The Rise of the ‘On-Brand’ Residence

11.09.18

Taking the luxury living experience to a whole new level, branded residences are one of the hottest prospects in the real estate market at present. But are they truly worth the ­five-star price tag? By Stephen Penn

Whether its haute-couture fashion, the latest limited-edition sports car or made-to-measure super yacht; putting a reputable name behind a product infers a core brand value and guarantee of excellence.

Storytelling is an important part of that journey, and never more so than with something as expensive as real estate. Property marketing must speak to the client’s expectations of lifestyle and experience. Which perhaps makes the rise and rise of the branded residence an entirely understandable trend in the current acquisition minded climate.

While the first branded residences concept appeared in New York in the 1920s, it wasn’t until the 1980s that demand began to gather pace, both in the USA and further afield. Now, the drive to ‘move in’ with some of the biggest luxury labels is at an all-time high, with the best-known elite hotel brands getting behind the pied-a-terre with benefits movement to create sought-after residential opportunities across the globe.

Four Seasons, alongside Ritz-Carlton, presently claim the largest share of the branded residences market – the former launching its first residential condominiums in Boston in 1985, with 38 residential communities across 17 countries today.

Hailed as a landmark project, Ten Trinity Square is Four Seasons’ third London property; its first standalone residential project Twenty Grosvenor Square in Mayfair, also setting a benchmark for quality build and par excellence service levels. Prices at Ten Trinity Square start at £17.5m for a three-bedroom property, with services including an elite address book of contacts accessing private jets, personal shoppers, Harley Street specialists, educational advisers and private security consultants all part of the ownership experience.

“Buy into a reputable brand and you have the assurance in the delivery and quality of the development as well as professional management,” says Chris Graham of consultancy Graham Associates. “The best products offer prime locations, likeminded neighbours, cutting-edge interior design and, crucially, stronger resale values and higher rental income.”

“They’re a form of trophy purchase rather like collecting expensive art,” adds Robert Green of Sphere Estates. “As such, the quality, range and potential of the branded residence has huge potential to evolve.” Other companies jumping on the ‘brandwagon’ include luxury fashion houses Armani, Versace and Missoni.

Savills is selling a one-bedroom Armani Casa apartment in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa for £685,000, with more than 300 two-tofour- bedroom apartments Armani Casa apartments at Sunny Isles Beach Miami due for completion this year - priced from $1.35m.

Porsche Design Tower has its luxury residences in Miami while Mercedes-Benz’s ‘Living @ Fraser’ partnership is offering branded serviced apartments in London and Singapore. Not surprisingly, properties carry significant price premiums - up to 44% over the top end of the local market, according to Savills.

“The exact uplift is dependent on developers building a quality product in the right location, with the right design and brand,” says Rod Taylor, head of international development sales at Savills. It’s a movement however, that for now, shows little sign of waning.

November 2017 marked the groundbreaking of foundations of what will become The Peninsula London – following a 30-year search for the perfect hotel site. Taking full advantage of this label of love desire, news of The Peninsula is proving something of a draw card to wealthy home buyers with 28 supersized and serviced Halkin Street homes to buy with rarefied price tags to match.

Despite this overwhelming success across the globe for these elite brands, the sector isn’t immune to risks. During the US electoral campaign, Trump branded residences experienced a fall in their piece premium, a scenario that continues to play out in the light of some of his more radical policies.

“Trump’s travel ban on several predominantly Muslim nations caused quite a backlash. His name and picture were removed from a billboard marketing a $6bn golf development in Dubai. Meanwhile, developers Lodha temporarily suspended sales at Trump Tower Mumbai,” adds Graham.

Such issues however, seem few and far between with experts predicting the emergence of new destinations, notably in South America and sub-Saharan Africa – with a growing presence across Europe.

It’s a growth that’s coming not only from the extravagance that such high-end brands exude, but also the convenience of having a home that’s entirely taken care of – featuring all essential mod-cons, concierge services and, most importantly, high levels of security that come from choosing a home with a big name.

“Branded residences are more popular than ever among wealthy international buyers as a property investment that offers the best in prestige, convenience and innovative design,” adds UK property writer, Zoe Dare Hall. “They come with a name that buyers trust, first class facilities and, crucially, they can be a great investment.”

ONE TO WATCH

HALF MOON BAY, ANTIGUA

  • This premium development offers a rare opportunity to acquire some of the most exclusive real estate in the Caribbean under the brand of the Rosewood Hotel Group, one of the world’s fastest growing hotel companies with 63 hotels in 20 countries.
  • Four unique estates are available – The Mellon, The Rosewood, Sea Cliff and Half Moon Bay. These comprise total of 10 estate lots set on 132 acres, with the option for homeowners to design and build their retreat in their chosen location.
  • The resort will be a ‘first’ of its calibre in the Caribbean, borrowing from the rich history of the region and evoking the provenance and spirit of this world-renowned location.
  • A curated selection of immersive activities will also be available - finely tuned for discriminating travelers and homeowners – ensuring residents and guests alike benefit from the esteemed service the Rosewood Hotel Group is renowned for. Prices start from $3.5m for a branded turnkey residence and $10m for an estate lot.

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