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Saturday, December 8, 2007

A bold successful move

YNH's early decision to buy up property pays off

Four years ago, when it was listed on the main board of Bursa Malaysia, YNH Property Bhd made a conscious decision to reposition itself as a leading high-end property developer in the Klang Valley. At that time, the shift into high end properties in prime locations seemed like a bold move considering the fact that the group has been involved in affordable housing scheme for over 20 years in Manjung, Perak.

To realise the aspiration, the group acquired prime land in Kuala Lumpur. The timing was also key as there was generally the perception that the soft property market situation in 2003 was coming to an end, and there would be an upswing soon in demand for properties on prime locations, says group corporate services head Daniel Chan.

As a result, the group ended up with 38-acres of prime location land in Kuala Lumpur city.

YNH corporate services head Daniel Chan with the Forbes Asia Best under A Billion award showing the 163 service suite model at KL

The decision to move into Kuala Lumpur's hot spots was indeed, as it turns out, a right one.

“For example, Menara YNH, one of the group's projects planned for 2008 in Kuala Lumpur on a 3-acre site, has already attracted much attention from internationally reputable developers who want to jointly develop the project with us.

The 45-storey iconic building, with a gross development value of RM1.2bil, is designed to accommodate a single office block and a retail centre. Each floor has a floor plate of 55,000 sq ft, which is one of the largest in the world. The total net lettable area of approximately 1.2 million sq ft is also one of the largest in Malaysia, he says.

Chan adds that YNH is now considering offers from reputable investors from Hong Kong, Singapore and New York to jointly develop Menara YNH.

The company has also received offers to purchase the Menara YNH en-bloc from interested parties from Singapore and Middle East.

The rapid appreciation of land value in Kuala Lumpur has evidently justified the group's decision to enter into property development in Kuala Lumpur, Chan added.

“In Kuala Lumpur city, the per sq ft of undeveloped land is now RM1,500, compared to about RM500 psf when we first bought it.

“For developed commercial properties, such as office buildings, the value is now above RM1,100 psf, compared to RM600 psf in 2003.

“This can be seen in the latest transaction for Glomac Tower located in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), which was sold for RM1,120 psf.

YNH has lined up 10 projects of high-end and affordable residential and commercial properties with an estimated gross development value of over RM6bil for launch over the next five years in Kuala Lumpur and Manjung, Perak.

There are 9 projects planned for Kuala Lumpur that would be implemented between 2008 and 2013, while in Manjung the group would launch a mixed development project with an estimated gross development value of RM2.3bil project that would take about 20 years to complete.

“The group would carry out the development of the 9 projects at the 38-acre of land bank spread over in Kuala Lumpur city and Mont Kiara.

“The projects in Kuala Lumpur city and Mont Kiara that would be developed next year are the RM1.2bil Menara YNH at Jalan Sultan Ismail, while the RM700mil D'Kiara Place and RM300mil Project 6 Duta are planned in Mont Kiara.

“There are 6 other projects, comprising retail commercial properties and luxurious condominiums, with an estimated total gross development value of RM1bil, which will be developed in Mont Kiara between 2009 and 2013,” he says.

On the group's on-going projects in Kuala Lumpur city and Mont Kiara, Chan says the RM300mil 163 Service Suites and the RM200mil Ceriaan Kiara luxurious condominium project would be completed respectively in 2008 and 2009.

“In September 2007, we managed to get Fraser Hospitality Pte Ltd to manage the 163 Service Suites, which comprises high-end service apartments, offices, and retail outlets.

“The project is 97% sold. The Ceriaan Kiara project, comprising two blocks of condominiums, in Mont Kiara is over 80% sold. In October 2007, CIMB-Mapletree has signed with us to purchase from us one block of the project,” he says.

In Manjung, the project planned for next year would be developed on a 1,000-acre site.

Menara YNH at Jalan Sultan Ismail,the artist impression

Chan says YNH had bought the 1,000-acre land more than 10 years ago and plans to develop 20,000 units of residential and commercial properties over the next 20 years.

Some 90% of the development would be residential components, comprising terraced and semi-detached houses, while the remaining 10% would consist of shop-houses. Each year, YNH will launch 500 houses on a 50-acre site for the next 20 years, which is expected to generate about RM75mil in revenue for the group annually,” he says.

Chan says the project was strategically located next to the Lumut Naval Base and Lumut Port Industrial Park.

“Our research team has checked out that there is still a lot of demand for affordable housing in Manjung due to the presence of the Lumut Naval Base and the Lumut Port Industrial Park.

“There are also several oil and gas and bio-diesel companies presently in Manjung expanding their operations, which is currently driving the demand for affordable housing,” he says.

On the group's future business directions, Chan says YNH would continue acquiring land only in strategic locations.

“The group will concentrate on looking for land in Manjung, and selective parts of Klang Valley and Ipoh,” he says.

Chan says because the group had purchased its land bank in Kuala Lumpur at very attractive pricing, the rise of building materials' prices of late did not eat into the profit margins of the group.

“We can still manage a good profit margin of between 40% and 50% despite the increase in the raw materials' prices,” he says.

The YNH Property group is owned by the Yu family in Sitiawan, Perak.

The group has to date completed and sold more than 8,800 units of residential and commercial properties with an estimated gross development value of RM820mil in Perak since 1982.

YNH was also the recent recipient of the Forbes Asia 'best under a billion' award in recognition of its performance one of the region's top 200 small and medium size companies.

Two recent analyst reports published in November 2007 have recently revised their forecast earnings for YNH Property Bhd.

The reports from KAF-Seagroatt & Campbell Securities says it was revising the earnings for the 2007 and 2009 fiscal years by between 2% and 5% in view of higher margins for its high-end projects in Kuala Lumpur.

RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd is also bullish on the group's capability to achieve higher earnings for the period 2007 to 2009.

It says the higher margins would also be influenced by the group's new projects such as the D'Kiara Place, Project 6 Duta, and better selling price for the existing projects such as the Ceriaan Kiara condominium project and 163 Service Suites.

KAF-Seagroatt also expects the shortage of premier commercial buildings in Kuala Lumpur CityCentre (KLCC) to boost the selling price of Menara YNH.

By The Star

Debunking the myth - Malaysia’s real estate and what drives it

The Cost of Living (COL) survey by ECA International is carried out twice a year, comparing a basket of 128 consumer goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates in over 300 locations worldwide. Multinational companies use the results to help compensate their internationally mobile staff. Living costs for expatriates are affected by inflation, availability of goods and exchange rates, all of which can have a significant impact on expatriate remuneration packages. They concluded the following on Asian cities:

“In Asia, Seoul maintains its position as the most expensive city in Asia for expatriates, moving from 8th to 7th in the global ranking over the past 12 months. During the same period, Tokyo, Asia's second most costly city, dropped out of the top ten for the first time moving from 10th to 13th.

A 6% overall rise in the cost of goods and services typically purchased by expatriates has meant that despite the weakening Hong Kong dollar, Hong Kong's position in the ranking has remained steady and is still the fifth most expensive location in the region and ranked 79th worldwide.

The recent rise in GST in Singapore from 5% to 7% has contributed to pushing up living costs in Singapore, which has risen 10 places in the ranking since 2006. This, together with no change in Hong Kong's position, means that the gap is closing between the two locations.”

Where does Malaysia stand?

Asia's Most Expensive Cities (Global Ranking)

1 (7) Seoul
2 (13) Tokyo
5 (79) HK
6 (94) Taipei
7 (95) Beijing
8 (100) Shanghai
9 (122) Singapore
11 (153) Jakarta
18 (168) Bangkok
24 (177) Mumbai
25 (178) New Delhi
29 (191) Manila
32 (195) Hanoi
33 (197) Kuala Lumpur
35 (203) Karachi
36 (204) Ho Chi Minh City

Should we be happy or sad that Malaysia is “cheap”?

I see three main reasons why Malaysia is cheap:

a) Subsidised products – The country provides substantial subsidies in many essential necessities, but more importantly the government subsidises a lot in oil and gas products. This helps to translate into a lower COL for all, albeit unnecessarily subsidising the profits of many manufacturers and MNCs.

Naturally, when these products' prices surge (like they have been doing for the past 2 years), the subsidy budget will become unmanageable.

The government has to look deeper into the opportunity cost of such deep subsidy plans. We also need to put in place a timeline to trim the subsidy for all companies operating in Malaysia – they must be forced to compete with fuel at normalised prices.

b) Foreign workforce – Malaysia enjoys near full employment. However the country has some 2 million official foreign workers and probably another 2 million in the country working illegally.

The foreign work force is a significant factor in depressing wages and keeping prices in check. They also free up a sizable percentage of the local workforce to other areas of employment.

c) Its in real estate (the biggest reason for low COL figure) – Malaysia has one of the cheapest real estate markets in Asia. Real estate is a huge component of overall cost structure for any businesses.

Translate that down the line for all products and services, you get an effectively lower COL for Malaysia.

Let's examine the real estate issue further. As prices of high-end properties zoomed to stratosphere in Singapore, there was some spill over into KL and Penang as well.

Below, data compiled by JLW (Jones Lang Wootton) and OSK on regional comparisons of the average price per sq ft of luxury condos:

Kuala Lumpur - RM560 (US$164)
Singapore - RM4,616 (US$1,357)
Bangkok - RM714 (US$210)
Jakarta - RM425 (US$125)
Hong Kong - RM5,563 (US$1,636)
Shanghai - RM1,225 (US$360)
Beijing - RM646 (US$190)

It would be useful to view that, against the GDP per capita figures which provides a gauge on income per person:

Malaysia - US$10,400
Singapore - US$29,700
Thailand - US$8,300
Indonesia - US$3,700
HK - US$36,800
China - US$6,200

Now let's look at GDP per capita/PSF in US$ to get some interesting ratios:

KL - 63.4x
Singapore - 21.9x
Thailand - 39.5x
Indonesia - 29.6x
HK - 22.5x
Shanghai - 17.2x
Beijing - 32.6x

The lower the ratio, the more unaffordable it would be. Obviously, KL sticks out like a sore thumb, its “cheap” and “affordable” no matter how you cut it.

What's interesting is how expensive and unaffordable the luxury condos are in “poorer nations”. It may be safe to assume then that in these poorer nations, the bulk of purchases involved foreign buying and/or speculation.

Still, why is Malaysia so cheap?
Is this the best buy story for the decade? Well the short answer is NO. The long answer is also NO.

And here's why:

KL's real estate is one of the cheapest in Asia. This also explains why 5 star hotels in Malaysia are among the cheapest in the world. It is easy to understand the fact that Malaysia's real estate values lag those of more developed nations such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul or Tokyo.

We can also understand why Shanghai or Beijing is more expensive too, compared to KL and that's largely because of population, out-sourcing and investments.

But KL's real estate value also lags Indian cities, Bangkok and certain places in Jakarta.

A “poor” country can have high city real estate values. A big factor is city population. You need to cram a lot of people into a tiny space, then real estate values will soar – for example, New York, Tokyo, HK, Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Jakarta, Karachi and Mumbai. Many of these have a 10 to 30 million city population.

KL has about 5 million but it is also quite spread out.

Another factor is that it has to be CRAMPED – or rather business activity CBD has to be cramped.

If you want KL prices or Penang prices to shoot higher, ask the politicians to double the population of KL or Penang.

We have to have people bumping into each other all the time while walking on sidewalks, then our property prices will surge.

We have to double the time we spend travelling to work, then our property prices will surge. Good trade off?

Another factor for high real estate values is whether you are a financial centre. Is your city a crucial outpost to doing business in the region like HK, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo or New York? KL seems to be neither here nor there. What about Bangkok?

It certainly is not financial centre although it has a super duper population (have you seen the weekend exodus from Bangkok every Friday).

Even though it is not a financial centre, it is the centre for a country with a decent population size.

If your capital city is the centre of a country with a decent population, you can be assured of good commercial real estate values – e.g. Thailand, Taiwan, India and South Korea.

Decent population size means critical mass achieved in many areas, especially domestic demand. We need Malaysia to move quickly from 26 million to at least 60 million.

If you are not a financial centre, you can still command high rates if high-value services businesses are aplenty.

Hence Singapore's commercial real estate will have a very strong long-term uptrend as it does not depend on its reputation as a financial centre/port/MICE like HK but moves higher up the value-added curve by encouraging designers/inventors in animation, biotech, education, etc.

Does KL look like a city with good high value added industries? I can think of Islamic Finance as the one area where we could adopt the “blue ocean strategy”.

Our MSC really only achieved about 10% of what we set out to do – its a decent place for outsourcing.

Our main revenue comes from oil and gas, plantations and other soft commodities – they are not high value add industries with the exception of maybe oil and gas.

Widening the city
Good amenities and public infrastructure would not be a bad thing, look at Tokyo, HK, Singapore or even New York – but infra is not that crucial in giving higher real estate values.

If you look at the capital cities of the high GDP per capita countries such as Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki...etc, you will find that good infra is a good thing but does not necessarily translate to stratospheric real estate prices.

Infra wise, KL is better than Bangkok, Jakarta, Mumbai ... but we still lag their real estate prices.

Lack of good quality commercial space will also spruce up real estate values. Just look at Indian cities, cities in Vietnam or even Jakarta.

We in KL, unfortunately build good buildings cheaply as land is cheap and plentiful. I mean, KL commercial just keeps getting drawn wider and wider.

First the CBD (commercial business district), then the city kind of move wider to include PJ, then it moves out to Shah Alam ... don't forget, Putrajaya.

There's too much cheap flat land. Now, we are extending into IDR as well.

The picture is so clear
Commercial real estate value in Malaysia will lag the rest of Asia, even some cities in Vietnam and it will not change until the fundamentals change.

Foreign investors and/or foreign speculation can drive real estate values up. Just consider the factors cited, Malaysia does not look like having good upside or remotely standing a chance of catching up to their neighbours, so why would foreign property investors dive in for the long haul?

Speculators have driven up prices in Macau, thanks to their success in gaming and the money kinda followed to Singapore with its brilliantly planned Integrated Resorts.

We have been seeing some spillover effect into KL and Penang high end, and that's basically that, a spillover not a dramatic shift in fundamentals.

At the end of the day, cheap real estate is not a bad thing. It improves our affordability. It helps to attract FDI in particularly for industries where land is a big cost factor, and its a big plus for tourism.

There is NO Asia average median real estate pricing where we all gravitate to. We will stay where we are in the pricing curve unless one or more of the factors above changes significantly for Malaysia.

Despite the overall low COL for Malaysia, there is one big exception. Malaysia and Singapore are probably the two most expensive places on earth to buy cars. I wonder why!

By The Star (by S Dali)

S Dali is a pseudonym. He is an ex-analyst and active blogger ( who says he is too young, too old, too sarcastic, too dark, too Cantonese.

High-end condo beside Grand Millennium hotel

SINGAPORE tycoon Kwek Leng Beng will be building a 42-storey high-end condominum next to his Grand Millennium Hotel. The convex golden steel and glass structure will be located next to the newly refurbished Grand Millennium, along Jalan Bukit Bintang and will have an additional 15-storey crown.

“It will be iconic and special,” says Kwek.

Known as Millennium Residence, the project will be developed by City Developments (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, with its headquarters in City Developments Ltd (CDL), which is part of Singapore’s Hong Leong group of companies.

CDL developed The Sail @ Marina Bay, The Oceanfront @ Sentosa Cove, One Shenton and St Regis Residences, Singapore. The company has built more than 20,000 luxury homes and today manages close to five million sq ft of lettable commercial and residential space in Singapore and the region. CDL has a presence in over 20 countries with over 250 subsidiaries in five companies listed on the stock exchange of Auckland, Hong Kong, London, Manila and Singapore.

The last several years, developers from Singapore have been buying up land or entering into joint ventures to build high-end luxury condominiums in the Klang Valley.

Having been in the real estate for four decades, he is building his first condominium in Malaysia.

“We have a lot of properties and land bank in Singapore. We are in the country we know best. Today, it is not so much about financial resources. If you are a good company, you can get all the financial resources. It is about talent. Our policy is to put the best people we have in the place they know best. If you are doing very well in your hometown, that is wonderful.

“My strategy in the hotel industry is the same. I have people who want to buy my hotels. I have been operating as a hotelier for so many years and with the appreciation of land, now is the time to unlock value. And the trend today is a combination of hotel and serviced apartment, with the hotel providing the service. We are in a position to do that with Millennium Residence. In short, we remain at the forefront of the industry. And we see some international chains following us.”

Kwek personally saw to the design, which is by world renown architect Carlos Ott whose work includes Opera de la Bastille in Paris, the National Bank of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. His more recent masterpieces include One Shenton and The Solitaire and the Cliveden in Grange luxury apartments in Singapore.

World renown architect Carlos Ott

Millennium Residence will complement the hotel both in terms of architecture and colour. The exterior will be gold, with lots of glass and steel and it will have a total of 135 units with one, two and three-bedroom units. It will be launched the first half of next year.

The pricing has not been decided but it will be around RM1,800 per sq ft. Demand is expected to be good because of its location and despite the more than 20-over condominium projects (totalling 5,000-odd units) that will be launched next year.

“There will be a market for this, because of its location. The quality will be there,” says Kwek.

An artist’s impression of the convex iconic structure, Millennium Residence, beside Grand Millennium hotel

The units will be fitted out with Bravat sanitaryware, Hansgrohe fittings from Germany, Legrand lighting control system from France. The kitchen features German brands including Miele cooker hood and hob, build-in oven, Bosch refrigerator, washing machine and dryer.

“We will give value for money and buyers will be happy. I have three funds who want to buy en bloc. I also know long-staying guests who are interested. Even if there are 8,000 units in Kuala Lumpur, there will be demand because of this location.”

Kwek says the concept of apartments serviced by a fine hotel is currently very popular in Singapore.

By The Star

New dimension to Damansara area

Pusat Bandar Damansara and the overall Damansara Heights landscape will take on a new dimension with the flurry of ongoing activities in the town centre. Several developers have staked their territory that comprises several parcels.

Work on a smaller plot, of about 2.17 acres, will be undertaken by four established names in property development. The Lion Group has joined hands with the real estate investment arm of American International Group Inc, Singapore-based Koh Maju, and Singapore’s Heeton Holdings Ltd, to form a joint venture company Panareno Sdn Bhd to build a luxury high-rise residential project Twins at Damansara Heights.

The two-tower block fronts Jalan Damanlela, and is adjacent to Jalan Johar. The project offers 318 units of luxury residential suites, on twin 36-storey blocks, with 159 units in each block.

GuocoLand (M) Bhd, which is part of Malaysia’s Hong Leong group of companies, is also staking its claim in that territory. GuocoLand is offering a mixed development on 8.5 acres of freehold commercial land comprising retail mall, office towers, luxury condominiums, serviced apartments and a five-star boutique hotel.

The development in Pusat Bandar Damansara underscores two things – the presence and interest of Singapore developers in Malaysia and the ever escalating number of high-rise residential projects in Kuala Lumpur.

In the heart of the city, Singapore’s Hong Leong group, under the helm of Kwek Leng Beng, will also be building Millennium Residence, a 57-storey convex glass and steel structure next to the newly refurbished Grand Millennium, formerly The Regent Kuala Lumpur, in Jalan Bukit Bintang.

The Grand Millennuim Kuala Lumpur, formerly known as The Regent

While Twins at Damansara is expected to be launched this year, there are about 20 condominium and serviced apartments in different parts of the city that are scheduled to be launched next year.

Says Kwek: “It does not matter whether 5,000 more units will be added to the Kuala Lumpur skyline. Even 8,000 will not be a lot. There will always be competition. The question is location, location, location! So you spread it out. They don’t buy the residence, they buy the address.”

Kwek was commenting on the more than 5,000 units of high-rise residential units, excluding those that are already launched several years ago, that are scheduled to be launched in the city next year. He will be building his first condominium, Millennium Residence, here.

South Korea is short of units. So they go out to other parts of Asia to buy. Likewise, Singaporeans and comparatively, Kuala Lumpur is cheaper than many other Asian cities,” he says.

“As to whether a developer makes money or not depends on the right location, timing and human resources,” says Kwek. He has been in property development for about 40 years.

Kwek says in a way, his company City Developments Ltd, an international property and hotel group, under the Hong Leong group in Singapore, helped to kick start the Singapore condominium real estate market.

“It was in the doldrums for eight years, beginning from 1996. In 2004, we came up with The Sail @ Marina Bay. That project had more than 1,000 units, a 70-storey and a 64-storey block. We started at S$900 psf. Today, the higher floors are S$3,000, with the average pricing between S$2,500 to S$2,700. That is three times the original purchase price in a time frame of four years. When a person goes into property investment, he must be patient. It is a medium to long-term investment.”

Kwek, who is also adviser to the Las Vegas Sands Corp to build and run the first of two casino resorts, also talked about how the casino resort will help to launch Singapore into the next phase of growth.

Singapore reversed its 40-year ban on casino gambling to have two casinos, one on Marina Bay and second on the island of Sentosa, to boost tourism. It chose Las Vegas Sands’ vision of convention-driven district over three other bids, Malaysia’s Genting Bhd and two Singapore government-owned companies.

Singapore has not been growing until the last 10 years. The new resorts will take us to another phase. I can visualise the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) market already. The casino takes up only 6%. MICE is a very profitable business. We want to double tourists arrivals to 17 million by 2015, create more jobs. We project that there will not be enough hotel rooms, malls or condominiums.

“The casino resort will be very significant and it will provide competition for the gaming business in the region. If people like it, they will come more often,” says Kwek.

Marina Bay Sands, expected to cost US$4bil, will be the most expensive casino in the world when completed in 2009.

American casino operators have been rushing to expand in Asia to tap the region’s fast growing ranks of millionaires and middle-class consumers.

By The Star

The Kwek factor

SINGAPORE’S billionaire Kwek Leng Beng is extremely well preserved. In his 60s, he is as suave and as elegant as his newly refurbished and rebranded Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur.

Kwek arrived in Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday evening “to check out the hotel”, his first Grand Millennium under Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc’s (M&C) stable of four brands – Grand Millennium, Millennium, Copthorne and Kingsgate.

M&C is a subsidiary of Singapore’s City Developments Ltd, which is part of the tycoon’s Hong Leong group of companies in Singapore.

Says M&C chief operating officer Michael Sengol: “He is very passionate about anything he lays his hands on. He wants to see if the furniture is right, whether it complements the overall ambience, and if they don’t, they have to be changed. He checked out all the food and beverage (F&B) outlets and this afternoon, he is going to try the pool.”

Located in Jalan Bukit Bintang, the former Regent hotel had a multimillion US dollar makeover which saw it being rebranded as Grand Millennium, owned and managed by Kwek’s London-listed M&C. It is the first of three in this class under M&C, which he, Kwek, chairs.

It will be simultaneously launched with Grand Millennium Bangkok in the next several months, with Grand Millennium Beijing opening its doors before the Beijing Olympics. Millennium Chengdu and Phuket will also open next year.

Says Kwek: “The Grand Millennium is top of the range. It is a brand for the well-heeled, who are accustomed to the highest level of service and facilities. The world today is looking for a lifestyle. But we must be careful because too much of it renders it outdated. What is important is service.”

He is currently also identifying other hotels around the world to upgrade as part of his strategy.

“But replicating hotels in key strategic locations is not easy but it can be done. We have five hotels in London. I have from time to time Middle Eastern people who are interested to buy some of these and we also have hotels in the Middle East. With the petrol dollar, there are some very fine hotels there.

“We are long-term players and we have a vision. When opportunities come, we grab it. Everything boils down to yield, but there must also be enough emotion about the property. The yield is important, but is it workable?”

From his family’s stable of six hotels in 1989, Kwek has expanded that to 114 hotels in 18 countries today. He is reported to have an estimated net worth, in 2005, of US$3.6bil, much of it derived from real estate in one form or another. Although the Hong Leong Group covers a multitude of sectors – property investment and development, hotel ownership and management, financial services and industrial enterprises – it is property development and hotels which interest him the most.

“I like high-end property development. Hotels are exciting because the industry keep on evolving. Today, there is the trend of combining hotel and service apartments. But there must be enough land to accommodate both. Fortunately, I have many hotels with a lot of land. And you will soon see this combination with the development of Millennium Residence, a high-end serviced apartment next to Grand Millennium,” he says.

Several years ago, he was crowned Asian Hotelier of the Decade. It is not a title he got for nothing.

In 1995, he bought New York’s The Plaza hotel with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed from real estate tycoon Donald Trump for US$325mil. About a decade later, the prince and business tycoon sold it for a record price of US$675mil.

In 1999, he beat 19 global bidders to buy Seoul Hilton for US$357mil from the then troubled Daewoo group.

Kwek’s business acumen is legendary. Coupled with his taste for fine things, impeccable service and style, he has assembled a package which appeals to the moneyed, be it luxury homes or hotel accommodation.

“Sometimes, I pose as a guest. I talked with them to find out how I can improve my hotels and services, what they would like to do as a tourist in Singapore and Malaysia, their experiences in both countries. I get a lot of feedback this way. Life is, after all, experiences.”

Kwek inherited his wealth from his father, the late Kwek Hong Png. And his business acumen and entrepreneurship has helped to expand that many times over. The story of the Kwek fortune is a classic overseas Chinese success story. Kwek Hong Png left Fujian province in China as a penniless teenager with three brothers. They arrived in Singapore in 1928 and later founded the Hong Leong group there, named after one of the brothers. Kwek Hong Png’s brother, Hong Lye, moved to Malaysia to expand the family business. When the next generation took over, the business interests diverged, the Singapore/ Malaysia cross-shareholdings remain.

While Kwek Beng Leng looks after the family business in Singapore, his cousin, Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan – the family name is spelled differently in Malaysia – looks after the Malaysian interests.

“You can grow organically or you grow by acquisition. Whatever business you are in, you must be passionate about it.

“You must try your level best to understand the subject matter because there will be pitfalls. Look at your business model and cash flow. Make sure they match the earnings and have a good financier who understands you and the marketing and sales of this lifestyle.

“In other words, you must fall in love with the subject. But that is still not enough. You must have a vision and big dreams. You may not achieve the dreams to the degree you want, but if you keep at it, you will achieve a part of it.”

Global brand
London-listed Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc today has 114 hotels in 18 countries. It operates five luxury London hotels that account for around a quarter of earnings. Its Asian operations make up around a third of yearly turnover, with three up-market New York hotels also making up a sizeable share.

“The Grand Millennium will be a global brand, as with all our hotels. We will own and manage it. In Kuala Lumpur, we are in the very heart of the business community, the entertainment and the shopping. Fifth Avenue, for example, is good for the business people. This location is wonderful for both the business and leisure group because of the more than 3,500 shopping outlets, most of which are branded, in the vicinity. And of course, there is the super new mall next door,” he says.

A connoisseur of all fine things, from clothes to hotels, homes to cars, he knows a good deal when he sees one and he sees potential in budget hotels.

He will be investing US$20mil in Tune Hotels, a pin drop for him actually. Istithmar PSJC, the investment arm of state-owned Dubai World, will take the other 40%, while Tune will hold a 20% stake in the US$50mil joint venture. The plan is to open 30 budget hotels in Southeast Asia over the next 24 months.

“I see the budget hotels as one of the ways to go. All over the world, developers keep building five-star hotels. Nobody caters to the budget traveller. We will and it will be a success.

“Malaysia has many attributes and tourism is an invisible export. There is a lot of natural beauty here. It is all a question of implementation. The advertisement on CNN selling Malaysia as a tourist destination is wonderful. But how do we get to some of these places? There is a need for more open skies, for example. The budget airline, the budget hotels have to grow to give options and variety.

“You also have the very rich from Vietnam, China and India. And you are in a position to target the Middle East. But in any business, having ideas is not enough. The idea can be fantastic and workable, but you need the right people to implement it and you need a time frame, otherwise cost will escalate. You have to assemble yourself to go.

“I’m a big picture person. I like to see the implementation from A to Z. Along the way, there are blockages and hiccups; I believe in practical guidance. So the difficult part is implementation.

“I started my working life in 1964. I worked in Malaysia for my family company from 1964 to 1966. I spend a lot of time here in the early years, although I have not been here as often today because of my commitments elsewhere, particularly in Singapore.

“I have to work a lot harder today because things are moving a lot faster. There is a lot of scope for cross selling between Malaysia and Singapore. But implementation has not been very effective. But we’ll get there.

“The Iskandar Development Region (IDR) for example is exciting but again it comes down to implementation. If you execute it well the route to success will be shorter. I personally think it is a win-win situation for both Singapore and Malaysia. It is significant that you have the IDR on the southern tip and the Northern Corridor Economic Region in the north and Kuala Lumpur in the middle.”

By The Star (by Thean Lee Cheng)

Group targets China and Vietnam markets

Having established a foothold in India and Cambodia, Sunway City Bhd (SunCity) is now eyeing the booming China and Vietnam property markets.

According to senior general manager of sales and marketing Sarena Cheah, the active expansion of SunCity’s offshore property activities is in line with the company’s plan to add another earnings stream and enlarge its regional presence.

“Although Malaysia will continue to be the company’s core revenue contributor for many years to come, we feel it is time to venture into other promising markets in the region,” she said.

Under the company’s five-year plan, it is targeting 30% of its revenue to come from overseas projects from less than 5% presently.

Meanwhile, SunCity’s upcoming real estate investment trust (REIT), which will have an asset value of more than RM3bil, will turn the company into a pure property development concern.

The listing of the REIT by next September will provide SunCity with the needed resources to expand locally and abroad.

“In China, we are looking at the southern provinces of Chengdu and Guangzhou, and are now identifying the right partners with land for development to work with. In Vietnam, we hope to start our maiden development in Ho Chi Minh City within the next one year,” Cheah said.

In India, SunCity will be launching its first development - Sunway Opus Grand Residency - next April.

Located on 35 acres in Hyderabad, the project featuring 3,400 high-end condominiums with total saleable area of 5 million sq ft has a gross development value of RM1.5bil.

The units will be priced from RM280 to RM320 (3,500 to 4,000 rupees) per sq ft.

Undertaken jointly with Indian partner Opus Developers & Builders Pte Ltd, the three-phase project will be completed in four to five years.

In Cambodia, Sunway Toul Kok City has been very successful and has sealed SunCity’s reputation in Phnom Penh as a high quality, high-end developer.

SunCity chief financial officer Koong Wai Seng said the company also saw potential to export its expertise in integrated resort management overseas.

“We have developed expertise in managing retail complexes as well as healthcare and educational institutions. The expanding regional markets has created a growing need for such expertise,” Koong said.

The company has ventured into shopping mall management in Shenzhen and Chengdu, and is managing two of its own hotels in Hanoi and Phnom Penh.

By The Star

Sunway South Quay among key attractions next year

PETALING JAYA: The key earnings drivers for Sunway City Bhd (SunCity) next year will be Sunway South Quay, Sunway Palazzio, Sunway SPK and Sunway Damansara, as well as the two key commercial projects - Sunway SOHO business suites and SunCity KL.

The much-awaited Sunway South Quay is located on 178 acres in the southern precinct of Sunway Integrated Resort City (Sunway IR).

To cater to the growing expatriate and foreign investor community in the country, Sunway South Quay has been designed as an international residential enclave with waterfront villas, luxury condominiums, service apartments and boutique shops.

The project has a total gross development value (GDV) of RM3.7bil.

“It's a world-class development that's taking shape and will add more value to the Sunway IR,” senior general manager of sales and marketing Sarena Cheah said.

The South Quay waterfront villa

Designed around a 28-acre lake, the project is set to be the country's first lakeside metropolis.

Among its attractions are a lakeside promenade, alfresco dining, international-themed restaurants, boutiques and retail lots.

Cheah said the project would make up 20% of SunCity's GDV of RM13bil over the next six years.

The inaugural launch in Sunway South Quay will comprise 77 Bayrocks waterfront villas worth RM400mil. This will be followed by luxurious condominiums worth RM379mil.

Already 25% of the villas have been taken up at a private preview for selected customers. The two- and 2½-storey villas are priced from RM4.5mil to RM7.7mil.

Of the two condominium blocks, the first block of 249 units has been sold en bloc to a South Korean buyer for RM163mil, or at RM396 per sq ft. The buyer has been offered the option to purchase the second block.

Sunway Palazzio, on four acres in Sri Hartamas, will comprise 160 luxury condominiums worth RM441mil.

So far, only one block of 80 condominiums has been launched, with a 70% take-up rate.

The units, with built-up of 2,800 to 4,800 sq ft, have an average price of RM850 per sq ft.

The second 80-unit block, with GDV of RM240mil, will be launched early next year.

Sunway SPK comprises 608 units of two and 2½-storey terrace houses and 196 semi-detached units with a total GDV of RM900mil. So far, properties worth RM400mil have been sold.

The just-launched Villa Manja's three-storey semi-detached houses with built-up areas of 4,000 sq ft are priced from RM1.9mil to RM2.3mil.

At the 400-acre Sunway Damansara, the total sales achieved to date is RM2.5bil. The remaining 50 acres of prime commercial and residential land worth a GDV of RM860mil are still available for development over the next three years.

A show unit of a Bayrocks waterfront villa in South Quay

Its latest launch of the Giza shops has raked in sales of RM142mil to date while the Challis townhouses have been 70% sold for RM41mil.

SunCity also has two commercial projects planned for launch in mid-2008.

Sunway SOHO business suites, located next to Sunway Pyramid, comprise four Grade A office towers with net lettable space of 1 million sq ft and GDV of RM150mil.

The small office home offices and business suites of 850 sq ft to 2,000 sq ft will have indicative price of RM500 per sq ft.

Next is SunCity KL, an integrated commercial development on 23 acres in Jalan Peel, Kuala Lumpur.

An urban renewal project located five minutes south of the city centre, the project - with GDV of RM1.5bil - will be developed over the next five years.

The first launch will be 96 shop offices and 280 service apartments with a GDV of RM180mil. There will also be a shopping mall and office towers.

Sunway South Quay, Sunway Palazzio and Casa Kiara 2 have attracted strong foreign buying interest. So far, foreigners have bought some RM300mil worth of properties from the company.

“These are our star performers in terms of attracting foreign buyers. On the whole, foreign sales made up around 25% of total sales for the company and this is a comfortable level for SunCity to leverage on,” Cheah said.

She said Malaysia would remain an attractive property destination with growing foreign interest for premium property products.

“The property environment has become increasingly positive, with the support provided by the Government through the various enabling incentives and policies. The market outlook, especially for the mid- to high-end segment, still holds firm,” she said.

Cheah is confident that SunCity's projects would continue to enjoy a strong competitive advantage and command good price premium as they were innovative and well designed, and located in prime locations.

“The premium price enjoyed by SunCity's property products is a result of the company's established track record as a reputable developer of innovative and quality projects. Continuous margin enhancement is also effected through value management, supply chain management and strategic material sourcing,” she said.

By The Star

Bountiful year in store for SunCity

It is looking at record property sales of RM1.35bil

: Sunway City Bhd (SunCity) can look forward to a bountiful year with record property sales of RM1.35bil for the current financial year ending June 30, given the line-up of a number of upmarket projects.

The company can also look forward to sales from the April launch of its maiden project in India, Sunway Opus Grand Residency.

Of the new project launches amounting to about RM2bil during the year, some 50% will comprise medium to high-end residential properties.

In FY07, the company turned in sales of RM688mil from project launches worth RM841mil.

According to senior general manager of sales and marketing Sarena Cheah, SunCity will focus on the medium to high-end property sector in prime locations to augment its earnings, going forward.

“Over the next two to three years, we foresee properties priced from RM500,000 will make up at least half the new projects, while affordable housing will consist of only 5%.

Sarena Cheah showing a model of the South Quay development

“Commercial properties will comprise about 25% of the new launches and overseas projects the balance 20%,” Cheah told StarBiz.

She said SunCity was building up its upmarket product range in line with the company’s business model of maximising the value of its land.

The company’s land-bank of 3,300 acres has the potential to generate a total gross development value of RM13bil over the next six to seven years. Of this 68% are located in the Klang Valley, 28% overseas and the rest in Ipoh and Penang.

“In our property development initiatives, we believe having multiple strategically-located developments and projects with high velocity earnings growth driver will augur well for the company’s earnings potential,” Cheah said.

Analysts are bullish that SunCity’s line-up of more high-margin products next year will bode well for earnings going forward.

An analyst at CLSA Research said an estimated 80% of launches in the higher-end residential and lucrative commercial projects augured well for SunCity’s earnings in the next two financial years and there was scope for margin uplift and earnings forecast.

Aseambankers said in a recent research note that SunCity’s outlook remained good with unbilled sales of RM805mil as at end-September.

“We anticipate SunCity to register a 10% earnings per share growth in FY08, driven by RM2bil worth of new launches and target sales of RM1.4bil,” the report said.

It noted that SunCity’s net profit for the first quarter ended Sept 30 at RM44.96mil was above expectation on an adjusted basis.

Revenue rose 14.4% to RM359.1mil from the previous quarter of RM313.9mil as all business segments registered better performances.

The leisure and hospitality division also benefited from Visit Malaysia Year 2007 with margin expansion from increased average room rates and visitors arrival.

By The Star

Penal sanctions for not completing transfer of ownership of strata titles

When a purchaser buys a flat or an apartment or a condominium, he is buying a parcel of property in a building, which will be subdivided. Each parcel will then be issued with a separate strata title.

Purchasers of such properties generally encounter two sets of nagging problems. The first problem is the time taken for strata titles to be issued by the appropriate authority. It is quite common for strata titles to be issued between a period of seven to 12 years after the building has been completed and occupied by the purchasers. This delay can be attributed to the original proprietor of the lot to be subdivided or to the appropriate authority or to both. In most instances the original proprietor is also the developer. The original proprietor is the proprietor of the lot, commonly referred to as the master title, before the subdivision of the building.

Purchasers of such properties will be happy to know that concrete steps have been taken by the government to address this problem. All over the country, one-stop centres are now in place to expedite the approval of property development, building plans, subdivision and the issue of strata titles. The aim of these one-stop centres is to ensure that strata titles are issued not later then 12 months from the date of submission of complete applications. Let us hope for the best.

Wong: The time currently taken to complete the transfer of strata titles to parcel proprietors is too long

The second problem is that the time taken to complete the transfer of strata titles to parcel proprietors is also too long. Most original proprietors will refuse to execute and deliver the instrument of transfer until all outstanding maintenance charges for the parcel have been paid in full. Purchasers who have defaulted on their loans with their respective financiers will not bother to come forward and complete the transfers to their names, as their properties are already, or in the process of, being put up for sale by auction. Financiers of loans in default will generally not incur any expenditure until they have secured a successful bidder for the property. Cash purchasers or purchasers who are not in default on their loans will generally want to complete the transfer of strata titles, only when they have raised sufficient monies to pay the legal fees, stamp duties and registration fees required.

Liable to fines
A new section 40A of the Strata Titles Act, 1985 (Act 318) provides for penal sanctions against any original proprietor or any purchaser who fails to execute the transfer of strata titles when the strata titles has been issued. The original proprietor is now required to execute the transfer of strata titles to the parcel proprietors within 12 months from the date of issue of strata titles. If he fails to do so, he shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine of not less than RM1,000 and not more than RM10,000 per parcel. Any person or body appointed by a court, which must include the liquidator of the developer or the original proprietor, who fails to comply with this provision shall also be liable to be punished with a similar punishment.

A purchaser is now required by law to execute and complete the documents of transfer of strata titles within 12 months from the date of notice of transfer of strata titles issued by the original proprietor or from the date of purchase of the parcel, whichever is later. Any purchaser who fails to do so, shall be guilty of the same offence mentioned above and shall, on conviction, be liable to a similar fine.

Any delay in executing, completing and registering the transfer of strata titles into the name of purchasers, is detrimental to the interest of purchasers. Although the management corporation had come into existence when the book of strata register has been opened and the strata titles
have been issued, the first annual general meeting of the management corporation cannot take place until at least a quarter of the aggregate share units have been registered in the name of the purchasers. This delay in convening this first annual general meeting of the management corporation will mean that parcel proprietors are unable to elect a council to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the management corporation.

New Act
Nowadays the situation may not be so bad, as with the coming into force of the new Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007 (Act 663), the building and common property will be managed and maintained by a Joint Management Body (comprising the developer and all purchasers) until the council of the management corporation has been elected at its first annual general meeting. Act 663 has given purchasers an earlier opportunity to maintain and manage their common property.

Act 318 applies to all kinds of properties, whether housing accommodation or not. In respect of housing accommodation, even before the new section 40A of Act 318, there were already statutory provisions that govern the execution, completion and registration of the transfer of strata titles and provide penal sanctions for contravention.

Regulation 11A (3) of the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Regulations 1989 (the 1989 Regulations) specifically states that, a housing developer shall execute the instrument of
transfer within 21 days from the date the strata title is issued and received by the housing developer from the appropriate authority, and thereafter forward the same to the purchaser who shall execute the instrument of transfer within 21 days from the receipt of the same from the housing developer. Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of the 1989 Regulations shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years or to both. Further, any person who knowingly and willfully aids, abets, counsels, procures or commands the commission of an offence against any provisions of the 1989 Regulations shall be liable to be punished with a similar punishment.

An interesting question that has yet to be answered, is whether a financier can be guilty of the offence in a case where the purchaser has failed to execute the instrument of transfer, and the financier willfully and knowingly refuses to execute the instrument of transfer on behalf of the purchaser under a power of attorney granted by the purchaser to the financier.

The writer is the Deputy Chairman of the Conveyancing Practice Committee, Bar Council, Malaysia

Note: This column is brought to you by the Malaysian Bar Council for your information only. It does not constitute legal advice. You should therefore seek professional legal advice for your specific needs. Neither the Malaysian Bar nor the Sun Media Corporation Sdn Bhd shall be liable to any reader who suffers losses as a result of relying on this column.

By theSun (by Andrew Wong)

Belleview eyes Western Avenue

Property developers Belleview Group of Companies has plans to expand its land bank by acquiring additional land within the Western Avenue area near Pulau Tikus, to cash in on the potential of the proposed Penang Global City Centre (PGCC).

The company believes that property values in certain areas around the PGCC, especially those along the Western Avenue belt, will sky rocket once the work on the RM25 billion project kicks off in the near future.

Yap: Land along the Western Avenue belt is already considered a prime area

Belleview marketing manager Jeffery Yap said, the company had recently acquired a 0.65ha site there for future development to add to its 0.54ha site purchased earlier for the development of its ultra-high-end 6 Western Avenue luxury bungalow project.

“We believe in the potential of land along the Western Avenue belt as it is already considered a prime area on the island and a prominent area to live in,” he told PropertyPlus.

He said news of PGCC has already created a lot of interest in Belleview’s 6 Western Avenue project and was confident that PGCC would continue to attract high-profile people to the area.

“We are well positioned to tap into the potential of this area, which is home to most of the who’s who of Penang,” he said.

Its 6 Western Avenue project, comprising the development of six double-storey bungalows is mainly targeted at expatriates on the island and has so far seen encouraging response with two units sold since its private preview last month.

“We intend to capitalise on the expatriate market here in Penang, especially those with families and who enjoy lots of space as well as high-end exclusivity,” Yap said.

The RM32 million freehold development, which boasts of being the most luxurious in terms of its finishes, comes with built-up areas ranging from 6,500sq ft to 7,000sq ft.

Priced between RM4.5 million and RM6.35 million, the project also offers units with massive land areas ranging from 6,200sq ft to 10,800sq ft, designed with modern contemporary looks coupled with tropical architectural features.

However, Yap said most properties in the area were privately owned estates, with most owners unwilling to sell their land due to sentimental reasons.

Belleview’s past residential projects are Miami Green, Bellisa Court, Bella Vista, Taman Kheng Tian, Miami Bay, Belle Residence and Symphony Park, while their commercial developments include Island Plaza, Bellisa Row and Burmah House.

Its most recent development is Slim Villas, with a gross development value of RM53 million comprising 66 three-storey terraced houses built on a 1.9ha site in the heart of Jelutong.

By theSun (by Jonathen Chen)

Russians cast eyes on Malaysia

Russian investors are now eyeing potential investments in countries in this region, including Malaysia, according to Alexander Olkhovskiy (pix), president of Guild of Managers and Developers in Russia. Olkhovskiy revealed that there has been growing interest from Russian investors in foreign projects outside of Russia.

Speaking after attending a Fiabci Morning Talk, where experts from the Malaysian property sector gave a presentation on the local property market to a delegation from Fiabci Russia, he said: “Most of the investment projects are currently with our neighbouring countries such as Finland, Croatia… as well as Great Britain and France."

“However, considering the latest developments in Malaysian property laws, there will be great interest in the Malaysian market and we can develop the relationship between the two countries,” he added.

Olkhovskiy said investments in the Malaysian property market would most probably be through the Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H).

He added that Russian investors are most likely to invest in residential properties such as condominiums and villas, as well as commercial properties within the tourism industry such as hotels and resorts.

“There is also great interest in developing projects with local developers,” said Olkhovskiy.

“Another important consideration is the realisation of profits from the properties, either from capital gains or from the leasing of the properties,” he added.

He believes that the Malaysian property market is “more competitive and more attractive compared with other countries in the region” and favours the transparency of laws in the Malaysian property sector.

Speakers at the Morning Talk include Zerin Properties chief executive officer Previndran Singhe, 1 Utama Shopping Centre director Datuk Teo Chiang Kok, and Chris Tan from Chur Associates.

At the talk, Kumar Tharmalingam, secretary general of Fiabci Asia Pacific, said Fiabci Malaysia would accept an invitation from the government of St Petersburg in Russia and the Guild of Managers and Developers to be a partner in the organising committee of PROEstate 2008, an
international real estate investment forum to be held there on Sept 3-5 next year.

By theSun (by Yeong Ee-Wah)

Segambut set to soar

Neighbouring Mont'Kiara, Segambut starts to draw more attention from property developers

With limited land left in the neighbouring Mont’Kiara and its slightly lower land cost, some developers are turning to Segambut for their high-end projects. Metro Homes Sdn Bhd director See Kok Loong believes the profile of the area would rise due to these upcoming niche-market developments, hence increasing the value of existing properties there.

He said the prices of both freehold and leasehold terraced houses in the area would gradually increase by between 3% and 5% within the next one to two years. “However, those that are located close to these new high-end developments may appreciate as much as 10% within the same period,” he told PropertyPlus.

He explained that these projects, which mainly comprise gated and guarded communities, would set new pricing benchmarks in the area, thereby causing secondary market property prices in Segambut to adjust accordingly.

Upcoming projects in the area include Gadang Holdings Bhd’s Taman Seri Bukit Segambut, and Anjung Tiara by Alam Jati Development Sdn Bhd and Rolling Acres Sdn Bhd. The former consists of 54 units of 3-storey link homes while the latter comprises 44 semi-detached units,
both in gated and guarded neighborhoods.

“These projects would set new trends by bringing in lifestyle living into the area,” See said.

Despite the availability of land in the area, he noted that developers are only acquiring small parcels for their projects, which are located on the side closer to Mont’Kiara and Kepong.

Segambut is divided into two parts, separated by Sungai Keruh, the KTM railway track and the Plus Highway, with the other side closer to Kuala Lumpur via Jalan Ipoh.

“The area closer to Mont’Kiara is the more active side of Segambut, where most of the newer schemes like Bukit Segambut and Bukit Prima Pelangi are located at,” he said.

Besides these new high-end projects, See also attributes the appreciation in property prices to the changing trends of the industries in the area. He foresees the industrial sector in Segambut transforming into a commercial hub within the next 10 years or so.

“Segambut is mainly an industrial area with the likes of Tan Chong Motor and GBH Ceramic in its vicinity.

However, most of them might not be able to sustain rising labour costs and increasing land values and might be forced to move to other parts of town.”

He said this would create higher demand as well as increase the value of the residential properties in the area, similar to how property prices in the vicinity of PJ’s Section 13 have appreciated due to the upsurge of commercial properties there.

According to theSun/Metro Homes Segambut housing price monitor for the August to October 2007 period, a freehold 2-storey terraced house in Bukit Prima Pelangi with a lot size of 20ft by 70ft and a built-up of 2,000 sq ft was priced between RM365,000 and RM380,000.

Meanwhile, a leasehold 2-storey compact house in Taman Segambut Damai with a lot size of 14ft by 50ft and a built-up of 800 sq ft was transacted at between RM170,000 and RM185,000.

Two-storey homes more popular among buyers in Segambut

In the secondary market, See said 2-storey homes are more popular among buyers in Segambut, in particular those with freehold tenure.

“Although prices for homes with freehold or leasehold status could vary from 10% to 15%, the former are usually preferred although buyers also go for leasehold properties if there is a long lease term remaining (least 60 years or more),” he stated.

He said government-initiated infrastructures improvements such as the widening of Jalan Segambut and construction of a connecting bridge to Mont’Kiara would further increase the value of properties there. “Currently, only certain portions of the upgrading have been completed and there is still traffic congestion in the uncompleted parts. However, demand for properties in the area remains the same regardless of where they are located as residents are
already putting up with it (the congestion),” he added.

See said the rental market in Segambut is fairly active due to its competitive rates, which are lower than those in neighbouring Mont’Kiara and similar to those in Kepong. “Most of the tenants in Segambut work in KL and chose the area due to its proximity and easy access to the city centre,” he says.

A freehold 2-storey terraced house in Taman Segambut Indah with a lot size of 18ft by 60ft and built-up of 1,200 sq ft can be rented out for between RM700 and RM800 a month. In Segambut Bahagia, a leasehold 2-storey terraced house with a lot size of 20ft by 65ft and builtup of 1,400 sq ft is tenanted for between RM600 and RM850 a month.

By theSun (by Yap Yew Jin)