The GCC’s healthcare sector has shown “solid growth” in the past few years, driven by investments in hospitals and infrastructure, according to a research report by Mashreq bank and research firm Frost & Sullivan.
The GCC’s healthcare sector registered the highest growth worldwide in the last decade, the report said. At the same time, COVID-19 has changed industry-level trends, opening up new real estate investment opportunities that are expected to persist well into the second half of 2021.
Overall, investments in the GCC’s healthcare sector are expected to reach USD 89 billion by 2022. With real estate investments in healthcare also expected to increase, this could entail portfolio additions as investors brace for a quicker recovery and long-term growth potential.
HEALTHCARE REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Part of the investment emphasis is on extended care infrastructure, and private players are expected to boost market growth in the next three to five years.
About 7% of the population in GCC countries is aged 60 years and above, with the ageing population the region set to grow rapidly. In the next decade, those aged 60 years and above will compose 20% of the population.
This demographic accounts for around half of all visits made to healthcare facilities, with a demand for long-term care (LTC) beds. Saudi Arabia, for instance, faces a gap of over 12,000 LTC beds. While government initiatives across the GCC have been announced to increase the number of beds by 24,000 over the next 10 years, just about 14% of this capacity was achieved in 2020.
The market for extended care services in the GCC is expected to be worth USD 3.46 billion by 2025, growing at an annual rate of 12%. Saudi Arabia and UAE are expected to account for most of this growth, representing around 76% of forecasted market revenues.
Oncology is another bright spot for real estate investment opportunities in the GCC, driven by the need for capital equipment, cancer specialty hospitals, and multi-specialty private hospitals with cutting-edge technological infrastructure. Currently, about 30-40% of capital equipment for cancer imaging have been in use for over seven years, and major advancements in this space are yet to come.
Further, private sector real estate investment opportunities for hospitals and clinics providing mother and childcare services are opening up. While this space is mostly dominated by exclusive, public sector-established maternal health hospitals and clinics, private sector participation in this space is expected to grow by 2025.
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