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1. Written by News on 12-04-2009 16:54
 
 
Almost all sold
NINETY-SIX per cent of units in the freehold luxury condominium Illuminaire on Devonshire have been sold at an average price of $1,700 per sq ft since previews started on Thursday, developer EL Development said yesterday. 
 
By 5pm yesterday just three units were left in the 72-unit, 19-storey project. They were all on lower floors, said the company's managing director Lim Yew Soon. The quick sales took many - including Mr Lim - by surprise. 'We are a bit surprised at the results,' he said. 'We were expecting it to be about 50 per cent sold. 
 
While transaction volumes picked up in the first quarter of the year, most activity has been in the mass market segment. CB Richard Ellis put the take-up of new homes in Q1 at between 2,000 and 2,200 units - the highest since Q3 2007. But no new high-end project was launched in Q1. 
 
Analysts, as well as Mr Lim, attributed the success of Illuminaire to the small size of the units, which means the absolute amount a buyer had to fork out was not as much as with bigger units. The project consists entirely of one- and two-bedroom apartments. One-bedroom units, which are 441 sq ft or 463 sq ft, all cost less than $800,000. And all the two-bedroom apartments, which are 635 sq ft or 721 sq ft, sold for under $1.25 million. 
 
Small units are proving popular in the current downturn. In Q1, for example, shoe-box units in city-fringe locations were snapped up. Projects such as Alexis, Nova 88 and The Mercury sold well, at prices ranging between $900 psf and $1,200 psf for unit sizes of 340 sq ft to 750 sq ft. Most of these units were sold at an absolute quantum of less than $600,000. 
 
The quick sales at Illuminaire could be due to investors wanting to own a property in prime District 9 without paying too much upfront, said Nicholas Mak, director of research and consultancy at Knight Frank. 'Traditionally, it has always been hard to find anything in District 9 for less than $1.3 million,' he said. 'With this project, investors had the opportunity. I won't say this points to a recovery in the high-end market.' 
 
Most of the buyers at Illuminaire were Singaporeans or permanent residents, Mr Lim said. EL Development offered buyers an interest absorption scheme. Illuminaire is expected to receive its temporary occupation permit by Q1 2012 at the latest, Mr Lim said.
 
2. Written by News on 09-04-2009 16:49
 
 
Launching soon
EL Development will launch its high-end condominium Illuminaire along Devonshire Road this weekend. 
 
Apartments in the 72-unit project will be priced at an average of $1,700 per sq ft. 
 
But because they are small - the entire development consists of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units - the overall quantum buyers will have to fork out will be kept low, said the company’s managing director Lim Yew Soon. 
 
One-bedroom units, which will be 441 sq ft or 463 sq ft, will all cost less than $800,000, Mr Lim said. 
 
And all two-bedroom apartments, which will be 635 sq ft or 721 sq ft, will sell for under $1.25 million. 
 
EL Development decided to go ahead with the launch as ‘we cannot wait indefinitely’, Mr Lim said. ‘We feel the market is slowly moving now.’ 
 
Analysts say an estimated 2,100-plus new homes were sold in Q1 - the highest number since the market was hit by the US mortgage crisis in the last quarter of 2007 and more than four times the number of new units sold in Q4 2008. 
 
Despite a pick-up in transactions, luxury apartments are not selling well. Mr Lim said the reason is that most are quite big, which means the amount needed to buy one is quite high. The small units in Illuminaire are ‘more affordable’, he said.
 

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