GWI reveals growing global demand for wellness real estate and communities

Consumer demand for wellness real estate and wellness communities is on the rise around the world, according to a new report.

Research presented at the Global Wellness summit (GWS) in Palm Beach, Florida last week reveals that homes positioned as wellness real estate or communities currently fetch a market price that is around 10-15% higher than average.

Global data also supports the increased appetite for wellness-centric living. This includes research by American Lives, which found that 25% of house buyers are “very interested” in the prospect of living in a wellness community.

The research was an extract from Building Well to Live Well, an 80-page report by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) – the umbrella organisation to which the GWS belongs – set to be published in January.

Speaking at the 2017 Global Wellness Summit at The Breakers hotel in Florida, GWI researchers revealed that there are currently more than 600 wellness real estate and communities projects around the world.

The number of these projects, which are in different stages of being completed, being built, or in the pipeline, falls far short of the demand. Earlier this year, the GWI estimated the wellness real estate and communities market to be worth US$119 billion a year and growing at an annual rate of 9%.

By 2020, the GWI predicts, the market will be worth US$153bn. Speaking at the GWS, senior GWI researcher Katherine Johnston (above), said:

“The home is the last frontier in wellness. Our homes and communities have had a massive, negative impact on our wellbeing, as they were designed following templates set up decades ago to meet the health and lifestyle needs of a radically different era. 

“But now we’re at the beginning of a new movement in home and community design that tackles our uniquely modern problems: sedentary lives, unhealthy diets, stress, social isolation and loneliness, pollution and nature-deprivation and it’s creating powerful opportunities.”  

The research makes a clear distinction between wellness real estate and wellness communities.

Wellness real estate, the GWI states, is “homes and buildings proactively designed and built to support the holistic health of their residents.” A wellness community is “a group of people living close by who share common goals, interests and experiences to pursue wellness in a holistic, multidimensional way.”

Wellness real estate is designed to improve the environment we live in, through materials, facilities, technology and design elements such as air, water, lighting and sound.

To move from wellness real estate and become a wellness community, a development needs to also feature elements that actively encourage a healthier lifestyle and foster a sense of community.

This can, the GWI research concluded, range from art and music events to health and wellness-focused classes and programmes, such as at the Serenbe wellness community in Georgia, USA. 

It could also include the inclusion of fitness facilities or design elements that encourage residents to move, such as numerous staircases or generous public spaces.

Examples of this include The Interlace project in Singapore, and Via Verde in New York, USA. A wellness community, the GWI said: “Is about social connectivity, and a broader awareness that our actions affect other people and our planet.

“It’s about designing housing and environments that are not only net-zero but net-positive to the social and physical environment.”