According to the Global Wellness Institute, the international wellness market is worth $4.2 trillion (more than half of the world’s total health spending), having grown 12.8% between 2015 and 2017 alone. Among the ten most lucrative industry segments – including fitness, personal care and nutrition – wellness real estate is a large and growing market. Valued at $134 billion, the wellness real estate market comprises 1.5% of the world’s construction industry and about half of its green construction industry.
Wellness real estate developers are building homes and offices that are designed and constructed to optimize their occupants’ physical and mental health. By utilizing low toxicity materials, installing IoT appliances that facilitate healthy choices (smart refrigerators), and conceptualizing floor plans and rooms specifically designed for healthy activities (exercise, meal preparation, meditation), these spaces may drive measurable increases in both the quality and duration of people’s lives.
Forbes Real Estate Council member Kofi Nartey is the national director of the sports and entertainment division of Compass, a real estate technology company operating in 17 regions across the United States, including New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Miami, Seattle and Philadelphia. Overseeing a national team of luxury real estate agents serving distinguished clientele, Nartey is at the epicenter of the celebrity housing market. He says builders and developers who embrace wellness real estate will have an advantage in saturated markets.
A large part of Nartey’s success stems from constant immersion in new technology and trends.
“I have to stay on top of what’s next so I’m able to provide guidance to builders on everything from wellness rooms to circadian lighting. Even simple things, like secure food and product delivery areas on porches (with controlled access from smartphones), can bring more value to clients and greater profits to my developers,” he says.
Every wellness update counts. Recently, Nartey says, the installation of a smart refrigerator became the main selling point for a client’s new construction home.
“The purchasers cited the refrigerator as a deciding factor, because they could order groceries and receive updates on items they needed from the refrigerator’s touch screen. More importantly, their kids could watch videos on that same screen while dinner was being prepped. That bit of calm for a parent is a game-changer,” he says.
Nartey’s advice to other agents wishing to stay on top of wellness real estate is to consistently and comprehensively research the latest trends and technology.
“Many people hear the word ‘technology’ and shy away from it, but you have to keep up. Technology builds on itself, so it is much easier to understand and integrate the next trend if you haven’t missed the past five,” he says.
When and where possible, he also advises his clients to lean toward adaptable technology that can be updated instead of needing to be completely replaced.
Researching trends is a big part of Nartey’s work; watching the wellness real estate market flourish is a big part of his reward.
Ultimately, he says, it’s about turning science fiction into a livable reality: “Futuristic movies have always been fun to watch, but what’s more fun is seeing the future unfold before your eyes. Pursuing wellness features in home building is a way to live longer and see even more of what the future has in store.”
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