The specialist retirement property market is developing quickly and exhibits many of the characteristics of emerging economy markets, even in developed countries, according to Amanda Graham from international retirement property portal Seniors Housing Online.
“Like other emerging markets, there is lots of change going on in this sector and huge growth potential, particularly with the lifestyle demands of ageing baby boomers, rapidly ageing populations in large countries such as China and Japan, more mobile populations and changes to traditional family arrangements. We have expanded our retirement property portal into the US, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Fiji, and Malta with other European listings coming soon.”
“After first establishing an Australian retirement property portal, we weren’t sure how translatable our model would be overseas - what the retirement market was like in different countries, how government regulatory and welfare regimes varied, and how it might apply to other cultural traditions about caring for extended family. But starting with the ageing situation in Asia, it was immediately apparent that the practical issues faced by families are universal and override the cultural differences. This is now an early stage market in Asia, and embryonic in China, with massive growth potential.”
“There are many cross-border retirement issues, as families are now more geographically mobile, and kids are more likely to study and work in another country leaving their older parents behind, making the traditional extended family model not viable for many. International property investment is more common, and many people from developed economies are looking for a cheaper location to retire, with a better quality of life than they could afford at home - for example Europeans retiring in Malaysia. Baby boomers are looking for resort-style living, but with quality medical care available as needed. So we are seeing a lot of new luxury retirement resort developments with attached medical facilities in Asia, and some countries are offering special visa arrangements to attract retirees. There is also increasing competition between cities wanting to attract the grey dollar and associated economic development benefits."
“This is a fragmented industry generally managed outside the ‘real estate’ space which means that it’s been largely under the radar to date. One of our biggest challenges has been the mistaken assumption that this consumer market isn’t online – and so it’s been extremely difficult for consumers to locate what they need. Rather than competing with real estate portals, we can add value by helping to promote retirement listings better through aggregation and making them easier for consumers to find.”
Graham says Seniors Housing Online wants to talk to any property portals which have retirement properties listed in any country, and is offering a free 6 month subscription in order to grow listings and traffic, and develop partnerships.