"Mosquitoes and monkeys," laughs Datuk Alan Tong as he recalls the early days of Mont'Kiara. The group chairman of Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd (BKP) is the person behind Mont'Kiara's first condominium project in the early 1990s. Running Sunrise before it was listed on the then Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (now Bursa Malaysia), Tong remembers launching Mont'Kiara Pines at an average of RM220 psf.

Today, condos in the highly successful address of Mont'Kiara can easily command prices above RM700 psf. The latest launch by Sunrise Bhd, 11@Mont'Kiara, has a RM727 psf onwards price tag, setting a new benchmark for condos there.

Sunrise's managing director, Datuk Michael Yam, says it is amazing that for the past 10 years, Sunrise properties have enjoyed yields as high as 12%.

Tong says this is one of the reasons people are still buying despite concerns that the area is getting overcrowded. A high expatriate presence in Mont'Kiara is another factor pushing up prices there, he adds.

Currently, there is a large Japanese community (about 900) and over 50 other nationalities living there. Tong feels the pull factors for many expats are the environment and atmosphere that Mont'Kiara offers. At the moment, there are three international schools there — Garden International School, Mont'Kiara International School and French International School. Apart from this, many more amenities are coming up in adjacent Sri Hartamas, Tong says.

"It's a feeling of the more the merrier, which in turn offers residents a wider choice of amenities. I also feel that many projects here are well planned, offering residents the option to enjoy themselves indoors in the privacy of their units or outdoors in the open spaces and recreational areas that are beautifully landscaped," he adds.

Landscaping is strongly emphasised in all three of BKP's projects, which are: Aman Kiara, a stratified landed development; Hijauan Kiara, a low-density condo; and the serviced residence, Verve Suites. The first tower called Viva is 90% sold without the benefit of advertisements while the recent launch of the second tower, Vibe, achieved 65% sales within two months of its preview.

Take-up rates have been equally good for Sunrise. Even before 11@Mont'Kiara's private preview two months ago, 50% of its units had been reserved, mainly from the developer's repeat buyers. Yam says these people know the value of their investment. Historically, Sunrise's properties have recorded capital appreciation of up to 60% and rental yields of between 8% and 12%.

Comparing yields worldwide, Yam says cities like London are enjoying a property boom but yields are 1% to 2% below the borrowing rate, while emerging cities like Shanghai are garnering even higher yields than Mont'Kiara.
"Where yields match current lending rates, it is a good time to buy," says Yam, adding that he's surprised that more people are not buying into Mont'Kiara right now.

But how long can the market sustain itself? Is there any more upside to Mont'Kiara? Will prices keep climbing or have they reached their peak? These questions and other pertinent issues will be addressed by Tong and Yam at The Edge Investment Forum on Real Estate 2007 on Oct 27. See below for details.


Date: 27'October 2007 (Saturday)
Location: Eastin Hotel, Petaling Jaya
Exclusive for readers of THE EDGE, Register now for your FREE seats - First come, first served basis, call (03) 7787 9800

Speaker at the Forum
Allan Soo
, managing director, Regroup Associated Sdn Bhd, on "Local and regional residential property markets"

Ang Kok Heng, chief investment officer, Philip Capital Management Sdn Bhd, on "Wealth creation - equities or real estate?"

Ho Chin Soon, director, Ho Chin Soon Research, on "Property hot spots: IDR; NCER or Klang Valley? Where in Klang Valley?"

Datuk Alan Tong, group chairman, Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd, and Datuk Michael Yam, managing director, Sunrise Bhd, on "A real estate success story - Mont' Kiara: A developer's perspective"

Panel Discussion:
Is Malaysian real estate underpriced ?
Datuk Richard Fong, International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci) president; group executive vice-chairman, Glomac Bhd
Lai Voon Hon, president & CEO, Ireka Development Management
Previndran Singhe, CEO, Zerin Properties
Kumar Tharmalingam, secretary-general, Fiabci Asia Pacific