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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Planting the seeds of success

Bukit Hitam Development reinforces its market position by listening and responding to desires

Developing townships have made – and broken – some companies. To a large extent, it all depends on the strength of a location, the provision of critical infrastructure and the commitment of the developer to ensuring it can turn mere bricks and mortar into places that people desire to live in.

One model of inspiration is Bukit Hitam Development Sdn Bhd (BHD), a member of The Air Hitam Plantation Syndicate Bhd. Since starting out in 1992, it has built upon the location of a 1,320-acre former plantation in Puchong, Selangor, and turned it into a vibrant freehold township that is steadily drawing the crowds.

The second phase of Parkville Townhouses are being launched today from RM228,888

From having basic mass market appeal when Bandar Bukit Puchong first broke ground, it has been steadily rising in stature to become a township even upgraders today want to call home. Much of this is due to the steely determination of its developer, and to its accessibility via Lebuhraya Puchong- Damansara.

To find out what’s in store for the development this year as well as the prospects of the sector, NSTProperty talked to BHD’s general manager Lim Jee Kong. Some excerpts:

What have you lined up for the year?
Well, we remain bullish about the property market and therefore expect to introduce more high-end and niche projects.

The second phase of our Parkville Townhouses (is being launched today)… since we soft launched the first phase last November, 85 per cent of the units have been sold.

Other up-and-coming launches include link bungalows and serviced residences, which we plan to offer between the middle and end of the year.

With our encouraging sales todate, coupled with strong registration of interest for our coming launches, we think we’ll be seeing good take-up for our properties during this current financial year as well as the next starting April 1, 2008.

How do you plan to consolidate your position in the industry?
We have a three-prong strategy: Provide quality in all our projects; offer strong product differentiation; and be efficient in delivery.

This is why over the past 12 years we have been able to earn a reputation as a reliable and trusted developer.

To add innovativeness to our standing, we will continue to introduce innovative ideas into our houses.

What are your expectations of the property sector this year?
In any economy, real estate plays a vital role, and is seen as one of the most preferred areas of investment.

Last year, the sector received a shot-in-the-arm with the announcement of mega projects in the eastern, northern and southern growth corridors. This year, the outlook will continue to be positive, as the sector rides on government incentives such as the abolishment of Real Property Gains Tax and elimination of Foreign Investment Committee approval for purchase of residential property costing more than RM250,000 by foreigners.

The recent move allows contributors to the Employees Provident Fund to make monthly withdrawals from their accounts in order to pay their housing instalments will also stimulate local demand and is expected to release RM9 billion into the economy.

By doing these things, transactional volume will increase and the economy will be able to benefit through the multiplier effect.

What about challenges facing the industry?
The increasing cost of construction as a result of volatile crude oil prices, higher building material prices and labour charges is an area of concern.

Another is meeting the demands of increasingly sophisticated buyers … we constantly have to anticipate, innovate and develop the right products in terms of quality, design and services, to satisfy the higher standards demanded by buyers.

Their most recent desire is for residential precincts that can offer “healthy lifestyles”.

We are responding by creating environments that provide high standards of living through landscaping and design.

By New Straits Times (by P.Rajan)

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