Wellness is the New Luxury
How do we define “wellness” and “luxury” in 2019? Naysayers may be quick to say these terms are just fads used to market homes in a soft real estate market. But in a world where refrigerators have the ability to shop for us and air conditioners can be operated by simply touching our cellphones, perhaps it is worth slowing down – for just a moment – to reassess what really constitutes “wellness” and “luxury” in this day and age.
There’s no question that our lives are becoming more fast-paced. Between raising children, building a career, caring for older family members, fighting expanding waistlines, and eating a more plant-based diet, adding in activities to de-stress and detoxify often feels like just TOO much. However, by integrating these elements into the design of our home environments, the time and expenses simply melt away.
WHAT'S DRIVING THE Wellness Real Estate demand?
Consumer demand for communities and real estate that nurture wellness and a wellness lifestyle is on the rise. Properties that boast wellness elements command 25-72% higher price premiums depending upon location*. Not surprisingly, we see the highest demand for these kinds of properties in Los Angeles and New York. And the rest of the country is not far behind. More home buyers, especially the millennial generation (those born between 1981-1996), are willing to spend top dollar for spa-like master bathroom retreats, upgraded HVAC systems for cleaner air and in-home meditation spaces… all in the quest for wellness!
What is driving the demand for these kinds of luxurious amenities? A growing acceptance, especially among the millennial segment, that “wellness” is impacted by everything in our surrounding environment, not just what we consume. Great sleep, reduced stress and detoxifying our systems are just as important to this group as good nutrition from organic food products. And as this group matures and moves into home buying, they want all of this for their children, too. Adding features to our homes that support wellness allows the entire family to benefit in the most cost-effective manner.
Adding a steam shower system into a bath remodel, or during construction, creates a wellness experience that goes beyond just relaxation.
So, while much of the demand to add wellness features to homes is in the new construction arena, there are big opportunities for the home improvement industry to offer these features as part of home renovations, too. There are increasing calls from homeowners for the installation of halotherapy, hydrotherapy, cryotherapy and chromotherapy (translation: salt, water, ice and color)**. Steam therapy seems by far to be the most requested and coveted for wellness reasons and as a resale value add. Therefore, business opportunity exists in both the new construction and renovation sectors to implement wellness living features into our existing business models. Moving more aggressively into this arena now is a sound business decision for all designers.
INCORPORATE WELLNESS INTO YOUR FAMILY'S DAILY LIFE
We live in an increasingly stressful world. To counter the effects, we must find ways to incorporate wellness into our daily routine. Having access to a steam shower in our master bathroom, for example, gives us an opportunity to detoxify, relax, and reduce allergy effects, just like in an expensive vacation spa but from the comfort of your own home. And the whole family can benefit from having access to steam when suffering from a fuzzy head cold - no expensive medications or gym memberships required!
As our definitions of “wellness” and “luxury” continue to expand and evolve, it’s critical for the design community to adapt and re-calibrate to best serve our clients’ needs.
*Statistics courtesy of Global Wellness Institute Rpt. – Oct. 2017 ** Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2019