Luxury Hotel-Branded Apartments Entice Buyers
Overall hotel-branded residences more than doubled between 2010 and 2020.
Overall hotel-branded residences more than doubled between 2010 and 2020.
Luxury residences attached to five-star hotels have long been a hit with apartment buyers who wanted a place to live with access to hotel services and amenities.
Now, developers are finding that they can sell units at above-market rates for a luxury hotel branded residence, even if there’s no accompanying hotel.
U.K. developer Finchatton transformed the former British headquarters of the U.S. Navy into the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts’ first stand-alone private residences, featuring 37 homes with sales prices starting at 17.5 million pounds, approx. $33 million.
The project completed construction in London’s Mayfair neighbourhood in 2019. Despite an interruption in sales caused by the pandemic, “only a handful” of units remain unsold, said a spokeswoman for the selling agent Knight Frank.
Mandarin Oriental is poised to open its first stand-alone branded residences in New York City, Beverly Hills and Barcelona. The U.S. residential units are expected to hit the market in the fall, the company said.
In Utah, the St. Regis Deer Valley, which opened in 2009, has recently added private residences to the resort. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. is working on a number of stand-alone branded residences under its Waldorf Astoria and Conrad brands and plans to announce at least one project within the year, a spokeswoman said.
Overall, the number of hotel-branded residences more than doubled between 2010 and 2020. The sector added 52,000 homes in 370 separate developments, according to real-estate firm Savills PLC.
Originally, these residences offered a convenient way for property developers to fund the building of high-end hotels, which can be costly and challenging to finance through conventional loans. Instead, proceeds from apartment sales help cover the hotel construction costs.
“If I put your brand on it, it will help me sell these residences faster and for a higher price,” said Tim Grisius, Marriott International Inc.’s global mergers and acquisition and real estate officer.
Marriott has built 17 stand-alone luxury residences worldwide, in places like Sunny Isles Beach in South Florida and Bodrum, Turkey, under its Ritz-Carlton brand. It has another 17 projects in the pipeline.
‘If I put your brand on it, it will help me sell these residences faster and for a higher price.’
As these residences grew in popularity, real-estate firms found that the units attracted wealthy buyers even without the full slate of hotel amenities. That’s because buyers of private residences tend to have a strong loyalty to the luxury brand and believe that attention to detail will be high, said Rupert des Forges, head of prime central London developments at Knight Frank.
“They feel that the brand would not put its name to something if they could not provide the right level of service,” he said.
Branded residences usually offer much the same services as a luxury hotel but on a smaller scale, including spa facilities, a bar and restaurant, movie theatre, and private dining rooms. Hotel-trained staff run the property and concierge, promising the same level of service to owners as to hotel guests.
Apartment buyers are often willing to pay a premium for branded residences compared with other luxury buildings, though the level of that premium varies. In London, a city overflowing with prime apartment buildings, Mr. des Forges said the extra cost of buying the property, compared with an equally high-end new apartment, was marginal.
In the Alps, however, five-star brands are increasingly experimenting with residences in ski resorts. Jeremy Rollason, head of real-estate agent Savills’s ski department, said these residences far outdo the resorts’ existing apartment buildings. He estimates that buyers have to pay premiums of between 10% and 20% for these “ultraluxury” homes.
Hotel residences have existed at least since 1927, when New York City’s Sherry-Netherland opened. But it wasn’t until the 1990s that the sector really took off. By last year, branded residences were located in more than 60 countries, according to Knight Frank.
After tapping demand in traditional coastal and city locations, developers are now building these residences in upscale ski resorts in Europe and the U.S.
Hard Rock Café International Inc. opened its first European ski resort and residences in Davos, Switzerland, in 2017, while Ritz-Carlton plans to open in 2026 a resort plus residences in Zermatt, Switzerland.
While the pandemic has slowed most international travel, Marriott’s Mr. Grisius said that demand for residences had actually increased, possibly at the expense of traditional hotels.
“People are not travelling as much,” he said. “Our residences are fuller than they usually are.”
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Data reveals house values have continued to decrease, but the rate has slowed as the RBA Board prepares to meet next week
House values continued to fall last month, but the pace of decline has slowed, CoreLogic reports.
In signs that the RBA’s aggressive approach to monetary policy is making an impact, CoreLogic’s Home Value Index reveals national dwelling values fell -1.0 percent in November, marking the smallest monthly decline since June.
The drop represents a -7.0 percent decline – or about $53,400 – since the peak value recorded in April 2022. Research director at CoreLogic, Tim Lawless, said the Sydney and Melbourne markets are leading the way, with the capital cities experiencing the most significant falls. But it’s not all bad news for homeowners.
“Three months ago, Sydney housing values were falling at the monthly rate of -2.3 percent,” he said. “That has now reduced by a full percentage point to a decline of -1.3 percent in November. In July, Melbourne home values were down -1.5 percent over the month, with the monthly decline almost halving last month to -0.8%.”
The rate of decline has also slowed in the smaller capitals, he said.
“Potentially we are seeing the initial uncertainty around buying in a higher interest rate environment wearing off, while persistently low advertised stock levels have likely contributed to this trend towards smaller value falls,” Mr Lawless said. “However, it’s fair to say housing risk remains skewed to the downside while interest rates are still rising and household balance sheets become more thinly stretched.”
The RBA has raised the cash rate from 0.10 in April to 2.85 in November. The board is due to meet again next week, with most experts still predicting a further increase in the cash rate of 25 basis points despite the fall in house values.
Mr Lawless said if interest rates continue to increase, there is potential for declines to ‘reaccelerate’.
“Next year will be a particular test of serviceability and housing market stability, as the record-low fixed rate terms secured in 2021 start to expire,” Mr Lawless said.
Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week also reveal a slowdown in the rate of inflation last month, as higher mortgage repayments and cost of living pressures bite into household budgets.
However, ABS data reveals ongoing labour shortages and high levels of construction continues to fuel higher prices for new housing, although the rate of price growth eased in September and October.
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