Branded homes are in vogue. A number of top builders like Lodha, Sunteck, Oberoi Realty and Provenance Land have tied up with international names such as Philippe Starck and Kelly Hoppen, Armani, Donald Trump and others to build such expansive properties in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and other cities.
Who are the buyers? A spokesperson at Sunteck Realty says they appeal to the "well-educated, well-travelled and brand-conscious wealthy buyers". If that sounds obvious, Pranay Vakil, chairman of Praron Consultancy, hits the nail on the head: "Buying such a house is akin to entering an elite club." In short, they give you a bragging right.
No wonder, things are hotting up in the branded home space. While designer homes give high quality interiors, branded homes offer luxurious services. Take Lodha Group's New Cuffe Parade project in Mumbai. It has buildings designed by famous names such as Philippe Starck and Kelly Hoppen. It boasts the country's largest clubhouse over an area of 75,000 sq ft, 11 swimming pools and a 5,000 sq ft spa.
What also sets branded homes apart from other luxury projects are the interiors. The designers pay great attention to every little thing, from faucets and hand-baked tiles in the restroom to wallpaper in the guestroom. Residences by Philippe Starck currently sell at Rs 7.7 crore to Rs 14 crore. Prices for Kelly Hoppen residences range from Rs 3.2 crore to Rs 5 crore.
What's on offer?
Lodha Group and Supertech have partnered with the Armani group in Mumbai and Greater Noida, respectively. Sunteck is selling homes designed by Sussanne Roshan's The Charcoal Project in Nagpur. Panchshil Realty in Pune and Lodha in Mumbai are constructing Trump Towers.
Then, there are developers that have tied up with luxury hotel chains and offer branded homes. Oberoi Realty, for example, has partnered Ritz-Carlton. The flats in this project, Three Sixty West, are serviced by the hotel, right next to the residential tower. The RK Jatia Group, promoter of Asian Hotels, is constructing a similar project, next to the Four Seasons hotel.
Disney has tied up with several developers in major metros, such as Sunteck in Mumbai, Prestige in Bengaluru, and Supertech in Greater Noida.
Abhishek Lodha, managing director, Lodha Group, explains: "The appetite for luxury living in India has increased rapidly and is within reach of a much larger group. The global Indian now seeks the same brands and experiences in his home as he has had with his clothes or the car he drives."
These homes also have a feel-good factor and a recall value, It is also helps the developer price the project at a premium.
According to a study by Knight Frank, customers recognise the value of branded residences and are willing to pay a premium of 25-40 per cent globally. "As the realty market is not doing well currently, they are selling at par with the other premium projects in the vicinity," says Mudassir Zaidi, national director for residential properties at Knight Frank India.
Tie-ups with brands also give buyers confidence about the project. These brands join hands with firms with a track record and projects free of all hassles. For, a single controversy related to a project can destroy the brand's reputation.
In smaller luxury projects, where it might not be possible to tie up with a brand, developers partner companies to offer services by internationally renowned firms. For example, in its Signature Island project, Sunteck has tied up with an international spa company and Vertu for concierge service. According to reports, residents in the project include former Citigroup chief executive Vikram Pandit; Nimesh Kampani, chairman and managing director JM Financial; and Gautam Adani.
The idea behind a designer flat is that people move in with movable furnishings and start living without the hassle of spending money and time on the interiors. Developers, however, know there are customers who feel interior decoration is a personal affair and a reflection of their personality. That's why many of them also sell bare-shell residences, in which every detail is personalised to individual tastes.
By invitation only
A majority of these projects are tagged 'by invitation only'. This helps developers to get the same profile and class of buyers together. "When someone expresses an interest in the project, we also want to make sure that other customers who have bought in feel comfortable with their new neighbour. So, we look at people who express their interest and profile them from the perspective of the kind of education, the kind of business and professions they are. So that the overall social profile of the place is fairly homogenous," Lodha says.
In an earlier version of this article, the maximum unit price for The World Towers was mentioned as Rs 15 crore in the table, which has been corrected to Rs 100 crore. The error is regretted.