Jones Lang Lasalle

Brand appeal

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, 12:00am

Property scouting has turned into a brand-name exercise as residential properties with integrated hotel services, backed by renowned hospitality names including the likes of the Four Seasons and St Regis, are sprouting up everywhere, say industry sources.

'High-end properties that are managed by hotels offering full facilities are a relatively new thing, though more and more investors are becoming aware of them and the average person is becoming interested. It is no longer just the uber-wealthy who are looking at these properties,' says Jones Lang LaSalle's regional director Anne-Marie Sage.

'Run by top hotel groups, they are branded, have all the facilities and are synonymous with luxury.'

They are a win-win option, whether as a second home or for investment purposes.

'People in Asia particularly like developments with branded names versus standalone villas because everything is properly managed and secure. It's easier and investors tend to feel safer with their investment,' adds Ms Sage.

Rental prospects are also better because they have so much more to offer. 'A property with such value-added services can easily be rented out at a premium of 30 to 50 per cent, so the trend is really taking off everywhere now,' says Vivian Sze Mo-lan, HKR International's assistant general manager.

HKR International, which owns Bangkok's Sukhothai hotel, will begin its pre-sale initiative for a new residential property adjacent to the hotel by the end of the year. The Sukhothai Residences will have complete hospitality services, including a 24-hour concierge service, valet parking, shuttle bus and full security. Another of its new properties is the Beaufort on Nassim condominiums in Singapore. Only 30 freehold apartments are being built, and they are expected to set record high prices.

Such properties may be easier to run for developers such as HKR International, which can turn to its hospitality arm, but this has not deterred other developers who are increasingly partnering with hospitality groups to capture the trend.

'Developers who don't own a hotel chain are now entering into management agreements with five-star international hotel groups as they believe this will help them sell their properties,' explains Ms Sze.

In addition to the array of facilities, the design is also playing a large part in the investment appeal.

'Buyers are demanding the best in finishes, locations and facilities,' says David Stafford, general manager - sales and marketing for the Indigo Group.

He says location is another important purchase driver, as people these days want apartments in historically strong locations.