Real estate developer Difference Living targets Europeans in Bang Saray, Chon Buri

Construction News
Difference Residence varies from Western retirement homes, offering a village environment within a landscaped park with many trees, ponds and seating areas.

Real estate developer Difference Living targets Europeans in Bang Saray, Chon Buri

Cheaper cost of living fuels exodus

02 Apr 2019

Europeans are flocking to Thailand for retirement — fleeing high eldercare costs and cold weather — and some savvy real estate developers are cashing in on the trend.

Helmut Buchberger, managing director of Difference Living Co, said properties with services for retirees during their golden years (ages 65-80) are fulfilling a need in the residential sector.

Consisting of 678 units in the residence, Difference is built on 88 rai in Bang Saray, Chon Buri.

Aged 79, Mr Buchberger said travelling around Southeast Asia taught him that seniors can happily spend their retirement in Thailand at a fifth of the cost in Germany.

“The desolate eldercare situation in Europe has forced many people to find a new living environment,” he said. “Typical age-related illnesses contribute to more elderly leaving Europe and moving to warmer countries. This has led to increasing demand, especially among the elderly from Western countries.”

Helmut Buchberger

Thailand is projected to become an ageing society by 2021, when the number of people aged over 60 reaches 13.1 million or 20% of the population. According to the National Economic and Social Development Council, the number of residents over 60 is increasing from 11.8 million or 17.1% of the population in 2017.

“To embrace older residents, we built a different residence with exceptional elderly care,” said Mr Buchberger at the launch.

The ambience of the properties is similar to that of a hotel resort, where care and attention are prioritised by residents.

The Terrace Houses is a three-storey apartment building with an indoor garden, cafe, roof garden and bar, and three elevators.

Every apartment is furnished and has individually controlled air conditioning. Each apartment has 36 square metres of private gardens with direct access to a small stream and is separated from neighbours by two-metre bush fence.

“On top of all Terrace House units is a roof garden consisting of various plants and biodynamic vegetables. Our residents are invited to garden and maintain their own vegetable patches,” Mr Buchberger said.

“All Terrace House units are suitable for residents with reduced mobility and are equipped with emergency buttons in the living area, balcony, bathroom and beside the bed. Sprinkler systems are in every room. Non-slip tiles and safety rails are in all bathrooms.”