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Building on a Wellness Foundation

October 5, 2021

New research reveals the wellness real estate market almost doubled in three years, jumping from US$148 to US$275billion

According to the latest data from the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the wellness industry is building up and branching out to the real estate sector. The GWI, the leading research organization for the wellness industry, has tracked the extraordinary growth of the wellness real estate market from 2017-2020 and the results will impact the future decisions of investors, developers, architects, designers and medical experts.

As defined by the GWI, wellness real estate includes residential or commercial properties that incorporate wellness elements in their design, materials, and construction, as well as their amenities, services or programming. Building on a strong foundation, the global market grew 22% on average annually, expanding from $148 billion in 2017 to $275 billion in 2020.

As evidence of its strength and durability, the wellness real estate market weathered the COVID storm. While global construction shrank -2.5% from 2019-2020, wellness real estate continued its upward trajectory, growing by a staggering 22%.

Seven countries – the US, China, Australia, the UK, Japan, France and Germany – account for 82% of the wellness real estate market. While the US and China make up around 60% of the sector, other countries have seen exponential growth in the three-year period. Japan and Canada experienced 360% and 240% growth respectively, while the UK, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Singapore, Norway, Italy and Finland doubled their markets.

Much of this growth can be attributed to a surge in wellness residential projects. In 2018, the GWI counted 740 projects within this sector. Today, the GWI has identified at least 2,300 wellness residential projects worldwide that are built, under construction or in development. These include multifamily projects, hospitality-based wellness real estate, co-living communities, or aged care homes with a wellness component.

Katherine Johnston, GWI senior research fellow, says several key factors are driving this development. “So many macro forces – our fast-aging world, our stress and loneliness crises, the rise of remote work, a consumer demanding more sustainable living – means the growth trajectory for wellness homes and building design will only rise.” As Johnston explains, the global pandemic also brought the concept of wellness real estate into sharp focus and delivered a few home truths. “COVID-19 forced us to see our homes and built environment in a radically new light, as the protectors and enablers of our very health and wellbeing. Wellness real estate is now quickly moving from elective to essential.”

This trend was the point of discussion at the GWI’s recent Wellness Real Estate and Communities Symposium in New York. Exploring the future of the wellness real estate market, the expert panel identified several other factors driving the sector.

Technology: Whether it’s air purification devices, touchless design, advances in telemedicine or the creation of community-minded apps like Sugar, technology will play a critical role in the booming wellness real estate sector.

The Work-from-Home Revolution: With the work-from-home model now commonplace, there’s a growing demand for wellness-focused spaces and flexible home ownership models.

Baby Boomers: Given that the WHO predicts the 60+ population will double by 2050, Baby Boomers will reinvent senior living models with a focus on multi-generational connections, social communities and active lifestyles.

The real estate market is undergoing a wellness makeover and creating a burgeoning industry that drives home the need for smarter designs, cleaner environments and healthier amenities.

TAGS: Wellness