People around the world are becoming more aware of and concerned that to a large extent, their homes and communities have not been built to support their wellbeing. Studies show that urban and built up areas without green spaces are bad for our health but increasingly the world’s population is living in cities and highly dense areas. In addition, air pollution, now the biggest environmental risk of early death, is hard to avoid with 9 out of 10 people breathing toxic air according to the WHO. No wonder, then, that people are looking for alternative ways of living that are more positive for their health and wellbeing and for the planet.
Consequently, wellness lifestyle real estate is a major new trend in residential real estate and the global market is growing quickly – increasing at a rate of more than 6% a year from 2015 to 2022 – when it is projected to be valued at $180 billion. Designing communities around wellbeing for everyday living is happening across the entire residential sector and in markets around the world. According to The Build Well to Live Well 2018 report from the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), consumer demand for healthy homes is outpacing the supply with 1.3 million potential buyers each year.
Wellness lifestyle real estate is a nascent industry that recognizes, and has the potential to meet, today’s immense health challenges. It represents a shift that explicitly puts people’s wellness at the center of the conception, design, creation and redevelopment of our homes and neighborhoods.
Branded spas are adding homes to their portfolios
In the luxury end of the market, wellness brands and spas are creating homes alongside wellness retreats to provide guests with a 24/7 access to world-class wellness facilities, services, and programming. These projects are usually developed by, or in close partnership with, premium spa brands and tend to be exclusive and limited in number where they focus on high-end, luxury experiences and target wealthy buyers who are also frequent patrons of destination spas and for whom the home may be a second or second residence.
GOCO, a spa management and consulting firm, for example is currently developing wellness residences alongside several GOCO wellness retreats around the world, including one adjacent to Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Southern California. Canyon Ranch has leveraged its iconic brand to develop residences beside its two destination spas in Tucson, Arizona as has Aman with Amanyangyuan Residences at the Aman resort in Shanghai.
Wellness residential is on the rise in Asia
While the US is the largest market, Asia is poised for robust growth for wellness lifestyle real projects. The developments in this region are taking several forms: 1) higher-end, mixed-use, master-planned developments in rapidly-growing urban/ suburban regions in countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam; 2) luxury multi-family high-rise buildings in large urban centres (which are more likely to use formal wellness/sustainability certification schemes); 3) luxury vacation/second homes built as part of wellness resorts and destination spas in countries with a strong wellness tourism sector such as Indonesia and Thailand; and 4) co-living style projects that appeal to young singles living in cities.
In China, the second largest market globally, where there is a rapidly expanding middle and upper class and rising concerns about air pollution and urban sprawl, the development pipeline is strong. In South Korea, the expanding market was worth $4.2 bn in January 2018.
Gap Yeong Healing Forest Park in South Korea
Heta’s project for The Stay Healing Park in South Korea, is an example of the trend towards community wellness development. A new kind of experience for living, the scheme comprises three zones for accommodation facilities including hotel, terraced villas and individual housing units of approximately 230 units,
Set in a beautiful woodland setting. The development will be in phases, adding The Stay Healing Park, a multicultural, sports and relaxation area to the existing amenities of Aqua Stay Swimming, Wild Garden, Pension Boutique, Bungalows and Golf Course. The detached villas will have a view of the valley over a private pool, air circulation spine and natural light, sunken entrance courtyard and living spaces opening up over a south facing terrace.
Maximising the healing properties of being in the forest setting are central to the development. Studies have shown that we need 120 minutes in nature each week to reduce stress and promote health and healing. The attraction for guests is that spending even just a weekend here would have a very beneficial effect.
Heta has designed the landscape around the existing trees, placing nature’s beauty and its legacy at the heart of Ga-pyoeng. Our plan respects the natural surroundings, integrating into existing topography and preserving the woodland setting. The development features access to landscaped park with healing gardens, hotel facilities including gym, spa, pool and café while also prioritising a visual connection to the forest. Curved forms respond to the steeply sloped landscape with overhanging terraces floating over tree canopy.
There are several types of gardens to enjoy – Wild Garden, Sculpture Garden, Kitchen Garden, Water Garden, Meadow Garden, Secret Pond Garden – as well as a pedestrian network for exploring the Healing Forest green walkways – Sound Healing, Sight Healing, Scent Healing, Taste Healing, Touch Healing.