drugs or sex are involved. Apparently the parties are either “En-Up,” “En-V” or just “En” for entertainment. En-Up means drugs are involved, while En-V means the pretties will offer sexual services. Other pretties work at promotional events like auto shows. Since nightclubs and other entertainment venues in Bangkok have been closed due to the pandemic, many of the parties are now held at private homes.

If a pretty is working at an En-Up party, Miss Cake says that means there will be ecstasy, known as “khanom,” the Thai word for a dessert or snack. She says good “khanom” shipped from overseas costs around 900 to 1,000 baht while the poor quality, Thai-made drugs cost 500 baht. Just about every pretty takes drugs, she says. If mixed with ketamine, Miss Cake says it can be dangerous.

Daily News spoke with Miss Cake following the death of a 33 year old Witchayaporn “Wawa” Wisetsombat who worked died in a hospital after working as a hostess at a party in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district. She had been hired by a modelling agency to serve drinks at a private party. Her younger sister told the Bangkok Post that Wawa was a product presenter and never sold sex or used narcotics. Doctors told the Post Wawa died from respiratory and blood system failure. They are still waiting for the results for a toxicology test.

The death of another model back in 2019 shed light on the abuse and danger many pretties face in the industry. 25 year old Thitima “Lunlabelle” Noraphanpiphat died from “extreme alcohol intoxication,” according to an autopsy report. Her dead body was found in the lobby of a Bangkok condominium. 6 people were found guilty for involvement in Lunlabelle’s death.

Abuse is common in the industry and many women working as pretties are often pressured into drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. The work of pretties is looked down upon in Thai society. Due to the stigma, many due not file complaints when they are abused.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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