Pet-Parenting Drives Changes in Property Market
As Thais tend to get married later in life and slower economic growth puts even more pressure on the finances of parents when tuition fees for high-quality schools could easily cost more than half a million baht a year, Thailand’s population growth rate has continued to decline since 2016, according to the National Statistical Office of Thailand.
Conversely, pet-related businesses are seeing exceptional growth as the behaviour of pet owners change from being “Pet Lovers” to “Pet Parents” with their pets being pampered with premium food products and services. Pet-related industries in Thailand, which include food, pet-related products, and services, such as hospital and grooming, amounted to THB 36 billion in value or 10% growth from 2018 and is expected to grow 1-5% in 2020.
As the pet-parenting community continues to grow, the real estate sector’s responses to the trend can be seen across several asset classes. An emerging trend of pet-friendly condominium can be seen continuously from developments in recent years, although it is not yet a mainstream product in Thailand. Few projects, such as Maru, The Estelle and the latest project being Petopia at Whizdom The Forestias by MQDC. These projects feature distinct facilities for pets such as pet parks and pet washing stations with a unique set of rules and requirements in place. In contrast, residential developments in other countries such as Japan and Singapore are already familiar with the pet-friendly concept despite owning a pet in those countries being much harder with strict rules to adhere to and various approvals to be obtained.
There has also been movement in luxury hotels and service apartments as IHG just recently launched Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok, a pet-friendly project in the heart of the city where pets are allowed in rooms with a minimal charge in addition to premium services such as pet sitting or dog walking assistance.
After the success and positive feedback of the pet-friendly zone in Central Festival EastVille, the renovation of CentralPlaza Rama II also aims to expand its pet-parenting customer base with a pet community zone comprised of a pet hospital, pet playground, pool and pet shop. The renovation is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.
Real estate market is becoming more competitive and developers need a unique selling point to be successful. Even though pet-friendly properties appeal to a niche market, we will continue to see an increase in demand as the trend of DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) continues to increase in Thailand. Yet, there will be a group of customers who see the pet-friendly concept as discouraging so a balance in pet parenting and mass appeal will be key.
An article written by Yanisa Dechwattanatam, an Analyst at Research and Consulting, CBRE Thailand for Bangkok Post dated 6 October 2020.