Landlords can start thinking creatively about the way gyms are incorporated into mixed use and residential developments
– Ross Kirton, Colliers International
Research from property experts at Colliers International suggests people are increasingly willing to pay more in rent or mortgage to live near their favourite gym.
The study of 3,000 people in the UK found that 72 per cent of those asked responded positively to this hypothetical situation, while 29 per cent said they'd be prepared to pay more in membership fees for a rooftop gym.
"Being close to good schools or transport links used to be the top priorities when buying a house, but now gyms are a key driver," said Ross Kirton, head of UK leisure agency at Colliers International.
"Investors and landlords now have the opportunity to start thinking creatively about the way gyms are incorporated into wider mixed-use and residential developments."
An example of this, the research identifies, is the partnership between Hero Fitness and Moda Living in Manchester, where a range of fitness and wellness services have been included in residential projects led by the developer.
Rooftop and skyline gyms have become popular elsewhere in the world, but are still to be exploited in the UK, says Colliers.
With both baby boomers and millennials increasingly looking to lead healthier lives, and allocating their disposable income accordingly, the Colliers report, Meet Me At The Bar: A Review of the UK Health and Fitness Market 2019 also considers the impact on the health and fitness market of social media, wearable technology, the growing social aspect of gyms, and concepts such as the Ministry of Sound Fitness, where the euphoria that previous generations sought through clubs and bars is now being sought through fitness.
The quest for fitness is becoming more experiential, and people are willing to pay more, travel further and potentially even move house to live close to their fitness facilities of choice. This is something Kirton believes developers and landlords should factor in to project planning.
"As such, the gym should be considered a key element of placemaking in new mixed-use and residential developments," he concludes.