It’s the non-stop pace of our digital lives. An
increasingly isolated and aging population. Rising chronic illness. Climate
change. Given the pressures of the modern world, a gym membership and taking
the occasional “mental health day” often just aren’t enough to maintain a
One way to achieve optimum wellness, experts and developers
say, is by choosing a home that is designed for it.
The wellness real estate boom worldwide, which took off in
commercial buildings with the introduction of the WELL Building Standard in
2014 as workers sought healthier office environments, is now poised to explode
into the residential market, according to a 2018
report by the nonprofit Global Wellness Institute.
Homes designed for wellness usually start with
energy-efficient and sustainable construction. Indoor components like natural
lighting, air quality, acoustics, proximity to green spaces and exercise
facilities, as well as non-toxic paints and finishes take it to the next level.
Researchers at the Miami, Florida-based Global
Wellness Institute say the international wellness real estate market is
now a $134 billion industry. The number of wellness-oriented properties
(including residential, mixed-use and commercial) has grown 6.4% annually since
2015 and is expected to continue growing at that pace through 2022, to reach
$180 billion—half the size of the global “green” building industry, according
to the report, which was released in January.
The U.S. leads the market share at $52.5 billion, followed
by China, Australia and the U.K. According to the report, there are more than
740 existing or planned residential projects in 34 countries that include
large-scale master planned communities and urban/suburban mixed-use
Particularly in the U.S., while health care spending
soars, “we’re becoming more unhealthy as we live longer,” said Ophelia
Yeung, a senior research fellow at the Global Wellness Institute who
co-authored the report, called “Build Well to Live Well: Wellness Lifestyle
Real Estate and Communities.” Naturally, Ms. Yeung said, this conflux has led
to people asking themselves “why they invested their life savings in a home
that is not keeping them well.”
In the heavily
polluted metropolises of Asia and India, homebuyers are increasingly
looking for a refuge from gritty city streets, so high-end air and water
purification systems, indoor landscaping and natural furnishings are
“In these urban areas, the indoor environment is going to
be so important for them — it’s a sanctuary where they’re going to escape to,”
Ms. Yeung said. “It’s not just about pampering.”
The luxury real estate industry’s answer to that need is a
slate of wellness-oriented properties ranging from shiny beachfront condos to
self-contained urban high-rises to private villas nestled within lush private
The common denominator, developers, sales managers and
researchers told Mansion Global, is that residents’ overall health and
well-being is central to the design and function of the home.
That translates to a variety of amenities and services—from
the standard on-site restaurant serving gourmet organic meals—to the cutting
edge, like a personalized wellness plan for each member of the household,
offering professional assistance on nutrition, weight loss goals, meditation
practices and more.
“There is a recognition that building for human health is
going to be the core (value),” in the real estate market going forward, Ms.
Yeung said. “When you look at it from that perspective, it’s a whole lot bigger
than the luxury apartment with the spa, the gym, the swimming pool.”
Indeed, at some newer high-end developments, staff begin
assessing a homeowner’s health and wellness needs the moment a contract is
At the 120-acre Canyon Ranch resort in Lenox,
Massachusetts, residents moving into one of the 19 new condominiums consult
with a personal wellness adviser who then assembles a team of specialists
to carry out their individualized wellness plan— including on-site physicians,
nutritionists, exercise physiologists, behavioral counselors and spiritual
wellness experts. Memberships with access to the full range of personalized wellness
services are $9,000 annually for one person or $12,000 for a couple, in
addition to homeowners association fees, spokeswoman Alexis Chernoff said.
The resort, located in the mountainous Berkshire region of
Massachusetts, lends itself to multiple outdoor wellness activities. Residents
can partake in weekly yoga sessions on the estate’s sprawling lawn or
interactive six-course dinner parties that include lectures by a local farmer
as diners gather their own ingredients from the garden, General Manager Mindi
Morin said. Access to kayaking, hiking and biking is close by.
The one- and two-bedroom units are priced between
$1.35 and $3.5 million; 10 out of 19 have sold since sales began last
year. For many residents, the condo is their second or third home, but at
least one resident decided to live there full-time after visiting the resort
for years, Ms. Morin said.
“It’s the lifestyle that they want to live, and it’s really
hard when you’re (only) here for a small amount of time,” she said.
The Canyon Ranch brand has several properties around the
U.S., including the long-established Tucson, Arizona, resort, which has 100
luxury residences. The company calculated that prospective buyers who already
have a home elsewhere would be willing to pay a premium to hold the keys to a
resort property in the Northeast.
The Global Wellness Institute data supports that. According
to the report, prospective homeowners are willing to pay 10% to 25% premiums
for homes in wellness developments at the middle and upper end of the market,
partly because supply hasn’t yet met demand. One survey cited in the report
claims an estimated 1.3 million annual potential buyers for “wellness-infused
homes and communities” in the U.S.
Wellness is Ageless
While these developments are a natural fit for many active
retirees, a significant population of younger buyers is interested in the
wellness lifestyle, experts said.
Texas native Will Robinson, 45, bought a two-bedroom,
two-bathroom condo overlooking a golf course and pool at Tao Ocean Residences
in Mexico, about a 90-minute drive south of Cancún. While beachfront villas at
Tao are priced up to US$750,000, Robinson bought his inland unit for a
song—$184,000—in 2012, following a decision to pack up his Denver home and
retire early from a successful career in sales.
“I liked the idea of living in a community with
like-minded people who were healthy and wanted to work out—that was a huge
aspect,” said Mr. Robinson, who starts most days in the gym at Tao’s Wellness
About 80% of residents are Canadian and American, sales
director Paulina Almeida said, noting that Tao’s unique wellness lifestyle
is not for everyone.
“We are not just selling a residence,” she said. “We’re
actually selling a community,” comprised of homeowners who are interested in
interacting with their neighbors and their environment.
Residents are invited to take Spanish classes on site and
volunteer in the surrounding Mayan communities, maybe by teaching English to
local children, caring for the endangered sea turtle population or
participating in beach clean-ups, Ms. Almeida said.
Wellness Via App
Developers of the Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences in
Palm Beach County, Florida, are building twin beachfront towers on Singer
Island where all residents get a personalized wellness assistant, via app, that
is available 24/7 to guide them on a chosen wellness plan. One might ask for a
reminder to eat a healthy lunch and then have the “assistant” search local
eateries and order the meal for delivery, said Dilip Barot, CEO and
Founder of Creative Choice Group, which is developing the property.
“More and more people have started prioritizing their
health, almost like part of a balance sheet,” Mr. Barot said.
The app will be designed exclusively for the property, Mr.
Barot said, though it could function similarly to those found on the general
market like 8fit.
Sales recently opened at Amrit on 182 units priced between
$700,000 and $4 million, with the first occupants expected in 2019. Plans
include a meditation garden and outdoor yoga studio, with classes
available through a partnership with the Himalayan Institute.
Indoors, options such as heated reflexology floors,
remote-controlled aromatherapy walls and vitamin C-infused showers can add an
extra $10 to $15 per square foot to the price of the condo, Mr. Barot said.
In New York City, residents of the new Gramercy Square
development can use an app to book meditation classes in a tranquil
600-square-foot sanctuary a short walk from their homes. The classes are
offered by the MNDFL meditation
studio through an exclusive partnership with the property. Residents
get two free 30-minute meditation classes per month, with additional classes,
private sessions and special events priced a la carte, said Heather Cook, a
senior vice president and managing director at Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Wellness for all?
For now, the high end of the real estate market seems to
have a firm grip on the value of wellness properties, but experts agree it will
soon gain wider appeal in lower segments of the market. As the products
and materials used to construct such homes become more popular, costs will come
down, said Kavita Kumari, principal engineer at Cundall, a London-based
multidisciplinary engineering consultancy, who works with developers of
ultra-lux sustainable properties in the UK, Asia and elsewhere.
“That’s where … the lower end of the real estate market
will catch on,” Ms. Kumari said.
Ms. Yeung, the Global Wellness Institute researcher, said
broad consumer awareness is “just being awakened.”
Within three to five years, she said, the mid-market will
catch up with the luxury segment and it is “going to come like a tsunami.”
here for the original article from Mansion Global.