news • Apr 18 2024

Living Well: Wellness Communities are the Future of the Real Estate Industry

When it comes to worthwhile investments, people are eager to spend money on their home. In fact, the total value of residential transactions in 2021 was over $2.8 trillion dollars, exceeding the previous highs recorded in both 2020 and 2005 by more than $600 million. In a recent Accenture study, it was determined that consumers see health and well-being as part of the “essential” spending category as well. That’s why wellness had $5.6 trillion in revenue in 2022.

The profitability of these industries has led to the development of wellness communities, where groups of people live in close proximity with a shared goal of promoting their wellbeing. 

These communities truly run the gamut, focused on everything from tropical locations to specific age groups. Either way, their presence is an increasing trend that straddles both wellness and real estate. Here’s a look at how wellness communities are making a name for themselves in a variety of different settings. 

 

Urban Wellness Communities

Wellness communities are booming in urban environments. One of the most famous examples is  Norlana, a community of 711 residential units in Saudi Arabia. Filled with luxe mansions, apartments, and beach villas “merged with the dunes, bringing people closer to nature,” the property has unique features like a 120-berth marina, world-class equestrian and polo center, and an 18-hole golf course. Designed to “redefine active living” while being environmentally-conscious, it’s part of a $500 million development.   

Wellness communities are also booming stateside. The Park in Santa Monica focuses on “modern apartments for beach living defined by curated services focused on wellness and community.” It includes features like a Himalayan salt sauna, meditation rooms, a working library, a 1-acre rooftop with a pool, garden, and dog park. As the CEO shared, The Park emphasizes wellness-based living with community-based events, like pool days and movie nights, to “promote stronger social and mental wellbeing.”

Therme Group’s upcoming US expansion into the DC area is another example of the vast growth of wellness communities. Their properties include features like “thermal bathing, sauna treatments and family-friendly water-based features with cutting-edge architecture, cultural programming and immersive arts experiences.” Viewed as the “antithesis to the metaverse,” the creation of Therme Group’s new property will also boost job opportunities. Bringing in 7,200 construction jobs over two years, as well as 700 to 800 permanent operations jobs. That creates an estimated US$1.1 billion in DC nominal tax revenue flow over 25 years, while also boosting tourism rates to the DC area.

 

Suburban Wellness

One of the best-known wellness communities in America is Serenbe in Georgia.  Filled with planned homes and neighborhoods designed to support residents’ physical, emotional, and “sometimes even spiritual well-being,” according to FastCo, Serenbe has features that include hyperbaric oxygen therapy, cryotherapy, and red-light therapy. Even the name seeks to fill you with peace, because it’s a combination of the words “serene” and “being.” 

The community’s relationship with nature is especially emphasized. As one resident told Realtor, “opportunities to escape into deep woods and trails right in our own backyard are a big draw for us.”  Focused on impeccable design that includes  a strict “no McMansion” rule, each home on the property has to fit a specific district style. Simply put, each neighborhood is carefully curated like a museum or gallery.

 

Rural Wellness

Rural wellness communities can range from “agrihoods,” or agricultural neighborhoods, of which there are about 150 across the country, to elite vacation destinations. The term “agrihood” was created by real estate developers who recognize that Millennials, who are actively buying up real estate these days, don’t care about the traditional wealth measures, like living on a golf course. 

“Millennials aren’t interested in that type of manicured neighborhood,” Business Insider reports. “In today’s culture, where young people favor farm-to-table fare and wax poetic about ‘clean living,’ agrihoods are just what they’re searching for.” 

Rancho Mission Viejo is an agrihood that currently has a working ranch with livestock, orchards and a nature reserve. Focused on promoting “RanchLife,” residents fill their free time with fun activities. There’s even a 55+ section, known as Gavilan. 

The focus on leisure is also a component of wellness communities. Velvære is a 60-acre, 115-home residential ski-in/ski-out wellness community in Park City, where each residence can include customizable in-home sanctuary spaces that “bring the synergetic wellbeing experience fully into the home with environmentally forward design and amenities.” 

Homeowners can choose their own in-home light therapy, plunge pools, saunas, steam rooms, and more, and there’s an on-site integrative wellness center for all community members that includes hyperbaric chambers, floatation pools, nutrition programs, and IV therapy. Tucked in a snowy escape, the entire property is centered around embracing wellness in a stunning atmosphere. 

 

Real estate and wellness are two highly lucrative industries. When they’re combined, their potential is exponential. 

In North America alone, the market is worth $52.5 billion and is growing by 6.4% annually, according to a report by the Global Wellness Institute titled Build Well to Live Well: Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate and Communities. As Fast Company noted, “wellness communities like Serenbe increasingly attract homeowners looking for a refuge from modern life.” With no specific limitations, wellness communities can function in any sort of landscape, whether it’s rural, suburban, or urban. With the tremendous amount of funding that will continue to be poured into real estate and wellness, it’s essential to take on a forward-thinking perspective of how we’ll craft the neighborhoods of the future. 

 

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