Continuing care retirement community senior housing in Shanghai: an analysis of the development barriers

Terence Yat Ming Lam*, Junjie Yan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Shanghai is currently faced with a rapid increase in the ageing population and demand for elderly homes. Continuing care retirement community (CCRC) has been emerging as a high-end alternative to offer specialised accommodation to the elderly in major cities. Since the first development in 2008, the industry is now still at the infancy stage. This study aims to examine the investment barriers hindering the supply and demand of CCRCs with an aim to recommend practical and senior housing policy measures to facilitate CCRC developments.

Multiple-case study method was used to confirm whether the literature findings on investment barriers apply to the context of Shanghai. Four representative CCRC development cases in Shanghai were examined, in which qualitative data were collected from interviews with experienced CCRC development managers and quantitative data from a questionnaire survey of the CCRC residents.

Operation management experience, financial risks and government support policy were found to be the main supply barriers. Chinese traditional family-oriented culture and affordability were not the main demand barriers of CCRCs in Shanghai. Poor quality of services and living environment were identified as the main barriers suppressing the demand for CCRC.

Research limitations/implications
Although common trends and views can be drawn from the representative cases in Shanghai to provide valid results, further research should be conducted on other major cities in China so that the results can be widely applied.

Practical implications
Successful CCRC investment strategy should focus on partnering with experienced professional eldercare management companies, provisions of high-quality medical professionals and trained care personnel and delivery of flexible care service, along with intensive capital flows for land, construction and operating costs.

Social implications
Additional senior housing policy support should be established to promote the CCRC supply to address the ageing needs, particularly granting lands for CCRC developments at Tiers 1 and 2 major cities where the land cost is high.

This research’s practical and policy measures can be applied to enable and promote CCRC developments in Shanghai, thus benefitting both housing investors and the government. The findings also form a baseline for CCRC developments in other major cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-799
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis
Issue number4
Early online date13 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

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