Luxury concierges, expected to go to the ends of the Earth to satisfy residents, may have to tread even further in their latest role.
A new crop of luxury buildings looking for more creative ways to stand out and attract wellness-focused buyers is going beyond, the flashy fitness centres and spas to add meditation gardens, cold plunges or ice baths—and, yes, spiritual concierges, who connect residents with healers, therapists and a bevy of other experts to help with mental and emotional health.
Take the Maverick Chelsea in New York as an example. The building, in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood, saw residents start to move in November and is debuting three floors of wellness amenities this month such as a 60-foot-long indoor mosaic tiled pool with cabana seating. But the highlight may be the on-call spiritual concierge who residents can tap through the building’s programming partner LIVunLtd.
Maverick Chelsea’s head of sales Alex Lundqvist said that the concierge can connect homeowners with top aura readers, crystal and reiki healers and meditation teachers.
“We want to provide multiple ways to help people who are seeking spiritual realignment or guidance,” he said. “It’s something that’s increasingly valued today.”
One&Only Mandarina Private Homes, in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, also offers spiritual aid—a shaman to be exact who leads a traditional Mexican sage ceremony for interested buyers to bless their new homes.
Danielle Lepe, a San Francisco resident who works at Facebook, for one, bought a six-bedroom residence at the property with her husband and jumped at the chance. “I want any home of mine to have good energy, and I believed that a shaman could bring that in,” she said.
Ms. Lepe and her husband invited several friends to join them for the auspicious day, which she said saw clusters of hundreds of dragonflies circling the sky. The shaman saged the property inside and out, she said, and also blessed their expecting friend. “I am not at all a hippie-dippy type, and neither are our friends, but our spirits and souls felt nourished,” she said. “We felt an incredible sense of peace and that everything would be O.K.”
The development’s overall wellness amenities were a big reason why the property appealed to her and her husband, said Lepe. “It has the best breathwork and fitness classes that we fully take advantage of, but the shaman is another level altogether,” she said.
These more unusual perks of buying a residence in an upscale building are no surprise, according to Beth McGroarty, the research director for the Global Wellness Institute, a Miami-based nonprofit that promotes wellness. This is because wellness-centric residential real estate has been powered by the pandemic and is seeing a rapid rise. According to the group’s data, the market was valued at $148 billion in 2017. This year, it’s projected to jump to $460 billion, and by 2025, $580 billion.
“Wellness in real estate today means everything that you would find at a cutting-edge wellness centre,” Ms. McGroarty said. “It’s also a lot more holistic and emphasises emotional and spiritual health because buyers want help in this realm, especially after the pandemic.”
Mikaela Arroyo, the director of the New Home Trends Institute at California-headquartered John Burns Real Estate Consulting, agreed. “We surveyed homeowners and renters last November, and the majority responded that mental well-being was more paramount than physical health and their top priority when seeking a new property,” she said.
Some of the latest spa amenities also blur the line between physical and mental wellness.
A trendy amenity that’s designed to shock, all in the name of health of course, is the ice bath, where residents—as the name suggests—literally take a bath, if only for a second, in a tub filled with ice. Cold plunges are another twist on the concept and claim to have a similar effect. Cold therapy is touted as a cure all for everything from inflammation and sore muscles to improving mental health.
Fiction or fact aside, extreme temperature plunges and baths are catching on.
The Renaissance Residences Honolulu and Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin both have cold plunge baths. It’s also a feature at Brooklyn Point in downtown Brooklyn, according to Ryan Serhant, who is leading the sales and marketing for the building.
“This is a development that has been designed around the story of wellness, and the three levels of amenities include a rock-climbing wall, two pools plus this cold plunge pool,” he said.
Cipriani Residences Miami, located in the Brickell neighbourhood and slated for completion in 2026, is playing up the ice bath that will be part of its wet room. Michael Patrizio, the managing director for the project’s developer Mast Capital, said that the bath will be between 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and next to the sauna so that residents can move from hot to cold or vice versa setting quickly. “We’re trying to be ahead of the market with what we give our owners, and this bath is definitely a way,” he said.
Picturesque meditation gardens are another fresh perk that developments have at the ready to help buyers find calmness. “Our research has found that a connection with nature is important to home buyers today as a way for them to destress and reconnect with themselves,” said Ms. Arroyo. “Meditation gardens in the wake of this couldn’t be more opportune.”
At 212 West 72nd St., on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, for example, there’s an interior courtyard garden on its third-floor amenity level that’s meant to be used for yoga and meditation. It’s accessible from the fitness centre and features a wooden pergola that’s draped in florals.
The Perigon, located in Miami Beach and debuting in 2025, is a luxury condominium tower with a meditation garden designed by Gustafson Porter + Bowman, the London landscape architecture firm behind the redesign of the Eiffel Tower’s green spaces and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park.
Neil Porter, the architect who led the project, said that his vision was to create a secluded space for owners within the larger gardens that’s away from the activity of the beach. The long, linear area is flanked by a water channel, said Mr. Porter, that has pods constructed of timber which residents can sit on as they self reflect. Other elements include seating alcoves on solid ground and an abundance of lush plants and flowers such as lilies and irises. “The pods resemble floating islands,” Mr. Porter said, “and the garden is meant to be a place for a tranquil escape.”
This article originally appeared on Mansion Global.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’
Ray White’s chief economist outlines her predictions for housing market trends in 2024
Ray White’s chief economist, Nerida Conisbee says property price growth will continue next year and mortgage holders will need to “survive until 2025” amid expectations of higher interest rates for longer.
Ms Conisbee said strong population growth and a housing supply shortage combatted the impact of rising interest rates in 2023, leading to unusually strong price growth during a rate hiking cycle. The latest CoreLogic data shows home values have increased by more than 10 percent in the year to date in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Among the regional markets, price growth has been strongest in regional South Australia with 8.6 percent growth and regional Queensland at 6.9 percent growth.
“As interest rates head close to peak, it is expected that price growth will continue. At this point, housing supply remains extremely low and many people that would be new home buyers are being pushed into the established market,” Ms Conisbee said. “Big jumps in rents are pushing more first home buyers into the market and population growth is continuing to be strong.”
Ms Conisbee said interest rates will be higher for longer due to sticky inflation. “… we are unlikely to see a rate cut until late 2024 or early 2025. This means mortgage holders need to survive until 2025, paying far more on their home loans than they did two years ago.”
Buyers in coastal areas currently have a window of opportunity to take advantage of softer prices, Ms Conisbee said. “Look out for beach house bargains over summer but you need to move quick. In many beachside holiday destinations, we saw a sharp rise in properties for sale and a corresponding fall in prices. This was driven by many pandemic driven holiday home purchases coming back on to the market.”
3 key housing market trends for 2024
Here are three of Ms Conisbee’s predictions for the key housing market trends of 2024.
Luxury apartment market to soar
Ms Conisbee said the types of apartments being built have changed dramatically amid more people choosing to live in apartments longer-term and Australia’s ageing population downsizing. “Demand is increasing for much larger, higher quality, more expensive developments. This has resulted in the most expensive apartments in Australia seeing price increases more than double those of an average priced apartment. This year, fewer apartments being built, growing population and a desire to live in some of Australia’s most sought-after inner urban areas will lead to a boom in luxury apartment demand.”
Homes to become even greener
The rising costs of energy and the health impacts of heat are two new factors driving interest in green homes, Ms Conisbee said. “Having a greener home utilising solar and batteries makes it cheaper to run air conditioning, heaters and pool pumps. We are heading into a particularly hot summer and having homes that are difficult to cool down makes them far more dangerous for the elderly and very young.”
More people living alone
For some time now, long-term social changes such as delayed marriage and an ageing population have led to more people living alone. However, Ms Conisbee points out that the pandemic also showed that many people prefer to live alone for lifestyle reasons. “Shorter term, the pandemic has shown that given the chance, many people prefer to live alone with a record increase in single-person households during the time. This trend may influence housing preferences, with a potential rise in demand for smaller dwellings and properties catering to individuals rather than traditional family units.”
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’