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Monday, September 15, 2008

Developers using regional standards as benchmark

Developers are raising the bar in their product quality and designs to benchmark against the best in the region and the advent of expensive residences, including super high-end homes. They are also giving more credence to aesthetics, status and location.

Other factors which dictate the qualification of a super high-end residence include spacious built-up, quality of finishing, fa├žade, a posh feel, grandeur of the property, and of course the view.

Buyers also place importance on considerations such as the reputation of the developer and consultants, accessibility, land tenure and status, unique features and layout, and property maintenance standards.

Gamuda Land Sdn Bhd managing director Chow Chee Wah said the differentiating factors for winning projects include creative design concepts, top-notch quality standards, developer’s reputation and management capability.

“There is also the prestige of being in the league of Kuala Lumpur’s most expensive addresses that attract buyers to these expensive residences,” Chow said. Knight Frank Ooi & Zaharin Sdn Bhd managing director Eric Ooi said with the increasingly competitive market conditions, developers needed to be more innovative in their product offerings.

“For instance, 51 Gurney, located at Jalan Perumahan Gurney, Kuala Lumpur has attracted considerable foreign interest with its unique selling point of car lift system that allows residents to park their cars within their premises. This had led to its good sales performance of more than 35% within the first two weeks of launch,” Ooi said.

Mah Sing Group Bhd president Datuk Seri Leong Hoy Kum said buyers of super-high end properties look for prime locations, good products in terms of concept and quality as well as good branding.

“Super-high end properties tend to be close to iconic buildings or landmarks, and are served by good infrastructure, amenities and facilities.

“Pricing would be a function of product and location. For example, condominiums in the KLCC areas with a good view of the Petronas Twin Towers would command a premium, as would condominiums designed by superstar architects and developed by branded developers,” Leong said.

Investors would also look at the potential for capital appreciation, rental yield, branding and the reputation and track record of developers.

E & O Property Development Bhd marketing and sales director K. C. Chong said in the current market conditions, buyers would be more selective, preferring location, developer’s reputation and development concept before committing. “Seasoned investors will invest as they are likely to consider these purchases as prudent investments and a hedge against inflation, particularly given the rising costs of building materials. “Purchasers may consider smaller investments, hence smaller condominiums and service apartments catering to specific niche markets will be popular,” he said.

Chong said E&O’s St. Mary’s serviced apartments that comprise luxurious one and two bedroom apartments designed with great flair and services would suit the international businessman. Landed properties and gated homes within the city limits will continue to be popular although the supply may be limited due to scarcity of sizeable tracts of prime land.

Meanwhile the popularity of residences in chic addresses in the centre of the capital will continue to fuel the rush for KLCC developments as seen in the rising prices.

The first two high-end condominiums in the KLCC area - Stonor Park and 2 Hampshire - launched in 2003 and 2004 respectively, have seen their prices doubled to RM1,000 and RM950 per sq ft respectively.

Other condominium projects that were launched after that have breached those levels while the prices for projects under construction have gone even higher.

Troika residences are going at average prices of RM1,800 per sq ft, Ampersand at RM1,450 psf, One KL at RM2,000 psf while the Four Seasons Place residences will most likely breach the RM2,000 to RM3,000 psf level.

By The Star

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