‘Fundamentals are driving the French senior housing market’
Growing demand and lack of supply will drive the French senior housing market, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s ‘Where’s the French Senior Living Market headed?’ investment briefing, which was held online yesterday.
‘Looking at the figures it is clear there is only growth ahead for the senior housing market’, Samuel Vetrak, CEO, Bonard. ‘The number of over-75-year-olds will increase by 4%, or 250,000 people, between 2020 and 2025, faster than the average population growth of 1.9%, but the rise in future seniors is even faster’.
The 60 to 74 population is set to increase by 25% in the next five years and the average life expectancy in France is 82.5 years, which means that demand for assisted living is set to increase over the next few years.
The French market is one of the most mature and sophisticated in Europe, yet it is still characterised by a lack of supply. It has a strong pipeline, but even the projects under construction will not close the gap.
It is not only assets that are lacking, but also detailed information and credible data on the market. In order to fill this knowledge gap, Bonard and Mozaic Asset Management have joined forces to produce the first-ever Senior Living Market Report on France, which was presented yesterday at the briefing.
‘It is a fast-growing market but it lacks data and transparency,’ said Frédéric Dib, President, Mozaic Asset Management. ‘More information was needed to make investors feel more confident about entering the market and to help the sector grow. We chose Bonard because of the level of excellence, detail and analytical approach they bring’.
The Bonard team spent three months this spring studying and surveying the market, using primary and secondary sources to give an accurate picture of the current situation and also to point the way forward, identifying the main opportunities.
‘This study is the first of its kind and gives an up-to-date insight into senior living in France and a closer look at the top 20 cities with the highest concentration of people aged 75 and above,’ said Vetrak. ‘The research has identified 433 assisted living establishments in the top 20 cities, that have a cumulative 75+ population of 655,000, so there is a clear lack of supply to meet the growing demand’.
The coronavirus epidemic has shown the importance of well-functioning retirement homes. Now 74% of market experts believe that senior housing will be seen as a stronger sector post-Covid 19 than before, according to a poll conducted by Real Asset Media, while 20% think it will stay as strong as it is now and only 6% think it will not be stronger.
Potential investors are spoilt for choice as there are dozens of locations where demand is high and supply is low in the sector. The provision rate in the top 20 cities in France ranges from 1.7% to 9.7%, with Toulon and Nice providing the biggest opportunities for development of service residences.
Paris is also an interesting market, because it has a provision rate of 4.2% and the largest number of people aged over 75 in France. Angers, Lyon and Toulouse are attracting the most interest by providers as new locations for assisted living establishments.
There is a strong pipeline of 248 developments with a total of nearly 15,000 beds to be open by 2025, but it is not enough to keep up with demand.
Huge demand for retirement residences and shortage of land to build on are leading to repurposing of existing assets.
The average residence built by market leader Domitys, for example, is 6 to 8,000 m2, a significant size, so the company has been looking for alternative solutions to development.
‘All the big investors now focus on senior housing in the big cities,’ said Arnaud Fety, Head of Institutional Investors Department, Aegide-Domitys. ‘So in order to cater for demand we are now negotiating to convert office buildings into senior living facilities. We are doing a huge refurbishment of an asset in Paris and there will be more’.