More high-end apartments in Belfast as developers aiming to attract buyers with luxury
A planned development of Belfast city centre studio apartments at just under £80,000 each in 2011 will be relaunched as a luxury block with price tags from £165,000.
Developers Village Homes Ltd is to launch FX at 14 to 18 Montgomery Street, described as a development for those who value "the finer things in life".
But seven years ago, the site was intended for studio flats - with features such as sleeping quarters in an alcove - aimed at young professionals.
The studio flats at what was to be known as the M Building were marketed as hassle-free city centre housing. Would-be residents would find it so effortless to commute during the week to their jobs in the city centre that it would never again feel like Monday morning after the weekend - hence the name, Never Monday.
But Village Homes, which is led by Alan Fraser, changed the plans before the development was complete. Instead of 48 one-person studios at around £79,950, the development would have 36 one-bedroom apartments. Now the first homes in the FX development - named in a nod to Northern Ireland's screen industry and a reference to special 'effects' - are expected to be ready in May with prices starting at £165,000. The emergence of the FX development reflects gradual recovery in the housing market and growing competition among developers to attract apartment buyers.
Apartment prices have recovered some of their value since the property crash, according to the official Land and Property Services index, to reach a standardised price of £105,826. But that is still 40% off the £179,936 standardised price of the market peak in 2007. At the lowest point for apartment prices, the standardised price was £73,121, nearly 60% below peak.
According to estate agent Simon Brien (left), FX will bring luxury to the city. "A concierge will welcome you to the prestigious building which comes with a residents' lounge, a rooftop garden and private gym.
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"The interior styling of the FX building makes it look like a five-star lobby in a high-end hotel.
"A grand entrance way with oversized mirrors, doors and lights sets the scene perfectly for the opulence within."
Meanwhile, Portland 88 is another luxury development of apartments on Ormeau Road in south Belfast.
The development of 88 apartments by Barnett Developments is described as catering "for the next generation of discerning city centre home-owner". The apartments feature a 'Smart Home Intelligence System' to control heating and lighting from a smartphone.