Wellness Real Estate
Wellness in the real estate industry has never received the attention it deserves. Thankfully over the last decade, it is gaining more popularity around the world, due to its appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
Well perhaps we have the COVID-19 pandemic to thank for this, as staying indoors for so long has let more people recognize the importance of wellness in their homes.
And as the Global Wellness Institute reported in one of its Wellness Real Estate and Communities Symposiums; “the pandemic further fueled the shift in the real estate and construction industries toward wellness: from 2019-2020, wellness real estate continued to grow by over 22%, even as overall construction shrank by -2.5%.”
Homes, offices and other buildings are now being constructed with a focus on sustainable materials, green technologies and other environmental-friendly solutions. Wellness real estate is fast becoming the order of the day, quickly moving from optional to obligatory.
What is Wellness Real Estate
The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness real estate as “the construction of residential and commercial/institutional (i.e. office, hospitality, mixed-use/multi-family, medical, leisure, etc.) properties that incorporate intentional wellness elements in their design, materials, buildings, amenities, services, and/or programming.”
They also describe it as “a nascent industry that recognizes, and has the potential to meet, today’s immense health challenges. It represents a shift that explicitly puts people’s wellness at the center of the conception, design, creation and redevelopment of our homes and neighborhoods.”
The kind of environment we live in plays a pivotal role in our health and wellbeing. The World Health Organization believes that 80-90 percent of our health outcomes are determined by our homes and communities, and the way we live in them.
Also, researchers from the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health have found out that because almost 90% of our time is spent indoors, we are constantly exposed to toxic air which has an adverse effect on our health and productivity.
And since “more than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality that exceeds WHO limits”, it is only logical to invest in real estate that enhances our health and wellbeing.
Wellness real estate revolves around creating sustainable environments to improve the holistic wellness of its occupants.
The Growth of the Wellness Real Estate Industry
According to a Global Wellness Institute report titled ‘Build Well to Live Well’, the wellness real estate market has been steadily growing at an annual rate of approximately 6.4% since 2015. Data from the report also says that there are “an astonishing 1.3 million potential buyers each year”.
90% of luxury homeowners say that they are passionate about their personal wellness, and that they prefer real estate properties that provide offerings like meditation spaces, home gyms, in-home air purification systems etc.
This interest in wellness real estate does not come from moneyed individuals alone, as almost 30% of people from all income ranges do not mind the extra cost of buying real estate that focuses on personal wellness.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home is becoming the latest trend, thus necessitating the need to focus on personal health. Going to the gym to work out simply does not cut it anymore, as consumers are looking for living environments that prioritize their physical and mental wellness.
Reports from the Global Wellness Institute have shown that “there are over 740 wellness lifestyle real estate and community developments built, partially built, or in development around the world, across 34 countries—and this number is growing every day. These include master-planned communities, multifamily housing, urban districts and mixed-use projects, resort/spa-based real estate, and other types of projects.”
Based on various studies, the wellness real estate industry is expected to reach a value of $580.3 billion in 2025. Compared with the 2017 research which placed it at $134 billion, it is safe to say that wellness real estate is an industry worth investing in.
Trends in Wellness Real Estate
Wellness real estate includes wellness apartments, wellness condos and even houses. While these properties all differ in their approach to promoting wellness, most of them incorporate the following trends:
The World Health Organization says that “people who are insufficiently physically active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active.”
Exercising is one of the best ways to stay active, but because of inconsistent routines, stress of traveling to gyms and the exorbitant monthly membership fees, more people are looking at exercising at home. Wellness properties make provision for wellness services like exercise spaces, yoga studios, fitness centers and the necessary technologies needed to stream workout sessions and participate with instructors and friends.
Inadequate ventilation is the leading cause of household pollution and according to the World Health Organization; “household air pollution was responsible for an estimated 3.2 million deaths per year in 2020, including over 237,000 deaths of children under the age of 5”.
With people spending more than 90% of their time indoors, there is a need for air purification in order to prevent serious health issues. Wellness real estate properties provide options for in-home air and water purification systems, garden spaces, and more open indoor spaces without restricted walls, thus making indoor pollution a thing of the past.
Lighting has a huge effect on our health, it affects our circadian rhythms, vision and even our mood. Being deprived of natural lighting conditions has been known to have a lot of negative effects on people. And since more time is spent indoors, lighting solutions that will enhance personal wellness needs to be created.
On how wellness real estate will address this, creator of KB Designers Network, Janica Costa explains that wellness buildings will incorporate designs like skylights, sunrooms and new light fixtures to provide the closest mimicry of natural light.
Wellness real estate now assimilate biophilic features that can affect personal health and wellness in a positive way. Nature lovers can now connect with nature and reduce stress right from the comfort of their homes. Natural materials, textures, patterns, technologies and colors are now used in construction to stimulate a feeling of nature. Wellness real estate now provides indoor plants, gardens, fountains, natural views and more.
New design concepts like Biohacking have also emerged. Biohacking involves self-experimenting with the body’s chemistry and physiology in an attempt to improve it. Wellness properties can now include technologies like cryotherapy chambers, red-light therapy beds, hyperbaric oxygen pods and more in order to optimize the wellness of their residents.