The concept of branded residences originated in North America and today one-third of all developments are situated there, according to the 2019 Knight Frank Branded Residences Report.
The concept of branded residences dates back over 90 years and predominantly comprises a hotel development with integrated or adjoining private residences. The owners of these residences benefit from owning a home with the prestige of a hotel brand, top-class management and the services provided by a five-star hotel.
For hotel developers, the ability to sell residences off plan and receive a return on capital on completion assists significantly with the initial development and operating cash flows and enables the brand to create a strong bond with consumers.
A brand involvement increases the visibility and value of the project when potential buyers see Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Marriott or Four Seasons—residences that are synonymous with a quality product.
The 2019 Knight Frank Branded Residences Report estimates that there are now over 400 branded residences in more than 60 countries with most of the growth happening over the last 15 years. Together Marriott, Four Seasons and Accor brands represent more than half of all hotel branded residences with Marriott being the overwhelming market leader. According to the report, Marriott has over 60 new branded residences in the pipeline and, by the end of 2019, hopes to open 19 of these in nine countries.
In the last ten years, the sector has seen diversification, offering more flexibility to projects in varying markets around the world. We’re seeing more residentially led developments with a hotel component, residential developments with hotel management and luxury resorts with luxury residences used as holiday lets. Also, non-hotel brands such as Armani, Versace, and Porsche have all become involved in developments in recent years.
Strong growth is happening in the Asian market, particularly in Thailand and Indonesia. As a single city, Dubai has the highest concentration of branded residences with operators such as The W, Jumeirah Group and The Address leading the way. The Report states that the rapid rise in popularity of Dubai stems from the need for developments to differentiate their brands. In Dubai, they can build higher, bigger and better than most other cities.
Europe only accounts for about 7 percent of branded residences as historically European communities are less brand conscious, and developers are confident in their quality product and less likely to license a brand to move their real estate.
In the future, branded residences need to ensure that they’re designed with the end user in mind. To differentiate themselves, they will need to be more eco-focused in design and more holistic with beautiful gardens and a wellness focus to attract a multi-generational buyer. In the words of Chris Graham, an expert on brand residences, “it is about creating memories and an emotional link.” It’s more about the experience rather than a bigger pool or better-equipped gym.