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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Factor in changing lifestyles, builders told

KUALA LUMPUR: Developers should plan and design their projects to take cognizance of the changing lifestyles of Malaysians.

Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Alan Tong said in view of strong inflationary pressure, developers should strategise to come up with projects that allowed Malaysians to be less dependent on fuel, and live and work in an efficient manner.

Datuk Alan Tong

“Ideally, where we live and work should not be too far from each other,” he told StarBiz.

Based on what he observed in developed countries, Tong said real estate development strategies for Malaysia should focus on meeting the changing lifestyles of her people.

Citing the United States as an example, he said that while that country was well developed, the residential communities were very spread out.

In the outskirts of the cities and semi-urban areas, commuting could prove difficult without one’s own means of transport, he said.

“Their lifestyle revolves around motor vehicles,” he said.

In Malaysia, with the current high fuel prices, people should cut down on their expenses and one way to do so was to live and work in the same locality, he said.

High density projects located close to the city could be the way forward, he said.

On the current sentiment in the property market, he said: “While the industry is not so dependent on oil, the increase in oil prices has also impacted raw material prices.

“We know of contractors who have signed contracts are in a bind as they are caught by the sudden increase in prices.”

As for developers, he said those who had not launched many projects, were holding back. “Many developers are diversifying overseas instead,” he said.

On property market prices, Tong said: “Compared with other countries in the region, we are still very cheap. Property, especially in the upmarket segment, would still be appealing to some foreigners,” he said.

On abandoned projects, he said this problem was not as rampant as it used to be when cooperative societies built houses.

Tong is among the key speakers at the 19th National Real Estate Convention held today and tomorrow at One World Hotel, Bandar Utama.

FIABCI Malaysia, together with The Institution of Surveyors, Malaysia and the Association of Valuers & Property Consultants in Private Practice Malaysia, is organising the convention, which would see industry leaders gather to share their winning strategies in four sessions.

Among the topics to be discussed are real estate strategies moving forward, development strategies, design and construction strategies and investment strategies.

Notable speakers include Singapore’s DLF Trust Management Pte Ltd chief executive officer Wong Ah Long, Indonesia’s PT Ciputra Development president commissioner Ciputra, and the Philippines’ Architect Felino Palafox, founder Jun Palafox Jr.

A total 400 participants are expected at the convention.

By The Star (by Eileen Hee)

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