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Monday, March 24, 2008

Going for community building concept

INSTEAD of merely building properties, developers should embrace the concept of building communities by envisioning the process from a “community builder’s” viewpoint.

According to Abbey Woods Sdn Bhd chairman and managing director Datuk Wong Choon Kee, this is a more holistic approach to building as the builder evaluates how the development could impact people’s lives as he constructs.

“Every developer must optimise construction standards by offering quality facilities, better security measures and higher standard of living, because they are part of the process of building a nation.

“Sustainable property development must be practised as we move forward, as we should remember that building is always about the future, and the future is something we borrow from our children.

“Developers must start looking seriously into eco-friendly designs and buyers and investors and buyers can support this by making educated purchases,” Wong said.

He reminded developers that they have to do their best to provide property buyers with the best value they can possibly enjoy.

“The new generation of homebuyers is extremely savvy and hands-on on real estate matters; demanding good craftsmanship, quality designs, prime locations and the best value for every ringgit spent.

“As a property developer, I would like to see more innovations in the property projects developed in the country in terms of architecture and design, and emphasis given to quality,” Wong said.

He observed that the country would continue to face strong competition “as every other country is racing to pull in foreign real estate investors.”

“We have to raise the country's rating in various aspects, including quality of life index and international-standard property offerings. We have to capitalize on our advantages, including having one of the lowest property prices in the region, a comparable cost of living and transparent land and property ownership laws.”

On the market outlook, Wong said the local property market would continue to offer attractive durable dynamics, especially in the residential property sector, which would continue to dominate the volume of transactions in the market.

Malaysia is experiencing major development and economic growth, giving rise to an upturn in its tourist, residential and commercial property markets.

“Many international real estate investors are considering Malaysia as a highly lucrative option for three main reasons – well-priced properties, strong economy for sustainable growth and yields over the medium to long term.

“Property development in Malaysia has been encouraged by political, economic and geographical stability and it is one of the safest countries to live in.” Wong said.

Its modern lifestyles with exposure to western culture, great healthcare and infrastructure facilities, as well as a technology savvy society, make the country an attractive investment destination.

Wong said the Government’s My Second Home Programme and recent relaxations for foreign investment had made it easier for foreigners to purchase property and get financing locally.

“Malaysia also has a young age profile where 60% of the population is below 30 and the size of the average household is still largely at 4.3 persons per home. As the population matures, it should drive increased household formation, which will spur property demand.

The feel-good strategies, including the exemption of the real property gains tax, the lifting of Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) approval and removal of the limit of the number of property loans allowed for non-residents, will also help stimulate the property sector,” he added.

By The Star

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