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Branded residences from the likes of Armani, Porsche and the Ritz are taking off. Can we expect them in Ireland?

Luxury brands from hotel chains and fashion designers to car manufacturers are looking to the housing market to boost their businesses

You’ve stayed at the hotel, bought the car, bought the jewellery – or perhaps, like most of us, have merely dreamed of doing so. Now you can embrace your love for a brand by buying a property associated with it.

So-called branded residences have jumped in popularity, as developers look to capture the high-net-worth market by joining forces with globally recognised luxury brands, sometimes hotel chains, such as the Ritz Carlton, other times fashion brands such as Armani.

And as with Weetabix, as opposed to wheat biscuits from an own-brand label, you can expect to pay more for “branded” property.

A recent report from Knight Frank for example, finds “sustained growth” in the sector, driven by “rising affluence, increased mobility, and the desire of wealthy investors to expand their residential property portfolios.” Indeed investment was cited as the most important driver in acquiring a second home in a survey of ultra high net worth individuals, with lifestyle behind by some way.

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Take the Waldorf Astoria in New York, where you can now buy apartments atop it. You’ll pay from $2.5 million for a one-bed at The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria, but as well as typical services offered by the hotel, residents can also access a residence-specific swimming pool and rooftop terrace.

The Deservator is a “one-of-a-kind elevator” that brings you - and your car - up to your apartment. No more dragging Lidl shopping bags up the stairs

Or how about the Porsche Design Tower or Bentley Residences, both in Miami, which offer extras for car lovers, including in-house valeting services and a car elevator? Yes, you read that correctly – the Deservator is a “one-of-a-kind elevator” that brings you – and your car – up to your apartment. No more dragging Lidl shopping bags up the stairs.

In Dubai, Italian fine jeweller Bulgari is planning a 2027 launch for The Lighthouse, a 27-storey residence on Jumeira Bay Island, which aims to encapsulate the brand’s “ideals of unrivalled craftsmanship” and “timeless beauty”. Prices start at €16 million for a four-room unit.

While growth has been mostly focused on regions in the US (Florida in particular), Asia and the Middle East to date, Knight Frank points to growing potential in Europe,

So, will it take off in Ireland? Well, firstly, the existing build-to-rent looks to have peaked; investment in the Irish market fell back to just €430 million last year, with just two deals of note, according to CBRE. This is down from some €1.2 billion in 2022 across 22 deals, according to figures from Hooke & Macdonald.

So institutional investors may be looking for a new hook.

And Ireland is already home to some of the larger players in the market. Last year, for example, Anantara Hotels took over The Marker in Dublin. The hotel group is part of Minor Hotels, which has a portfolio of more than 530 hotels and resorts – and branded residences. Its Anantara Chiang Mai Serviced Suites in Chiang Mai, Thailand for example, sold units at prices 50 per cent above market value, while it also has developments at The Palm, Dubai and in Bali.

And the American hotel group The Standard, a favourite of celebrities, is set to open its first Dublin hotel in 2025 at Dublin Arch, adjacent to Connolly Station on the northside. It also operates The Standard Residences, which has developments in cities like Miami, where Midtown Miami has 228 “move-in ready pieds-à-terre”. You can expect the same chic touch at these apartments – and steep enough prices; one-beds are on sale at the development from $696,000 and studios from $560,000.

But so-called branded residences are not new in Ireland. Back in the noughties a number of high-profile similar investments were launched, including at the Four Seasons hotel in Ballsbridge (now the Intercontinental), as well as at the Doonbeg golf resort in Clare, now the Trump International.

Investment returns have been mixed, however. When the development at the Greg Norman-designed links course was launched in 2007, cottages were sold at prices starting at €1.257 million, including a full furniture package.

Now you can buy one for significantly less; last year a number of properties sold at Doonbeg Lodge, including a four-bed, four-bath “cottage”, which achieved €885,000; a three-bed suite with sea views, which sold for €830,000; and a smaller apartment, which sold for €250,000.

So you may just have to wait a while for that lift to bring you and your car home.

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