Branding a luxury high-rise residence goes far beyond the name on the building — success is only achieved with a distinct combination of service with luxury. But how do developers hit the mark?

This topic was broken down during Elevate, an exclusive gathering in Miami last week. Elevate featured some of the biggest names in the luxury high-rise market speaking during the two-day event.

Elevate by Livabl
Zonda Advisory’s vice president, Adam McAbee, speaks to the morning audience at Elevate (Photo credit: Bela Foto Studio)

Adam McAbee, Zonda Advisory’s senior vice-president, focused the spotlight on the luxury high-rise market with data and insights for branded residences in the U.S.

McAbee began by explaining that the secret is out on branded residences as a worthwhile investment, pointing out stories from the Wall Street Journal, Robb Report, and others, all touting the rise of luxury branded homes. But what exactly is a branded residence?

“You think it would be easier to offer an explanation of what a branded residence is,” McAbee said. “The easy answer is that it’s often a combined hotel and residence where residents can access all the hotel’s amenities. However, there are a lot of ‘buts.’”

“They may not have a hotel, even as a hotel-branded property,” McAbee said. They may not be branded with a hotel name, but instead, with a name of a fashion house or car.”

The draw of branded residences

So, what’s the draw of a branded residence? “There’s a high level of service that’s expected,” McAbee said. “You’ll have access to a concierge, amenities such as a pool, spa, and other wellness options, and the finishes and features throughout will be the highest quality.”

There are other benefits, as well. “Owners of branded residences benefit from low maintenance, physical security, the investment benefits from purchasing in emerging markets, and of course, the bragging rights from living in a prestigious building,” McAbee said.

Where can you find branded residences?

Branded residences dot the globe, with approximately 740 found worldwide. Dubai is the leader, with nearly 80, according to a 2022 Savills Branded Residence research survey in 2022. But south Florida is rapidly gaining ground, with around 35 residences and another 15-plus in the pipeline.

Breaking the data up to focus on the Americas, south Florida is the undisputed leader in branded residences, followed by New York City, Los Cabos, Mexico, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Los Angeles.

According to Zonda data, Ritz-Carlton leads the pack in branded residences within the United States, with just over 16 percent. The luxury hotel brand is followed by other names such as Four Seasons, Trump, Montage and Accor.

The branded residence space is expected to continue its expansion worldwide, and in markets such as south Florida. While a hotel name or brand is not necessarily needed for these residences, and McAbee stated “that evolution is going to continue to spread to a point where we have a harder time defining what branded residences mean.” The key for developers is understanding not only the characteristics of their local market, but also branded options throughout their state or region. It’s rarely as simple as looking at the most relevant comp in their market and then applying a premium. Researching buyer profiles and desired amenities for each space will ultimately lead to success.

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