The CEE region is fast becoming a test-bed for advanced healthcare in Europe and offers great opportunities for investors, delegates heard at Real Asset Media´s Senior Housing and Healthcare investment briefing, which was held online recently on the REALX.Global platform.
¨In the region there are many start-ups in the care and health sector that are becoming competitive at a global level,¨ said Martin Zsarnoczky, project leader, investor advisor, developer, Matra Resort Senior Living. ¨From a survey we have done, it emerges that CEE is seen as the most investable region in Europe.¨
The pandemic has highlighted the lack of adequate public services and the need for private sector intervention.
¨There are long waiting lists of five to six years to access state nursing homes and very little private offer,¨ said Zsarnoczky. ¨In any case the private sector is focusing on Warsaw, Budapest and the main cities, but 80% of the population lives in the countryside, so that is a huge untapped market¨.
The hope is that international players will come to the region, improve standards and introduce best practice, attracted by the potential of a market of 300 million people, he said.
¨Poland never had a good public health system and now with Covid-19 and an ageing population the problems are coming to the fore,¨ said Kristof Jacunski, CEO, president of the board, founder, Origin Polska. ¨There´s a large population of senior citizens that need good quality private care, especially in rehabilitation.¨
Travel restrictions during the pandemic meant that Poles working abroad could not help their elderly relatives.
Covid highlighted inefficiencies in the public health sector
¨People saw the need for senior living communities, where professional care is available,¨ Jacunski said. ¨The market has really shifted in the last year, because Covid has shown the inefficiencies of the public health sector and forced people to rethink the way they live.¨
Origin Polska is building a large complex in Northern Poland, its third in the country, with senior apartments for almost independent senior living in a community with ReVital wellness centres attached.
Another factor that plays in CEE´s favour is its geographical location. Poland´s proximity to Germany, for example, has created a market for senior living and healthcare facilities for German pensioners at a lower cost than in their home country.
¨Cross-border services will become more and more important,¨ said Jacunski. ¨There are many centres in Poland where only German is spoken. On the Baltic coast, 80% of occupants are German who are there for senior living with rehabilitation facilities. The demand is there regardless of income, and this creates a huge opportunity for us to build a level of quality that is well recognised in Europe and worldwide, but at a much lower cost.¨