Are Wellness Communities the Next Big Trend in Real Estate?

In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in the preferences of homebuyers towards communities that offer more than just a place to live. While traditional planned communities with amenities like pools and tennis courts have long been popular, a new trend is emerging: wellness communities.

These developments, often managed by homeowners associations (HOAs), go beyond the typical offerings to include a wide range of health and wellness amenities. From pickleball courts to spas and even activities like blueberry picking, these communities prioritize the well-being of their residents.

Eric Bramlett, a real estate agent and owner of Bramlett Residential in Austin, TX, notes, “These communities put health and wellness center stage.”

But is wellness living just a passing trend, or does it represent a fundamental shift in the way people want to live? To find out, we spoke with developers, real estate experts, and residents of these communities to explore the growing appeal of wellness-focused living.

Wellness communities prioritize both physical and mental health, offering residents a range of amenities and programs to support overall well-being.

According to David Tully, a real estate agent with eXp Realty in Reno, NV, these developments emphasize regular exercise to boost energy levels and reduce the risk of disease. Many wellness communities provide facilities and programs for activities like meditation, yoga, and mindfulness, which promote self-awareness and stress reduction.

In addition to individual wellness activities, these communities foster a sense of community through group events, activities, and classes. Residents have the opportunity to connect with one another while pursuing their health goals.

Exploring the Offerings of Wellness Communities

Wellness communities come in various shapes and sizes, offering a wide range of amenities tailored to promote holistic well-being.

One example is Embrey Mill, a community established in 2015 in North Stafford, VA. Erin Smith, senior director of sales and marketing for Brookfield Residential, describes it as a haven with 10 miles of paths and wooded trails, 285 acres of open space, 15 parks and playgrounds, and two resort-style pools.

Additionally, residents can enjoy amenities like a full-service bistro, community gardens, wash-and-play dog centers, and a clubhouse featuring bocce ball courts. Notably, the community caters to all age groups, with a dedicated section specifically designed for residents aged 55 and older.

Wellness living isn’t confined to rural settings, as exemplified by The Park in Santa Monica, CA. Alex Witkoff, co-CEO of Witkoff, highlights the community’s luxurious offerings, including valet parking, on-site storage, and car washes. Moreover, The Park distinguishes itself with unique amenities such as a Himalayan salt sauna, meditation rooms, and a working library.

The community also boasts a sprawling 1-acre rooftop featuring a pool, garden, and dog park. Emphasizing the importance of community, The Park hosts weekly events like poolside Saturdays, happy hours, and movie nights, fostering stronger social connections and mental well-being among residents.

The Reality of Life in a Wellness Community

Exploring the Reality of Life in Wellness Communities

While wellness communities may seem like utopian havens, there’s skepticism about whether they’re truly effective in promoting healthier lifestyles or if they’re just temporary novelties that lose their allure over time. Do residents actually make use of the amenities consistently, or do they gradually revert to less active routines?

Contrary to expectations, many residents attest to tangible improvements in their physical and mental well-being as a direct consequence of their community environment.

Greg, a 62-year-old resident of Serenbe, a wellness community in Chattahoochee Hills, GA, values the accessibility of nature trails and wooded areas near his home. He and his wife Amanda have found solace in the community’s spa offerings, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, cryotherapy, and red-light therapy.

Similarly, Tina Willis, a personal injury attorney residing in a wellness community in Winter Garden, FL, incorporates the amenities into her daily routine. With a 30-plus-mile rail trail right outside her doorstep, maintaining a healthy lifestyle amid her busy legal schedule has become effortless.

These testimonials shed light on the genuine impact of wellness communities, suggesting that they aren’t merely superficial lifestyle trends but rather environments that actively contribute to residents’ overall well-being.

Downsides of Residing in a Wellness Community

Exploring the Negatives of Living in a Wellness Community

While the perks of having instant access to spas and hiking trails are undeniable, life in wellness communities may present some unexpected challenges.

One potential downside is the lack of diversity often found in these upscale neighborhoods compared to more varied residential areas.

“These communities tend to draw individuals with similar demographics, interests, and lifestyles,” explains Tully. “Additionally, they often enforce stricter rules and regulations concerning property appearance, noise levels, and various activities.”

What Are the Costs of Wellness Living?

If you’re considering embracing a wellness-centered lifestyle, be prepared to open your wallet wide. Renting a unit in a wellness community doesn’t come cheap, typically starting at around $2,500 per month and reaching as high as $10,000 per month. On the other hand, purchasing a home in one of these developments can start in the low to mid-six figures and escalate into the multimillion-dollar range.

It’s important to recognize that wellness living isn’t for everyone. However, for individuals who prioritize health and social connection, these communities offer an appealing option for the future.

These wellness-focused residential enclaves are emerging across the nation, with a particular concentration in areas characterized by warmer climates and abundant opportunities for outdoor activities.

Matthew Graham
Matthew Graham
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