For decades, real estate investors and home buyers have sought properties that offer comfort and a lifestyle packed with amenities. This combination is often found in planned communities governed by homeowners associations (HOAs). However, HOAs are drifting away from the limelight as an increasing number of buyers are now eyeing properties that go beyond the traditional, to incorporate holistic wellness into their designs. This is likely the beginning of an era of wellness communities, a trend that blends the conventional charm of a neighborhood with a suite of health-focused facilities. 

Eric Bramlett, a seasoned real estate agent and owner of Bramlett Residential in Austin, Texas, highlights that these communities are redefining the residential experience by infusing health and wellness into a regular lifestyle. An insight from developers, real estate experts, and residents working on such unique projects can shed light on this growing trend. 

Wellness living is no longer just a catchphrase but a conscious lifestyle choice with a keen focus on physical and mental health. According to David Tully from eXp Realty in Reno, NV, residents in wellness communities enjoy opportunities to work out regularly, thereby reducing the risk of diseases and boosting energy levels. Beyond fitness, these developments often host programs and facilities for meditation, yoga, and mindfulness, fostering self-awareness and healthy living. Group activities and events to enhance community and connection among residents are also common. 

The concept of wellness living is still evolving through a diverse range of designs and planning. Embrey Mill in North Stafford, VA, established in 2015, offers extensive outdoor spaces, resort-style pools, and a full-service bistro. The Park in Santa Monica, CA, caters to a more luxurious lifestyle with amenities like valet parking, Himalayan salt saunas, and an acre rooftop with a pool and garden. 

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The rising demand among wellness communities sparks questions about how to properly utilize these amenities. Are these facilities used regularly, or do they act as a backdrop to more sedentary habits over time? According to the residents, the benefits persist. Greg, a 62-year-old resident of Serenbe in Chattahoochee Hills, GA, appreciated deep woods and trails, along with spa amenities like hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Tina Willis, a busy personal injury attorney in Winter Garden, FL, enjoys the 30-plus-mile rail trail outside her door. 

While facilities such as easy access to spas and hiking trails are winning features, there are potential drawbacks to wellness communities. These upscale properties are more likely to lack the diversity found in other neighborhoods. They are attracting individuals with similar demographics and lifestyles. Additionally, strict rules and regulations governing property appearance, noise levels, and various activities may be a trade-off for the better lifestyle they offer. 

If luxury often comes at a price, wellness living is not an exception. The rent of a unit in these communities starts at $2,500 per month and can go up to a staggering $10,000. Homeownership in wellness developments begins at the low to mid-six figures but can soar up to multimillion-dollar levels, depending on the amenities. This kind of exclusivity makes wellness living limited to a small section of the demographic. However, for those seeking to blend their living space with health and social connection, wellness communities are undoubtedly the future. 

Wellness-centric housing is an emerging trend in the real estate market, especially in regions with warmer climates and abundant outdoor activities. As these communities continue to grow, they are captivating those who envision a residence beyond a concrete structure, a holistic haven for well-being.