Developers are increasingly viewing wellness features as a big selling point for buyers. Wellness was first incorporated into commercial real estate in order to make office environments healthier, but now developers are focused on doing the same for residential buildings as well.
That was the main finding from a report by the Global Wellness Institute, which notes that homes designed with wellness in mind usually focus on sustainable construction and energy efficiency. Indoor components that can increase healthy living include natural lighting, proximity to green spaces, air quality, exercise facilities and nontoxic paints.
The Global Wellness Institute says real estate wellness is a $134 billion industry worldwide, with the number of wellness-oriented properties being built having risen by 6.4 percent annually since 2015. The Institute says the industry will grow to $180 million by 2022, with the U.S. leading in terms of market share.
“We’re becoming more unhealthy as we live longer,” said Ophelia Yeung, a senior research fellow at the Global Wellness Institute. “That has led more people to ask themselves why they’ve invested their life savings in a home that is not keeping them well.”
The study found that many homeowners would be willing to pay a premium for a home or community that incorporates wellness features. Some in the middle and upper end of the market said they’d be willing to pay between 10 percent and 25 percent more than their home’s value. According to Yeung, that’s an indication that human health is becoming a core value in real estate markets going forward.
“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,” Yeung said.
In some high-end housing developments, there are staff available to assess a homeowners’ health and wellness from the moment they move in. For example, condominium owners in Canyon Ranch, Lenox, Massachusetts, are able to consult with a personal wellness adviser who can help them to implement a personal wellness plan. The plans typically include the services of on-site physicians, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, behavioral counselors and spiritual wellness experts.
Wellness is also taking root in lower end real estate markets, said Kavita Kumari, a principal engineer at the London based multidisciplinary engineering consultancy Cundall. Kumari said that as the products and materials used to make healthier homes grow in popularity, their costs are going down. As such, the appeal is already beginning to spread further.