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Wellness is the Next Frontier in Residential Real Estate


The Global Wellness Institute  (GWI) in its report “Build Well To Live Well” found that real estate and communities that intentionally put people’s health at the center of design, creation, and redevelopment are the next frontier in residential real estate. 

Instead of ROI the focus is ROW (Return on Wellness). The “Sun Belt” states of Arizona, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia lead the nation in the number of wellness residential communities.

Here’s a look at seven key wellness living trends that GWI predicts will drive future residential real estate development.


In our current gig economy, powered by freelancers, many working from home, expect to see more work sharing spaces, home offices and ample wellness programming. WeWork is a bellwether for this co-living, co-working movement with its WeLive and Rise by We wellness programs. This rapid rise of remote and freelance work is the main ingredient of “the sharing economy.” 

Affordable Healthy Homes:

Wellness real estate won’t be limited to the luxury market. GWI foresees a future where healthy homes and communities are affordable to all income levels including lower-income populations. Envision communities that integrate low-VOC materials, improved indoor air quality, and green roofs with community gardens, all designed to promote physical activity with walking trails, a fitness center, and ample community spaces, including an amphitheater.

Multigenerational Neighborhoods

Instead of “seniors only” and “active older adults communities,” forward-thinking real estate projects invite the diversity of ages, life stages and social classes. Motivated by the realization that segregation by age, race and class breeds loneliness and may not good for the soul,  wellness communities are emerging that promote social connections among all ages and stages of life.  

Medical Cities:

GWI predicts more world-class wellness communities will develop by combining a geographic concentration of cutting-edge medical industry companies and research organizations. Known as “Medical Cities” one example is right here in Central Florida. Lake Nona Medical City is a prototype for the rest of the nation, successfully catalyzing medical industry clusters and health services with wellness-infused homes and neighborhoods. Lake Nona is anchored on more than a dozen world-class research hospitals, medical centers, human performance and sports training facilities, and tech companies clustered around its wellness-focused homes. 

Regenerative Living

Living a “green lifestyle” means more than sustainable, earth-friendly practices, it’s producing a net positive footprint through regenerative living. Residential communities that produce their own healthy food and renewable energy, clean the air, recycle their water offer this regenerative lifestyle. The concepts of green, biophilic and healthy design go the next level to improve air quality, biodiversity and renewable energy.

Smart-Healthy Homes:

The next generation of smart homes is wired for medical care, bringing on-demand wellness including telemedicine through sensors and artificial intelligence. The Connected City project in Tampa, Florida is under development as a wellness-destination that will combine high-speed technology and the next generation of medical services. Described as “the first Smart Gigabit Community in the United States,”   the community will offer tele-medicine, advanced research facilities, an innovation center, a medical hospital complete with med-spa and a health and performance institute. In addition to the wellness amenities, the Connected City, the area will have two Crystal Lagoons, one in each of Metro’s master-planned communities of Epperson and Mirada. 

Hot Springs:

GWI believes more wellness residences will revolve around natural thermal and mineral springs as people rediscover the therapeutic benefits of communal bathing. These hot springs are wellness anchors for communities. 

Design principles that address the physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of residents are moving from niche to mainstream. GWI predicts wellness real estate will expand 6% yearly through 2022 to reach $180 billion.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food.