Southern European countries have the most undeveloped markets and offer the best opportunities to investors, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s Senior Housing & Healthcare Investment Briefing, which was held at MIPIM in Cannes.
Europe is still very divided when it comes to senior housing and healthcare, with marked differences between countries and markets. Demographic trends are quite similar but what changes is social conditions, habits and traditions.
‘I see Italy and Spain as the countries that offer the most opportunities,’ said Alessandro Sparaco, Managing Partner, Threestones Capital. ‘There is a serious lack of product and shifting attitudes’.
Italy has the second-highest percentage of elderly people in the world after Japan. Traditionally, families have looked after older members at home unless they need specialised medical care, but now things are changing as people are more mobile and often move to a different city for work.
‘There is a lot of interest because the market is completely underdeveloped,’ said Davide Braghini, Partner, Co-Head of Real Estate, GOP. ‘Historically Italy has been a country where families were very present supporting older members, but all that is changing quickly’.
In the Italian market there is a huge difference between health care, which is heavily regulated and supported by the government and senior living, which is completely private and basically unregulated, he said.
‘Clever investors are looking at both the property element and the management element, there are different models and it’s too soon to say which will prevail in Italy as the asset class is still developing,’ Braghini said. ‘But if you are the first mover in a potentially big market like Italy then you are in a very good position’.
In Italy ‘many investors are shifting from the more traditional residential offers to new types like senior living with strongly integrated service levels within the real estate offer,’ said Paola Delmonte, Chief Business Development Officer, CDP Investimenti
In Europe demand is very different from region to region, said Sparaco: ‘In Germany there is a lot of demand from people who are in good health and like to have a good quality of life in a social environment instead of living alone in an apartment’.
There are over 1,000 assisted living apartments and the occupancy rate is very high, he said. The same applies to Northern Europe and the Nordic countries, where the senior living market is well developed.
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