New Yonkers Condo Campaign Selling Excess

4 min read

In this economy, does indulgence still sell?

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Writer

Yonkers, N.Y.—Monarch at Ridge Hill, a new luxury condominium property developed by Horizon Group L.L.C. in Yonkers, N.Y., has already secured 52 reservations, but now it is attracting even more attention with a new campaign. Houlihan Lawrence, exclusive sales and marketing firm for Monarch Hill, has joined forces with advertising firm Warehouse Agency on a new branding endeavor that is selling an idea not seen prevalently since the fabulous ’80s: indulgence.

“Long Live Excess” is the concept behind the recently launched print, online and outdoor advertising campaign for Monarch. With the country just beginning to crawl out of the financial crisis and with the condominium sector far from full recovery, it is not every marketer that would choose extravagance as a central promotion theme. However, despite current economic and real estate market conditions, the timing for the “high quality of life” premise appears to be just right. The key point is that Monarch’s high-end offerings, more frequently seen in neighboring Manhattan, come with a decidedly non-Manhattan price tag. The 162 spacious residences in the 12-story Tower One at Monarch, which will ultimately encompass four high-rises with 500 premier residential units, range in price from $322,000 to $1 million.

And why rent when you can buy, especially now. National average effective rent growth year-to-date as of August was 5.1 percent, according to apartment market data provider Axiometrics Inc. “Even with the slight slowdown in August, we are on course in 2011 to produce the third highest rate of annual effective rent growth since we have been tracking the market,” Ronald G. Johnsey, president of Axiometrics, notes in a prepared statement; Johnsey founded the firm in 1994.

The increase in demand—occupancy levels rose to 94.1 percent in August, as per the report—is pushing up rental prices and there’s no end in sight, as the jobs market improves and the new generation enters the workforce. “Rents are just escalating so much, and for so many people who are renting, this is such a better value in a pure financial decision,” Gay Prizio, director of project marketing of Houlihan Lawrence, tellsMHN. “With mortgage rates being at these historic lows and rents rising at a rapid clip, you can make a very, very substantial argument that it makes so much more sense to own now rather than to rent.” Sweetening the deal at Monarch is the property’s FHA-approved status, which allows qualified buyers to put down as little as 3.5 percent on a residence.

The marketing campaign is not just targeting potential buyers in the New York and New Jersey suburbs, they’re going after everyone within reach, including dwellers in Manhattan, which is just 22 minutes away. “For any renter, people who are renting in the city and people who are renting here in Westchester County or in Rockland county or Bergen County, the point is rents are high and rents are going up, and that much we know with certainty,” she adds.

Monarch also meets another all-important criterion in the real estate world: location. The eco-friendly property’s site in Ridge Hill, a 12-block neighborhood being developed by the Forest Ratner Cos., places residents within close proximity to a town center environment featuring high-end retail offerings, restaurants and entertainment.

And Monarch has very little in the way of competition in the immediate area and beyond. Monarch is the only residential option at Ridge Hill at the moment, and options in neighboring communities are limited. “There is very little if any new construction in Westchester County,” Prizio notes. “There is so much pent-up demand right now because people love new construction; they really do. They love being first, they love everything being brand spanking new, especially if you’re going to buy. You feel great confidence in new construction and there is very little new construction and very little in the pipeline.”

In addition to being new, Monarch offers the premier offerings that are not typically available at properties anywhere in Westchester County. Upscale city-style amenities in a suburban location is the draw. The building has such amenities as a 25,000-square-foot atrium featuring everything from a state-of-the art two-story fitness center and spa to a golf simulator. Other coveted but rarely available extras include a wine cellar and a lounge with Wii, a business center with WiFi and a library. “You get more here than you can get elsewhere,” Prizio asserts. Houlihan Lawrence and Warehouse are making sure everyone from empty nesters to young professionals get the message. “It’s going to be advertising that breaks through the clutter. The vast majority of real estate ads kind of look the same; ours have a very unique look to them. They’re very striking, they’re very spare, they’re very visually beautiful. We feel that is part of the core of the campaign, that it really allows us to break through the clutter.”

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