Published on July 29, 2021
Are your community amenities keeping up with the trends and preferences of your buyers? Back in the day, everything seemed to revolve around golf courses and private country clubs. While today’s developers continue to see demand for more traditional golf communities, the array of amenities offered in the most successful communities has grown exponentially.
And the pandemic of 2020 could prove to be a watershed moment for the continued evolution of community amenities. Let’s face it, COVID had people itching to get out and get active in any way they could. So get out they did, away from population centers—seeking trails for hiking, rivers for kayaking, paths for biking, lakes for boating, and open spaces for practicing yoga.
As a result, the lifestyle community market has seen an uptick in the already increasing demand for health and wellness-focused amenities. Giving people a “getaway” within their neighborhood and community—especially one that promotes physical and mental well-being—is now top of mind for most homebuyers.
According to a recent PCR survey, 81% of respondents cited “active lifestyle amenities” as the reason they want to live in a community—specifically selecting swimming pools (73%), walking/biking trails (71%), and fitness centers (65%) as their most-preferred community amenities.
The health and wellness movement is something that resonates with both aging boomers and the younger generation of millennials and their families looking to call a lifestyle community home. In many cases, the community amenities for active adults go beyond just physical considerations and have an all-encompassing mind-body-soul vibe. Yoga, spas, resort-style meditation classes, and onsite wellness courses are becoming increasingly sought-after by residents, and therefore popular among developers’ plans.
Take Dataw Island in South Carolina’s Sea Islands region, for example. Its 16,000 square foot Community and Fitness Center offers residents an aerobic studio, yoga studio, and workout room with state-of-the-art cardio machines, free weights, and circuit-training machines. The center is even staffed by physical therapists and certified trainers so members can receive personalized fitness plans.
Some developers are truly going all out when it comes to health and workout options for residents, like the renowned Cresswind fitness centers. Cresswind Peachtree City south of Atlanta is one of several boutique, active adult-living Cresswind communities with comprehensive lifestyle programs that emphasize helping residents “live better, longer.” And it’s anchored by a stunning 17,000 square-foot clubhouse that features a full-service fitness center, indoor lap pool and spa, and yoga-aerobics studio.
Access to community-specific walking trails was once a major bonus for active adults. Now it’s a necessity. Exclusive access to their own trail systems for walking, jogging, hiking, and biking offer more peace and privacy with less crowds. Even better when the trails lead residents to schools, parks, stores, and restaurants. Redfin recently reported that homes located within walking distance of such conveniences sell for an average of 23.5% more than car-dependent properties—a big selling point for developers and communities.
Buyers crave the ability to walk out of their front door and roam free. As a result, more and more communities are being developed around an extensive network of walking and biking trails.
The Landings near Savannah, GA features more than 30 miles of multi-use trails winding through pristine tidal marshes and Spanish moss-draped maritime forests. No surprise, then, that it was rated one of “America’s Healthiest Communities.”
As the nation’s largest gated community, Hot Springs Village in Arkansas has capitalized on its sizable footprint by offering some 30 miles of secluded hiking, biking, and walking trails carved through thick strands of Southern hardwoods and babbling brooks.
Then there’s St. James Plantation in idyllic Southport, NC, with more than 36 miles of bike paths meandering through the community’s numerous neighborhoods and open space. There are even designated loops and tours ranging from 2.2 to 8.7 miles, and connectors for creating even longer routes.
In PCR’s 2021 Survey of Homebuyers and Renters Researching Lifestyle Communities, 73% of respondents indicated their prospective community must have a swimming pool. And because swimming is often recommended as the best exercise for people over 55, a health and wellness package of community amenities that includes a swimming facility becomes even more important for age-restricted communities.
In West Palm Beach, FL, at The Club at Ibis, a number of in-pool classes, like Aquacise, keep residents fit and injury-free. Their pool area is the heart of the community, giving homebuyers looking for extensive swimming options pretty much everything—from a 25-yard lap pool to a resort-style swimming pool, kiddie splash zone, hot tub, and even a poolside bistro.
Encanterra, a Trilogy Resort Community in San Tan Valley, AZ, has two clubs: 60,000 square-foot La Casa, with two pools, and 8,000-square-foot Algarve, with one resort pool. With both indoor and outdoor options, residents can swim year-round, almost any time of day.
Chances are your community or planned communities already include most if not all of the recreational, healthy lifestyle-oriented amenities featured here. Now’s the time to put an emphasis on all the things that set your health and fitness community amenities apart from the competition. Your prospects are searching for and demanding the spoils and conveniences that allow them to maintain a balanced lifestyle. So it’s critical that communities unite residents around a bond and camaraderie that’s about sharing similar social, recreational, and fitness interests and activities.
With a community spotlight listing on PrivateCommunities.com, searchers can see beyond the real estate to find the specific amenities and lifestyle options that make your community unique. Each page is carefully created with search engines in mind, giving communities enhanced organic search exposure on page one of major search engines. So the next time a potential buyer heads over to Google to begin researching “Communities with Fitness Centers,” PCR can help ensure you’re front and center.