The Global Wellness Institute has released its first report on wellness real estate and communities, Build Well to Live Well.
The organisation estimates that the global wellness real estate market was worth US$134bn (€108bn, £94bn) in 2017, and projects it will grow six per cent a year, to US$180bn (€145bn, £126bn), by 2022.
The US is the largest market, worth US$52.5bn (€42bn, £37bn), followed by China, Australia and the UK, and the GWI estimates that there are 740 projects worldwide in the pipeline that meet the criteria for wellness real estate.
The 150-plus page report defines wellness real estate and communities as facilities that "intentionally put people’s health at the centre of design, creation and redevelopment".
The GWI says consumer demand for healthy homes is outstripping supply: in the US, for example, there are 1.3 million potential buyers each year but with a pipeline of 355 projects.
“Collectively, we must shake-up our thinking: healthy homes are as important as immunisations; parks, paths, and plants are as beneficial as prescriptions; friends and neighbours are far more important than Fitbits,” said Katherine Johnston, GWI senior research fellow.
“All the industries that create our home environments – real estate investors, urban planners/designers, architects, transportation planners, the construction industry – play a massive role in human health.
"And they need to partner to meet the desperate need – and fast-rising demand – for healthier homes and communities.”
The report found that wellness real estate has grown 6.4 per cent annually since 2015, and represents 1.5 per cent of the annual global construction market, and half the size of the global green building industry (US$260bn). The US, along with a few key Asian countries (China, Australia, India) and Europe (UK, Germany), account for three-quarters of the market.
In five years, the pipeline for wellness lifestyle real estate and communities has gone from a handful of projects to over 740 built, partially built, or in development, across 34 countries today.
Among more than 740 projects, GWI estimates that there are over 1.5 million units or homes either already built, or planned to be built out, over the next two decades. They account for more than 560,000 acres of land and will house more than 4.1 million people.
The GWI posits that emerging wellness living concepts will drive future development.
These include: a trend towards the strategic integration of homes, co-working facilities and wellness programming; a move by developers to collaborate with governments to bring wellness-infused homes to lower-income populations; a renewed interest in multigenerational and diverse neighbourhoods; a concentration of hospitals and health services for consumers mixed with wellness-focused neighbourhoods; a move from green to regenerative living, where communities produce their own food and renewable energy; a leveraging of technologies to create smart-healthy homes and cities; and a rediscovering of hot springs as a wellness living anchor.
“Our existing built environment has a massive and increasingly negative impact on our physical and mental health,” said Ophelia Yeung, GWI senior researcher.
“We'll never address skyrocketing chronic disease and health costs without dramatically transforming where and how we live.
"We’ve got to shift investment into the places that give us the most outsized health returns: our homes and communities.”
To read more about the Build Well to Live Well report, see Spa Business Q1 2018.
Top 10 Countries for Wellness Real Estate – Market Size
Country Market Size (US$ millions)
South Korea US$4.2bn
Top Ten Countries - Projects in Pipeline