We predicted demand would soon hit like a tsunami and now that moment has arrived
– Ophelia Yeung

From 2017-2020, the global wellness real estate market expanded from US$148bn (€126bn,£109bn) to US$275bn (€235bn, £203bn).

These figures were released today (28 September) in the Global Wellness Institute’s (GWI) new study, called Wellness Real Estate: Looking Beyond COVID-19.

The GWI defines wellness real estate as the construction of residential and commercial/institutional properties that incorporate intentional wellness elements into their design, materials and building, as well as their amenities, services and/or programming.

The report provides market data and growth rates for both 2017-2019 and 2019-2020 – to capture 'the pandemic effect' – for every global region and the top 20 national markets, as well as forecasting key shifts that will define the market post-COVID.

Key findings

  • Prior to the pandemic, the global wellness real estate sector grew 22 per cent on average each year between 2017-2019, compared with 5.4 per cent growth for construction overall.
    • The wellness real estate sector still continued to grow 22 per cent during 2020, despite the pandemic and overall construction shrinking by -2.5 per cent.
    • Wellness real estate is heavily concentrated in North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Each market clocked exponential recent growth, with the North American and Asian markets nearly doubling from 2017-2020.
    • The US, China, Australia, UK, Japan, France and Germany account for 82 per cent of the wellness real estate market. The US and China alone comprise roughly 60 per cent.
    • Japan (360 per cent) and Canada (240 per cent) exhibited standout growth in the sector between 2017 and 2020.
    • The US, China, UK, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Singapore, Norway, Italy and Finland nearly all doubled their markets.
    • International wellness residential projects grew from 740 in 2017 to an estimated 2,300+ today.

    These research highlights were presented at the GWI’s inaugural Wellness Real Estate & Communities Symposium.

    The event brought together investors, developers, architects, designers and medical experts to discuss the future of this market. Learn more here about accessing the full day of presentations and research packages.

    “Just three years ago, wellness real estate was a concept not well understood by consumers, builders, developers or investors, but we predicted demand would soon hit like a tsunami,” said Ophelia Yeung, GWI senior research fellow and report co-author, “that moment has arrived.”

    “The pandemic has driven the idea of ‘building for human health’ into the mainstream consumer consciousness, and the recent market growth far exceeded our predictions, as well as general economic growth trends.”

    The GWI first defined and measured this sector in its 2018 Build Well to Live Well report.

    “So many macro forces – our fast-ageing world, our stress and loneliness crises, the rise of remote work and a consumer demanding more sustainable living – means the growth trajectory for wellness homes and building design will only rise,” said Katherine Johnston, GWI senior research fellow and report co-author.

    “But 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.”