Luxury condominiums – a class of distinction

September 12, 2011 / By

What defines a luxury condominium in the Manila market? Advertising has befuddled the distinction between luxury condominiums and mid-end condominium developments. Unfortunately, if all marketing spiels are taken seriously, then almost all condominium projects in the market now are luxury developments. To draw a line between what we can truly call ‘luxury condominiums’ and ‘high mid-end condominium developments,’ we need to scrutinise their basic elements.

Location. Luxury condominium developments are normally situated within the vicinity of prime city centres. In the Philippines, the prime city centres are Makati CBD, Bonifacio Global City and Ortigas CBD, where large local firms and multinational companies are located.

Price. Luxury comes with a high price tag. Prior to the year 2000, the distinction used to be in terms of per-square-metre pricing. However, the trend for condominiums now is to offer smaller floor areas to maximise possible offerings. High density developments offered to middle class households effectively command higher per-square-metre prices which leads us to switch to the total unit price as a reference. Currently, luxury condominiums in Manila have the following price ranges: studio unit Php5-7M (USD118-165T), 1BR Php10-20M (USD235-470T), 2BR Php15-28M (USD353-659T), and 3-4BR Php25-50M (USD588-1,177T) for typical units.

Design & Finish. Simply put, the condominium should possess classic, timeless finishes, and no portion of the building, either interior or exterior, should be tacky. All design components should discreetly say ‘pricey’ without having to put a flashy billboard which says “Expensive!”

Amenities. A luxury condominium can offer basic amenities, such as a pool, gym, and function room but still be considered a cut above average condominiums that offer more amenities. The distinguishing factor is the design and finish. Quality is not compromised for quantity.

Space. In the infancy of the Philippine condominium market, the average size of luxury condominiums was 300sqm, housing three bedrooms with individual toilets and baths. In recent years, typical unit offerings started to shrink, enabling developers to maximise the development potential of smaller lots. This is remedied by efficient unit layouts, mostly by doing away with dividing walls and opting for open plans, or installing lofts to provide additional room. There should also be large windows or glass doors to illuminate the unit with natural light.

The true and final test of luxury condominiums is how ‘gracefully’ it ages. No matter how long it has been in the market, if it is meticulously and effectively maintained by competent professional staff the building will remain at the top of the residential condominium market hierarchy.

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