Waaay back in 2004, GWS trends forecasters predicted the rise of what they then called “spa real estate.” The word “wellness” was so new, that wellness itself was another trend identified that year, and we made the provocative claim that it was the next “trillion-dollar industry.”

In those 16 years, according to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), wellness real estate and communities has grown into a thriving, far more comprehensive $134 billion global market, spanning all developments that intentionally put people’s health at the center of design and creation.

It was the next frontier in real estate pre-COVID, and the pandemic has only supercharged consumer interest and sales. The long lockdown and the perma-trend of work from home has meant that we’ve been freshly interrogating our homes, and more people now understand the outsized impact that our built environment has on our physical and mental health. So more people want to live in spaces purpose-built for wellness: far more nature and sustainability, communities that “design in” meaningful connections with others, developments that serve up lots of wellness programming, and homes that tackle hygiene and safety via architecture, working to create a pure, health-optimizing “home biome,” whether through air and water purification or circadian lighting.

More real estate experts and developers are now arguing that, “wellness real estate is moving from elective to essential.” Lists of real estate and design trends coming out of COVID-19 agree that wellness in the home is one of the world mega-trends. Wellness real estate projects are reporting eye-opening sales (even during an intense economic downturn). A few examples: More than half of Rancho La Puerta’s new The Residences were reserved with deposits by late September, before any shovel had broken ground; the soon-to-open Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences on Singer Island in Florida reported contracts were being signed at four a week.

The future: incredibly sophisticated wellness developments (and Asia figures big here). When Tri Vananda open in Phuket, Thailand in 2022, it will be take the wellness community to new places: 230 acres of lakes and low-density, sustainable villas; organic farms; meditation pavilions; a spa; state-of-the-art functional medicine facilities and doctors on-site. It was designed for multiple generations (a key future trend in real estate) and teaching next generations about farming and zero waste.

If the GWI predicted in 2018 that wellness real estate/communities would be the fastest-growing wellness sector they tracked through 2022 (growing to $198 billion), it might be safe to say that despite–no, because of–the pandemic, that estimate may be too low.

Wellness communities are not just billionaire developers installing private steam rooms and infrared saunas. Read the GWI’s recent report on how a more inclusive concept of wellness could remake our homes/built environment post-COVID, and the role that communities, businesses and governments can play in building healthier homes and communities for all people.
Because the wellness real estate market is even more packed with opportunity, the Global Wellness Summit is offering registered delegates a special experience at the pioneering, successful wellness community, Serenbe, outside Atlanta. The two-day wellness retreat, with GWS chair and CEO Susie Ellis, will feature special presentations on developing a wellness community. LEARN MORE

Summit Trend in the News

What do wellness and health have to do with buying a home? A lot, it seems South China Morning Post  

How the pandemic is making a real estate property's “wellness” a vital factor in its appeal and value, and how wellness-focused features in homes are surging in importance. 
These are the 7 requests clients will make post COVID-19Architectural Digest
AD’s experts predict how the pandemic will drastically change our live-work spaces. A key trend: all kinds of wellness and health integration in homes: meditation areas, spa-style bathrooms, a premium on outdoor space, integrated health electronics, anti-bacterial and antimicrobial surfaces, and more.
COVID-19 era: Wellness-focused real estate in focus IndiaInfoOnline

A recent ANAROCK survey finds that for better-off Indian consumers, COVID-19 has meant a rapid sea-change in the most desired real estate features: wellness has become a core premium consideration. 
Fitwel and the Center for Active Design launch COVID-19 "Research to Action" series, tool to help landlords and tenants collaborate on wellness strategies

In response to the pandemic, and mounting research that the built environment has a powerful impact on human health, Fitwel and the Center for Active Design have created evidence-based strategies for real estate professionals, designers and tenants to mitigate the spread of illness and build community trust. 
The doctor will see you now—without leaving your home­ – Architectural Digest
In housing developments and apartments, gyms, pools, and party rooms are sitting empty. But amenities focused on wellness and healthcare—rather than leisure—are on the rise in the COVID-19 era, one sign of how competitive wellness real estate offerings are becoming.

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