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17 May 2024

Wellness real estate market booming – forecast to reach $913bn by 2028, reports GWI
BY Megan Whitby

Established operators like SHA Wellness are making substantial investments in wellness real estate – the group’s upcoming Emirates outpost will feature a large real estate component with 150 residences and 120 suites

Established operators like SHA Wellness are making substantial investments in wellness real estate – the group’s upcoming Emirates outpost will feature a large real estate component with 150 residences and 120 suites
photo: SHA Wellness

The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has released promising new research on the wellness real estate market at its third-annual Wellness Real Estate & Communities Symposium in Manhattan.

The GWI defines wellness real estate as homes and buildings that are proactively designed, built and operated to support the holistic health of their residents.

Called Wellness Real Estate: Market Growth (2019-2023) and Future Developments, the paper reveals wellness real estate is by far the fastest-growing segment in the 11-sector wellness economy, surging from US$225 billion in 2019 to US$438 billion in 2023.

This represents an 18.1 per cent annual growth over the past four years, which is significantly higher than the 5.1 per cent annual growth rate for the overall global construction industry.

According to the GWI, the pandemic supercharged the market because it dramatically accelerated the understanding among consumers and the building industry about how much external environments impact our physical and mental health.

Now, the GWI forecasts that the sector will grow 15.8 per cent annually from 2023 to 2028 when it will approach the trillion-dollar mark (US$913 billion).

“As long-time industry researchers, we’re not at all surprised by this finding,” said Katherine Johnston and Ophelia Yeung, GWI’s senior research fellows.

“More than any other wellness sector, wellness real estate embodies the multidimensionality of wellness. When done right, it has the greatest potential within the wellness economy to improve our holistic wellbeing and that of entire communities.

“As more people realise that their biggest investment – their home – is the ‘next frontier of their health’, the demand for wellness real estate will only continue to grow.”

The report includes regional and country data and finds that the US (US$181 billion, 41 per cent of the global market), China (US$73 billion) and the UK (US$29 billion) remain the three biggest national markets. It also analyses the biggest drivers and opportunities – as well as the biggest challenges – for wellness real estate in the future.

Global wellness real estate market, 2017-2028
• 2017 – US$148.5 billion.
• 2019 – US$225.2 billion.
• 2020 – US$274 billion.
• 2021 – US$342 billion.
• 2022 – US$386.6 billion.
• 2023 – US$438.2 billion.
• Projection for 2028 – US$912.6 billion.

Wellness real estate has been the growth leader in the wellness industry since the GWI started measuring it in 2017.

During the pandemic year (2019-2020), it was one of the few wellness sectors that continued to grow rapidly (21.6 per cent growth), even as overall construction output and global GDP shrank (-0.8 per cent and -2.6 per cent respectively).

Over the last couple of years, global construction growth has slowed considerably, from 16.7 per cent in 2020-21 to only 1.9 per cent in 2022-2023. But, between 2022 and 2023, wellness real estate grew an impressive 13.4 per cent.

The regional view
(Numbers refer to market sizes for 2019 and 2023 and average annual growth rate 2019-2023)

• Latin America-Caribbean: US$550 million - US$1.2 billion (+ 22 per cent).
• Europe: US$46 billion - US$96 billion (+ 20 per cent).
• Middle East-North Africa: US$710 million - US$1.4 billion (+ 19 per cent).
• North America: US$100 billion - US$194 billion (+ 18 per cent).
• Asia-Pacific: US$77.5 billion - US$145 billion (+ 17 per cent).
• Sub-Saharan Africa: US$240 million - US$390 million (+ 13 per cent).

The GWI discovered that the market is heavily concentrated in North America (making up 44 per cent of the market in 2023), Asia-Pacific and Europe, which together account for 99 per cent of the global sector.

Latin America-Caribbean and Europe have been the fastest-growing regional markets from 2019 to 2023. The Middle East-North Africa also remained one of the fastest-expanding markets over the last four years, even with slower construction growth (including a significant construction downturn in 2022-2023).

North America has maintained powerful growth since 2017, but it tapered off in 2022-2023 alongside a slowdown in overall construction.

Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific is home to several very large, fast-growing countries for wellness real estate (e.g. Australia, Japan, China, India).

At the regional level, wellness real estate growth has outpaced overall construction growth across every region since 2019, by at least 3-4 times or more.

Top 10 markets
(Numbers refer to market sizes for 2019 and 2023, and average annual growth rate 2019-2023)

• US: US$94 billion - US$181 billion (+ 17.6 per cent).
• China: US$$37 billion - US$73 billion (+ 18.4 per cent).
• UK: US$11 billion - US$29 billion (+ 28 per cent).
• Australia: US$15.6 billion - US$26 billion (+ 13.3 per cent).
• France: US$9.5 billion - US$21 billion (+ 21.3 per cent).
• Japan: US$7.6 billion - US$17 billion (+ 22.4 per cent).
• Germany: US$8.7 billion - US$13.7 billion (+ 12.1 per cent).
• Canada: US$5.9 billion - US$13.3 billion (+ 22.7 per cent).
• South Korea: US$5.7 billion - US$9.5 billion (+ 13.8 per cent).
• India: US$5 billion - US$9 billion (+ 16 per cent).

The report covers the top 20 national markets and illustrates how heavily concentrated the sector is in just a few countries.

The US (41 per cent of the market in 2023) and Canada, plus a few countries in Asia (China, Australia, Japan) and Europe (UK, France, Germany), account for 85 per cent of the global market.



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