ULI and Chinachem Group Unveil Inaugural Senior Housing Report on Investment Potential in Hong Kong

ULI and Chinachem Group Unveil Inaugural Senior Housing Report on Investment Potential in Hong Kong

Call for stronger ageing policies and public/private collaboration to develop senior housing market
19 October 2023

Nearly one in three residents in Hong Kong will be seniors aged above 65 by 2038 and 70 per cent may require healthcare support due to chronic diseases. Yet, there is a shortage of senior housing units available in the market to meet their ageing needs, according to a report released by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Chinachem Group (Chinachem).


Rising demand, combined with limited land availability and high land costs, poses significant challenges for senior housing development in Hong Kong, known to have the world’s longest life expectancy. To accelerate the development of Hong Kong’s senior housing industry, the report urges the government and investors to collaborate in the following areas:


1. More specific land use policies

 a. Assign designated land use categories for senior housing

 b. Provide a preferential land premium for senior housing on residential land to lower cost

2. Incentives for senior housing development for the inclusion of senior-friendly design features

3. Improved healthcare subsidy scheme to expand and include private operators, which will lead to subsidised healthcare in private senior housing

4. Expansion of healthcare services incentives to private operators, encouraging them to make their services more accessible and offering more options for seniors


Hong Kong lagging behind in supply and policy support


To fulfill the priorities of the increasingly affluent seniors, the report calls for stronger ageing policies and public/private collaboration to develop the senior housing market in Hong Kong. At present, Hong Kong’s ageing policies have a limited scope, focusing on funding to non-profit/non-governmental organisations. Limited incentives are provided to the private sector in developing senior housing projects.


In building a robust Hong Kong senior housing market, equally important are factors such as public acceptance and the added value of professional services by the private sector. Therefore, the report recommends that the private sector considers the following when planning for senior housing properties:


1. Development of intergenerational communities

2. Add-on services for seniors for a smooth transition to ageing in place, such as training for domestic helpers and retrofitting of houses

3. Greater use of technology in senior housing to ease the pressure on caretakers


Key learnings from the region


Referencing case studies within the APAC region — Australia, Japan, Mainland China, and Singapore, the report found that the execution of a holistic plan, involving various government departments and an effective mix of land supply and housing development and health, has been critical in lowering the cost of development and operation of senior housing in these markets.


- Australia: One of the most established senior housing markets with a variety of housing options that cater to seniors with varying degrees of care needs; the government provides support to lower costs and promote development.


- Japan: Government healthcare policies provide incentives for senior housing developments; capacity in the private senior housing market expanded by over 160 per cent during 2011-2018.


- Mainland China: Insurance companies are key players in senior housing development; typically set up in tier 1 cities and marketed as exclusive communities with priority provided to customers.


- Singapore: The government has taken the lead in developing various models of senior housing and incorporating senior-friendly designs in public housing developments.


“As baby boomers retire and life expectancies continue to increase, seniors will make up a significant portion of the population in the future. Today’s senior citizens naturally want to enjoy high quality of life after retirement. Policy support and public-private partnerships play an instrumental role to help stakeholders form effective ecosystems to overcome challenges such as limited land supply and high costs of senior housing development,” said Alan Beebe, CEO, ULI Asia Pacific.


“Having started to focus on Hong Kong’s ageing demography in recent years, Chinachem Group is pleased to share with society fresh insights from this Senior Housing Report. Committed to creating positive impact that will benefit senior citizens and their families, bring prosperity through investment in senior housing market, and preserve the planet, we aim at making Hong Kong a more liveable intergenerational community,” said Donald Choi, Executive Director and CEO, Chinachem Group.


The full report can be accessed here.

Corporate Communications
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