Michael Belton, President of Wainbridge International: "Super-high-end properties don't depreciate"

10 April 2020
Michael Belton, President of Wainbridge International: "Super-high-end properties don't depreciate"
In the current situation, when the ruble exchange rate is extremely unstable, oil is getting cheaper, and the coronavirus pandemic is affecting all spheres of life and changing the economy just in front of our eyes, citizens who have savings want to find a competent way to secure them. Traditionally, in Russia, the most reliable and profitable investment was the acquisition of real estate. Is it so now? If it is so, which property will not lose its value after the recession of the crisis wave?

Michael Belton, President of Wainbridge International (an international development company), has answered the questions of Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Thus cimpany has been working for over 12 years, and now it has more than 30 projects in its portfolio in prestigious locations around the world - from London and Paris to New York. In Russia the company implements ambitious and non-standard projects in the segment of residential and mixed-use real estate of business and premium class. Among them are the SOHO + NOHO (a business-class apartment complex near Belorusskaya metro station), AQUATORIA LCD on Leningradskoye Shosse and the elite Bvlgari Hotel & Residences Moscow - a hotel with residences on Bolshaya Nikitskaya, next to the conservatory.

The seliing of residences in the latter (there are only 14) has already begun. Although the project will be completed in 2022, the acquisition of such real estate, as Michael Belton explains, is akin to acquiring a rare collectible that will never fall in value. This happens for several reasons. Two of them can be distinguished: the level of quality of the project and its implementation at all stages (from which "collectibility" is born) and the brand component associated with the name Bvlgari and obliging to comply with the highest standards. Investments in luxury real estate, regardless of crises, do not involve haste. At the same time, as Mr. Belton assures, there was a rush demand in the segment of business-class real estate in Russia in the previous month. It is too early to drow conclusions of its stability.

Due to the unstable economic situation, the demand for real estate has rapidly grown. How is this trend reflected in the elite segment?

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Wainbridge International
President of
Wainbridge International

The Moscow luxury real estate market is just getting ready to react to the new reality, but we do not predict any sharp changes in the pricing policy of the elite segment developers. There will be no rush demand either. Expensive apartments and houses have a very long exposure period, and it makes no sense to sell real estate that only becomes more expensive over the years. On the contrary, I admit that some particularly valuable lots will be withdrawn from sales in anticipation of better times and of the real price.

We are precise about details, because I think we don’t see the difference between minor and major things, everything is important. What are the patterns of the demand for real estate? Do people buy it for themselves or with a view to invest?

Demand is dependent on the country and the real estate segment. We are implementing projects in London, Paris, New York, Moscow. It is noticeable that in Western countries the demand for luxury apartments and country residences has stopped. People strive to preserve their foreign exchange savings. In Russia, the situation is different. Here the purchasing power of the ruble is decreasing. Consequently, in order to save money, the population invests it in real estate in the middle and above the middle price segment. In February and March, we saw an increase in investment deals in our Moscow business-class projects. But it is idifficult to predict how long the excitement will last.

What are the requirements for real estate buyers today to the elite segment? In the presentation, the residences of Bvlgari Hotel & Residences Moscow are called "super-elite". What do you mean by this concept?

The buyer of super-expensive square meters is a collector. In this mely expensive and natural materials. The famous brand also creates added value through high standards of implementation, honed and perfected over years of experience. For example, the name Bvlgari has long been synonymous with luxury lifestyle, and the brand's chain of luxury hotels around the world is a recognized standard of hospitality and the highest level of service. In Russia, a Bvlgari Hotel & Residences Moscow hotel is being built on Bolshaya Nikitskaya, not far from the Kremlin. In addition to the hotel part, there will also be private city residences with the status of apartments. Like all the hotels in this chain, the architecture and interiors for the project were developed by the world famous architectural bureau Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel. It's not just real estate - it's Bvlgari.case exclusivity in the project is important, as well as the opportunity to possess something unique. Like any other real estate, a luxury apartment or house is a valuable asset, in some families it is even inherited. There is a great difference between luxury and ordinary real estate. Luxury one practically do not depreciate and have a set of certain characteristics, each of which must correspond to the highest rates. If it is a location, then it should be in the historical center. In Moscow, this is a location close to the Kremlin, or on Ostozhenka street, or near the Patriarch's Ponds. The architecture should only be represented by a world famous bureau.

For the reference, we add that Bvlgari Hotel& Residences Moscow has 14 residences ranging from 102 to 1026 sq. m, the space of each of them is thought out individually. Residents will have access to the lobby, courtyard, spa and fitness center, restaurant and hotel bar. An underground parking, round-the-clock security and concierge services - a full-fledged hotel service at home are also available.

Source: https://rg.ru/2020/04/10/majkl-belton-prezident-wainbridge-international-sverhelitnaia-nedvizhimost-ne-obescenivaetsia.html