Imagine if you did everything right with your healthy lifestyle, but in the end, there still is an elephant in the room that’s making you sick?

Can this even be possible?

Imagine you have a nice morning routine established. Right after waking up, you do some meditation and yoga, go for a HIIT session and feel pumped for the day.

You feel relaxed and ready to face your day job. But there is one more thing you have to do too. You need to get in your car and hit the road.

And driving is not what you do for most of the time during commuting. It’s stop and go, stressed out drivers worried about arriving too late at work.

Once you get to your workplace *puff* the nice effect of your morning routine is already gone. You might even have the possibility of working from home for 1-2 days a week.

In this case, I am glad you have such good working conditions. Good for you. With some luck, you have some more incentives in your company.

Maybe you have some nap time options, a meditation room or a playing area where you can decompress for a bit during the low energy phase in the afternoon.

Again, I am happy for you, if you found such a nice work environment. But then, your work shift is over and you have to hit the road again and do some driving – or should I rather call it stopping and going – back home.

Then you get home and you realize “Crap, I need to get some groceries. I completely forgot about that!”

So, now you go to your car again and drive some more miles to hit the supermarket and then the gym or vice versa.

I don’t know how you feel about this, but to me, this sounds a bit stressful. You might even get stressed by trying to follow a healthy daily routine.

In some way or form, this might look like what you are doing day in and out.

The reason why this happens very often has to do with the way many homes and environments have been built in the last century.

They reinforce lifestyles that make you and me sick, stressed, alienated and, in the end, unhappy.

Yes, many things have changed to the positive.

Comparing some buildings from the past to the ones that we have today, you might come to the conclusion that some high-level security prisons today look nicer and friendlier than some buildings from the past.

Thanks to science and technology, we can better control infectious diseases and increase the level of comfort, convenience, entertainment, and telecommunication in our homes.

But still, the more or less toxic modern living environments have created new health risks.

Some of them are the following:

  • Sedentary lifestyles
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor diet
  • Stress
  • Social isolation
  • Environmental degradation
  • Respiratory and chronic diseases

As you could read from the above scenario, most of the built environment favors driving over biking, sitting over walking, riding elevators over using the stairs, texting over face-to-face conversations, and screen time over outdoor recreation.

On one side, you can see the negative effects of many living environments on the body and the mind and on the other side, you can see that many people don’t want it anymore and are sick of it.

You can see this for example with the generation of the Millennials, who value their health like gold.

And the real estate industry took a very long time to catch up with this demand.

Translating this into to numbers, you can also see that not only Millennials are the ones that have increased the demand for wellness real estate.

In 2017, the GWI estimated the wellness lifestyle real estate and communities market at $119 billion, growing at a fast 9% a year.

By the year 2020, it is expected to jump to $153 billion. Putting this into perspective, wellness real estate is still less than half the size of the green building industry ($260 billion) and less than 2% of the size of the worldwide construction industry.

What GWI’s researchers also report is that it is still a challenge to convince the financial community to invest.

This community still prefers the established, already-proven models like golf courses or traditional spas.

A Definition Of Wellness Real Estate

The goal of wellness real estate is to put people’s wellness at the center of the conception, design, creation, and redevelopment of all kind of housing and neighborhoods.  

9 Wellness Initiatives and Others That Have Been Nurturing Wellness Real Estate

When reading the above you might think that nothing has been done towards improving lifestyle with different real estate projects.

Don’t get me wrong, that can’t be further from the truth. It’s not that nothing has been done towards improving the lifestyle with different real estate projects.

Wellness real estate is not a completely new real estate niche, but rather the conclusion of different methods, movements, and initiatives that have already been applied in different projects in the past.

It is inspired by many movements and initiatives of the past and then integrates and combines the best features through a wellness lens of several different layers.

To make something into a wellness property, you ask this question:

What different building blocks of methods and movements of the past can support the goal of getting not only the best return on investment on a given property but also the best return on wellness?

These building blocks that can be combined with today’s wellness real estate industry have been done so far in the past:

In the Pre-1900s:

  • Wellness Getaways like Spa Towns, Destination Spas, Health Resorts, Vacation and Second Homes
  • Intentional Communities like Co-Housing/Co-Living and Religious Spiritual Communes

In the Early-1900s:

  • Policy and Planning Movements on Public Health, Healthy Cities, Resilient Cities, Smart/Digital Cities, Affordable/Social Housing
  • Planned Communities offering a better appeal and lifestyle to specific interests, like garden cities, new towns, urban planning, master-planned communities, golf communities, and retirement communities.

Started in the 1970s:

  • The food movement with community gardens, urban farms, community sponsored agriculture, farmers’ markets, local food/slow food, farm-to-table, Agri hoods

Started in the 1980s:

  • Design movements to deal with targeted needs and populations like Vastu/Feng Shui, Universal/Inclusive Design, Trans/Multi-Generational Design, Biophilic Design, Active Design.
  • New Urbanism reinventing compact traditional, walkable community design characteristics like placemaking, mixed-use, transit-oriented, smart growth, traditional neighborhood design and form-based codes.

Started in the 1990s:

  • Technology and innovation like mobile devices, social media, sensors, smart homes, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and material science that can improve the living environments and create virtual communities.
  • Green/Sustainable building principles like environmental justice, energy star, LEED/BREAM, regenerative/living buildings, ecovillages/eco-cities help to build in a responsible, sustainable, and resource-efficient way to cut the harm to the environment.

Started in the 2000s:

  • Wellness lifestyle & communities focusing on putting human wellbeing and health at the center of the housing and neighborhood design using metrics and characteristics like holistic, physical & virtual, connection & community, evidence-based, return-on-wellness, and trademarks like well /fitwell etc.

So, it is only a matter of time until future wellness real estate and communities will use technologies and innovation in ever smarter ways.

At some point, artificial intelligence will help to find the best reply to the above question:

Which different building blocks of methods and movements of the past can support the goal of getting not only the best return on investment on a given property but also the best return on wellness?

There will be the familiar metrics of return on investment, but also new and better metrics to capture the Return on Wellness (ROW) will emerge.

Investors will not calculate only the ROI but also the ROW since this is what the customer will look for in a new property.

Maybe it will be the ROIW (multiplying ROI with ROW) that will measure future investments.

What’s in it for you?

Sounds all nice and great and so what…?! What’s in it for you?

If you are an investor, there is a huge untapped market that is still in its beginning phases and will continue to extend also to mainstream housing for lower income classes in the future.

As always, most of the time new market developments are first consumed and used by the higher income sector.

Let’s take cell phones for example. You could buy the first ones only when you also bought a high-end car.

Now, there are almost more smartphones in the world than people having access to water.

In my humble opinion, the same will happen with wellness real estate projects and properties.

Now, you can still find properties and projects in the higher income segments most of the time.

However, sooner or later lower income sectors will be able to buy them too. Right now, there are more than 600+ projects worldwide in the making.

I will soon be reviewing many of them for you here.

At some point, you, as an investor or deal maker like me, will have to ask not only for the ROI but also for the ROW in order to be able to do deals.

And if you are a buyer and ask yourself what’s in it for you, I have some good news for you too, with some first data points.

According to a Gallup Active Living Study residents of places that score highest for “active living environment” (walkability, bike-ability, parks) experience significantly lower rates of issues that lower their quality of life, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression.

There was another study conducted by the Texas A&M University on a wellness community called Mueller in Austin, Texas.

This study investigated the levels of activity of 229 residents before and after moving to the neighborhood.

The Mueller Design led not only to more walking and biking by its residents but also to greater social interaction and feeling of community.


If you ask me what the real estate trend is and will be, I would tell you “wellness real estate”. 

The current problem is a lack of healthy environments, which can lead to all kind of negative effects on your mind and body. 

With the emerging of the wellness real estate industry, the health and wellness industry meets real estate and is closer than ever to solve these modern-age problems.

Imagine if you had your own healthy luxury home in Costa Rica, where howler monkeys say you good morning and good night…

Check out these wellness upgradeable high-end listings with top views!