All’s wellness

27 July 2018

It looks like housing that puts people’s health at the centre of design, creation and redevelopment is the next frontier in real estate, according to The Global Wellness Institute’s (GWI) Build Well To Live Well report.

Released in January this year, the report found that Australia is the third largest market for wellness real estate, which focuses on developing homes and communities that are aimed at improving the health of the individual, the community and the environment.

While wellness might sound like little more than a buzzword, it’s a rapidly growing market, with wellness real estate predicted to expand 6% per year through to 2022.

The GWI’s report found the Australian wellness real estate market is currently worth $9.5bn based on the construction of residential property that incorporates wellness elements. These include open windows, plants, non-toxic and natural materials, fitness centres, generous public spaces and community gardens.   

Research presented at the Global Wellness summit in Florida in 2017 also found homes deemed wellness real estate were fetching market prices around 10%-15% higher than average.

So what’s driving this growth?

According to the GWI, home buyers and renters are becoming more aware of how their living environments can affect their health.

“Our homes, communities, and surrounding environment directly affect our daily motivations, behaviours, and lifestyle, and these factors determine 80-90% of our health outcomes. Consumers are beginning to recognise this connection and demand housing that puts human health and wellbeing as our top priority,” says the report.

At the same time, the green/sustainable building movement has become mainstream and Australians have become increasingly health conscious.

Research conducted by IBISWorld at the start of the year found Australians are expected to spend less on tobacco, drink less alcohol and eat more fruit and vegetables over the next five years.

As a result, a growing number of Australians are looking for homes that are not only environmentally-friendly, but also support a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, the Australian Government has provided support for the wellness real estate movement. The GWI’s report states Australian governments have been actively involved in the sector at all levels for two decades, working closely with nonprofits to provide guidance, policies, and research/evidence base.

“Alongside the United States, Australia has been a trailblazer for the development of wellness lifestyle real estate. Australia’s growth is driven by similar trends as the United States (population growth, ample land for development, concerns about sprawl), but has also been different than that of the United States – in a sense more centralised, organised, and larger-scale, and with greater guidance from public policy and nonprofits,” says the report.

If this continues then we can expect to see future architectural and interior design trends increasingly influenced by the wellness movement. 

As the editor of BUILD I have a keen interest in sustainable housing and new technologies.