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Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate and Communities

news - April 2021

Making the Case for Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate and Communities

Useful information from the Global Wellness Institute.

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THE GLOBAL WELLNESS INSTITUTE (GWI) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower wellness worldwide by educating the public and private sectors about preventative health and wellness. GWI’s research, programs and initiatives have been instrumental in the growth of the $4.5 trillion wellness economy — and in uniting the health and wellness industries.

GWI informs and connects key stakeholders capable of impacting the overall wellbeing of our planet and its citizens, and makes all of its valuable information and resources available at no cost, which allows anyone, anywhere, access. In the passages below, GWI outlines the definitions and benefits of Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate and Communities.

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definitions and core principles

Global Wellness Institute defines wellness lifestyle real estate and wellness communities as follows:

Wellness lifestyle real estate is defined as homes that are proactively designed and built to support the holistic health of their residents.

Wellness community is a group of people living in close proximity who share common goals, interests and experiences in proactively pursuing wellness across its many dimensions. It can be rooted in a purpose-built physical space or can be cultivated around shared culture or social networks without purpose-built structures.

The power of wellness lifestyle real estate lies in its potential to foster wellness communities. Yet, the connection between the two is not automatic. Creating this connection requires a clear intention, along with supporting design and operational principles:

From “do no harm” to optimizing wellness: Beyond just reacting to “sick buildings,” we must intentionally build homes that help us enhance our health and wellbeing.

From passive to active wellness: Our built environment should encourage proactive behaviors and habits that drive wellness.

From hardware to software: Hard infrastructure (“bricks and mortar”) needs supporting policies, management and programming that build social connections and nurture healthy behaviors.

From “me” to “we”: Create awareness that our individual health and wellbeing is intrinsically linked to our broader environment and the people around us.

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The Business Case:

Wellness real estate is a sizable industry poised for rapid growth. Wellness real estate was a $134 billion industry in 2017, growing by 6.4 percent annually since 2015. It is projected to reach $197 billion by 2022.

Buyers have demonstrated that they are willing to pay more for healthier built environments. Wellness lifestyle real estate developments positioned at the middle/upper ends of the market are achieving home sales price premiums averaging 10–25 percent (but these can range widely from 5 percent to 55 percent). One reason for this premium is that there is not enough supply to meet demand. According to one survey, there are an estimated 1.3 million potential buyers each year in the United States alone for wellness-infused homes and communities.

The global pipeline of wellness lifestyle real estate projects is constantly growing. 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.

The Wellness Case:
Holistically and intentionally designed and operated wellness lifestyle real estate can have many positive impacts:

Minimizing environmental impacts on human health: reduce toxic substance exposure; improve sleep, reduce stress; and promote earth-friendly practices.

Supporting behavior change and healthier lifestyles: encourage movement, active lifestyle, mind-body health, and healthy eating; use nature to improve mental/psychological wellbeing.

Fostering a sense of place, community and belonging: smart design can encourage social encounters, increase community interactions, and build trust and civic engagement.

Numerous studies have documented the human impacts of wellness lifestyle real estate. These include an increase in physical activity (walking, stair use, etc.); reduction in smoking rates; health improvements for asthmatic children; increased social interactions with neighbors; and self-reported feelings of increased safety, good health and personal wellbeing.

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