From luxury senior communities for Baby Boomers to Gen Z’s demand for sustainable, planet-enriching properties, wellness real estate is a growing trend in generational lifestyle capitalism. Lynn Villadolid, founder and CEO of Lifestyle Capital Partners, explains more
Viewing lifestyle purchases as a capital asset rather than merely an expenditure is still a relatively new concept in generational wealth management. The traditional definition of wealth was strictly focused on a work-hard, play-hard ethos, leaving little room to value rest and rejuvenation. Looking after the needs of our minds, bodies and souls was restricted to art, collectibles and other ‘investments of passion’. It was a definition that did not include holidays and destination real estate. Time out was a cop out.
Fast forward to 2023 and wellness has become inextricably linked to lifestyle choices and perception of wealth. After all, isn’t our health the only true ‘money can’t buy’ left?
The shift in mindset on mental health across all generations has been particularly striking. Who would have thought the concept of a four-day working week might soon become a reality in the UK?
As such lifestyle re-evaluations gain traction, so too does our understanding that wellness is not simply spa treatments and gym workouts. Mind, body and soul are inextricably linked and caring for one is of little use without nurturing the others.
Wellness real estate
‘Lifestyle capitalism’ describes assets that enhance and complement an individual’s way of living, and we consider the emerging trend of wellness real estate as one of its finest forms.
Wellness has a different meaning to everyone, although with certain consistencies across generations. Outdoor space, for instance, offers a clear wellness benefit whatever one’s age, connecting the safety of one’s home to the sanctity of nature.
However, differences in core wellness values are becoming more pronounced as we observe home-buying preferences across generations.
Generational wellness: Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964)
UHNW baby boomers, already multiple homeowners, now seek places to retire or holiday as comfortably as possible. Branded hospitality wellness real estate greatly appeals to this demographic, with the assurance that everything is of the highest quality and that the property –and the UHNWIs themselves – are well taken care of. For those who love travel, branded wellness residences are also an incredible way to provide for their families and children, from hosting them on holidays to passing along the property via inheritance: an impressive, tangible piece of generational wealth.
We are seeing another trend emerge among seniors. Luxury senior communities offer enhanced wellness benefits of being medically well-staffed and situated within a community of similarly aged peers in gorgeous natural settings, with many programmes to keep active.
The benefits of such age-specific living arrangements are allowing Baby Boomers to avoid feeling like a burden to their family while maintaining dignity and a personalised sense of well-being.
Gen Xers and Millennials (born between 1965-1980 and 1981-1996)
With remote working more widespread than ever, Gen Xers and Millennials can choose to live in what would more traditionally be considered holiday residences – out on the beach, in the country, immersed in nature and away from major cities – as they are increasingly not required to be based close to where they work. Countryside retreats are increasingly becoming the main family homes, while apartments in urban hubs fulfil more ad-hoc needs, such as airport proximity, in-person work commitments or a base from which to host out-of-town guests.
Again, there are marked differences in wellness needs and desires between these generations. For Gen Xers, at-home wellness is tied to pragmatic sophistication, such as customised, dedicated home offices and fitness facilities that match their passions, whether a barre studio or a tennis court. Naturally, after a long day of work and exercise, these UHNWIs would love to relax in the comfort of their own steam room or dry float tank. These amenities are not only luxurious and convenient but form the essence of their homes as a statement of who they are and their legacy. A highly personalised countryside estate could be the jewel in the crown that Gen Xers pass down to their descendants.
Being able to live where they want at a peak earning capacity, Gen Xers are also drawn to more exotic iterations of these countryside homes, such as ski chalets with embedded wellbeing offerings such as in-home saunas. Pure wellness lifestyle offerings such as the ‘living communities’ at Canyon Ranch’s Arizona and Massachusetts properties particularly appeal to Gen Xers who want to create a permanent lifestyle around their wellbeing. By strengthening the connection between mind and body, this generation of UHNWIs will buy homes in such places to live longer, manage stress better and achieve success in the balancing act between their families, careers and wellness.
Millennials and Gen Zers (born between 1981-1996 and 1997-2012)
Millennials on the other hand, and even older Gen Zers, have an approach to wellness that surpasses personal pleasure and extends towards a love for the planet. No surprise, then, that these younger generations of buyers value sustainability as integral to their dream homes. Outdoor space is not ornamental, but planet-enriching, such as gardens full of native, edible plants and composting facilities. A noteworthy developing trend we are seeing that underpins these principles is conservation real estate, such as Borana or Ol Pejeta in northern Kenya.
They are also more interested in less-traditional living formats which allow them to be nomadic and flexible, such as movable tented camps in rural settings or membership programmes which enable them to invest in wellness real estate with their friends across a wide variety of locations.
These more recent generations are also tech-savvy in their sustainability, preferring clean energy systems such as solar panels and green roofs. They, too, think about leaving something behind for future generations, though they don’t tend to think about generational wealth in the same ways as their older counterparts. The youngest generations of UHNWIs still want to pass their assets to the next, yet they find it less important to collect oversized homes designed to impress others. What’s crucial in these future family heirlooms is that they will contribute to the health of the planet and thus better lives for generations to come.
As the wellness real-estate industry continues to grow, the definitions of wellness and lifestyle will continue to be redefined and reshaped, but there is a clear trend towards leading from the heart. In 2021 the wellness real estate market was worth $279.4 billion and is forecast to grow to $863.9 billion by 2028, according to Facts & Factors marketing research: a 20.7% CAGR (compound, annual growth rate).
Mirroring the beliefs of its investors, the best for the wellness real estate market is yet to come.
Lifestyle Capital Partners (LCP) is a private office advising highly successful purpose-driven entrepreneurs, their businesses and their families in the ultra-luxury lifestyle sectors focusing on destination real estate, hospitality, travel and wellbeing.
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