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Monday, March 10, 2008

Investment grade homes at Desa ParkCity

An aerial view of Desa ParkCity, which is today a well-designed master planned community development.

PERDANA ParkCity Sdn Bhd is targeting the investment property market and has lined up a number of investment grade residences in its Desa ParkCity township in Kuala Lumpur for launch in the next few years.

The first in the company's investment product series is The NorthShore Gardens, a 40-storey condominium block that was launched last month.

The 269 residences of between 900 and 2,500 sq ft are priced at an average of RM520 per sq ft. There are also four penthouses of 5,800 sq ft that are equipped with a private pool each.

In the pipeline are 4,000 condominium units, of which 80% will be high-end, and 500 landed residences, including bungalows, semi-detached and terrace houses.

According to group chief executive officer Lee Liam Chye, the number of property buyers who are keen to invest to reap capital appreciation and rental yields is on the rise.

“Our customers have a lot of confidence in our property products.

“This is because they have enjoyed consistent capital appreciation averaging 8% per annum for the last three years, and net annual yields as high as 12% from leasing to the growing population of expatriates,” he told StarBiz.

Besides its good location in the last piece of sizeable freehold land in Menjalara, Kuala Lumpur, Desa ParkCity's master planned community and village concept had made it a well-sought-after address among buyers, he said.

“We are also actively looking at the viability of building housing units for senior citizens who want to continue enjoying an active lifestyle in a well-managed and secure environment,” Lee said.

This special “village” of about 20 to 30 acres will have at least 200 low-rise and medium-rise apartments of between 800 and 900 sq ft, with specially designed bathrooms. It will be equipped with community halls and recreational facilities.

To kick off the initiative, he said, the company had last August signed a memorandum of understanding with Subang Jaya Medical Centre to design, build and lease a 250-bedroom hospital in Desa ParkCity. The lease will be for 15 years with the option to renew for another 10 years.

Lee said the hospital was expected to be ready for operation by 2011 and work on the new village precinct would take off two years after that.

“Providing housing and supporting facilities for senior citizens is one of the biggest growth areas in many parts of the world, but we have yet to see such a project in Malaysia.

“Our target market is the aging baby boomers who were born after World War II and would like to 'upgrade' into a better neighbourhood after their children have left the nest to live on their own.”

Lee said there would also be other more exciting products lined up for Desa ParkCity to cater to the strong demand for quality medium and higher-end residences in the area.

Since the first project, Nadia Parkhomes and Condominiums, was launched in 2002, close to 2,000 houses have been completed.

The Nadia Parkhomes in Desa ParkCity

Desa ParkCity, which will take another eight to 10 years, will have a total of 7,000 residences, of which 4,500 units will be high-rise condominium units and the rest landed houses.

“We have sold more than RM1bil worth of properties to date, and the future launches are expected to generate another RM3bil,” Lee said.

Its maiden commercial enclave, comprising neighbourhood shops on 5.5 acres facing the central park lake, was recently completed and leased to various businesses.

There are 150,000 sq ft of net lettable space, of which 80% have been leased at rental rates of RM3 to RM10 per sq ft.

Meanwhile, Desa ParkCity's town centre will be launched in the next two years. The 40-acre development will comprise mainly shops, offices, serviced apartments as well as a hotel and hospital.

Perdana ParkCity chief operating officer Fan Len Kuan said a memorandum of understanding had been signed with Nord Anglia Education PLC, a worldwide education specialist listed on the London Stock Exchange, to operate an international school in Desa ParkCity.

Lee said the development of the township was on track and much value had been added to the once rocky terrain.

Perdana ParkCity, a unit of Sarawak timber company Samling Group, bought the 437-acre land in 1999 for RM200mil.

“While many regarded the site as too hostile for development, we also saw the immense value behind the rocky land. It took us three years to blast the whole area to get it ready for development, which incurred a total bill of RM100mil.

“A total 12 million tonnes of rocks were blasted and shipped out from the area. After the area had been cleared, the net developable land came to 200 acres,” Lee said.

Today, the bustling neighbourhood is being joined by other quality developments such as Sunway SPK Damansara and Villa Manja, which are undertaken by Sunway City Bhd and its joint-venture partner, Syarikat Permodalan Kebangsaan Bhd.

By The Star - StarBiz - (by Angie Ng)

Perdana ParkCity wants to replicate success in Vietnam

PERDANA ParkCity Sdn Bhd is keen to replicate its success of the Desa ParkCity integrated township in other parts of the Klang Valley and in emerging markets in the region, notably Vietnam.

“We are looking for the right piece of land of at least 800 acres to build another signature development for the middle to upper-middle-class population,” said group chief executive officer Lee Liam Chye.

The company is also eyeing Vietnam's robust property market and believes its range of products will be a big hit with the Vietnamese.

According to Lee, the property market in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are bustling with activities as demand has outstripped supply by at least three to four times.

“As a developer of quality medium to high-end residential properties, we see Vietnam as a good platform to expand our brand outside Malaysia,” Lee said.

Lee Liam Chye

Perdana ParkCity recently signed a tripartite joint-venture agreement with Singaporean and Vietnamese partners to undertake its maiden overseas project in Hanoi.

The development, to be located in Hadong, a suburb about 13km from the city centre of Hanoi, is scheduled for launch in August and will take between eight and 10 years.

“We will be developing a 200-acre site near the city's main thoroughfare into an integrated township for the medium-end market,” he said.

The project will comprise 7,000 housing units and 1.5 million sq ft of commercial space, including shop offices.

“We are looking at 5,000 condominium units and 2,000 more units of terrace house, semi detached home and bungalow for the middle class and affluent group of buyers in Hanoi.

“Like Desa ParkCity, there will be gated enclaves, parks, lakes and walkable neighbourhoods.”

Lee said Vietnam was a “very under-served” market and property prices were generally twice those in Malaysia.

While projects in Malaysia have average margins of 20%, developments in Vietnam can have higher margins.

The favourable demographics in Vietnam included the fact that 80% of its population of 85 million comprise people aged 40 years and below.

Its fast-growing economy, at an average growth of 7.5% per annum, has also raised the people's disposable income and demand for more quality housing.

“We are encouraged by the Vietnam government's policies to allow foreign developers to partake in the country's development. There is no restriction on foreign ownership and foreigners can own up to 100% in property development companies,” he added.

Being a township developer with a good track record of building well-designed master planned property products, Perdana ParkCity would provide its management expertise for the design, planning and building of the Hanoi project, Lee said.

“We have the tested solutions that are relevant to the needs of the Vietnamese market that is growing in sophistication.

“The master planned community of Desa ParkCity has the same characteristics as a village environment like those in Vietnam,” he noted.

Lee said the company had also been approached by other Vietnamese land owners to undertake joint developments with them.

“There is potential for other joint ventures that may include equity participation in Vietnam. The market will remain robust for quite a number of years,” he added.

By The Star

Rehda: Buy properties now

PETALING JAYA: Prospective homebuyers should make their purchases now as property prices may increase in the near future, said the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association’s (Rehda) Negri Sembilan chapter.

Branch chairman Datuk Soam Heng Choon (pix) told theSun that in light of escalating fuel prices and cost of raw materials, the cost of construction would eventually be passed on to consumers.

Soam said property prices in the state have already seen increases since last December by as much as 10%.

“We represent about 52 developers in the state and all are facing similar problems as those faced at the national level. The strain on the construction industry is getting worse with the rising prices of steel bars and cement. Moreover, Malaysian skilled workers in the industry are also being pinched overseas to places like India, China and the Middle East,” Soam said, adding that the developers’ main concern is to keep the cost of doing business down.

Demand for properties in the state has been “quite good” in the last six months which Soam attributed to the relatively affordable prices.

“We have also seen buyers from the Klang Valley … maybe because our selling prices are still pretty affordable. For example, the average price of a 2-storey house here is just over RM200,000 while for a 1-storey home, it’s over RM100,000,” said Soam.

Rehda Negri Sembilan members are hoping for vibrant sales at the upcoming three-day Malaysia Property Expo (Mapex) 2008 (state level), in May.

“It’s the norm for us to achieve about RM20 million sales during Mapex but this year we hope for higher sales as we are encouraging prospective buyers to buy their properties now before the eventual price hike in properties,” added Soam.

More than RM200 million worth of properties will be offered at the upcoming Mapex, which is organised by Rehda. According to Soam, about 20 developers in the state would be taking part in the first of the twice-yearly exhibition in the state. The next exhibition is expected to be held towards the end of the year.

By theSun (by Loo Pik Kwan)

Free SMS service for seekers of property

PETALING JAYA: Zerin Properties has launched a for your home free SMS service, on March 3, to assist those interested in purchasing or renting properties in the Klang Valley.

Zerin’s assistant head of agency Terence Yap said, initially, only properties in the Kuala Lumpur city centre area would be listed but other areas in Kuala Lumpur, such as Mont’Kiara, Bangsar and Damansara, will be featured in the coming months.

“Its very easy and convenient to use, and its absolutely free,” said Yap. “All one needs to do is type the keywords KLCCS to view properties for sale, KLCCR to look for properties for rent, and KLCC to get a listing on both categories,” he said.

Send the keywords to 36600 and the reply together with the listings will be received almost immediately. Yap said unlike other companies, which charge a fee for any type of SMS notification, Zerin will bear the cost for each SMS sent and received so users will not be charged.

“This is part of our value-added service in an effort to keep up with modern technology to allow anyone with a mobile phone to access our service from anywhere,” said Yap.

“Users will also receive an SMS stating our contact number and web page address so they can get in touch with us if they are interested in buying or renting a particular property,” he added.

This is the second free property service from Zerin Properties. Just two months ago, the real estate consultancy launched a property portal – www. – to provide a complete guide on all residential and commercial properties, shopping areas, restaurants, clubs, embassies and other developments in the KLCC area. The website, according to Yap, averages 100,000 hits per month.

“We hope to get a similar encouraging response with our free SMS service,” he added.

By theSun (by Tim Leonard)

You think you’ve got a bargain but you could have overpaid for your home

LONDON: Should buyers beware of property developers bearing gifts? Against the backdrop of a stagnant housing market, tempting deals are proliferating. But first-timers, in particular, are being urged not to take these offers at face value.

Developers have become accustomed to the rich pickings of a buoyant market, but with prices now on the turn and the number of potential buyers on estate agents’ books half the level it was four years ago, they are clutching at any means of selling their homes – including seemingly generous financial incentives for first-time buyers.

For example, it is becoming common for companies to offer a “free” deposit of up to five per cent and to pay buyers’ stamp duty and legal fees.

However, Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at broker John Charcol, says homehunters should be wary of these deals as they can simply be an attempt to mask an overinflated initial price.

“To keep the ‘list’ price high, a developer will market the property for, say, £200,000 (about RM1.2 million) but waive the deposit and often other fees. This could mean that just £185,000 has changed hands yet the final sale price is recorded with the Land Registry at £200,000 – in other words, more than it is actually worth,” says Boulger.

Graham Ellis at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors adds: “It can be difficult to get the bigger picture when valuing newlybuilt homes, especially in an uncertain market, as there are often no comparable properties on which to base a price. This means that if the developer does not disclose the gifted deposit, it may be overlooked.”

In some instances, the developer can even use its own valuer, whose estimate then finds its way on to the books of the Land Registry and is often accepted by the mortgage lender too. Thorough checks or a site visit will not be carried out, although the borrower may still be charged a fee for the so-called “valuation”.

The problem of gauging the true going rate can be exacerbated by the clout of buy-to-let landlords or members of property investment clubs, who often buy in bulk and can negotiate discounts of up to 20%, against the five to seven per cent available to individual first-timers. So a buyer needing, say, a 95% mortgage, and under the impression they have got a bargain, could actually be making repayments on a loan that is higher than the market value of the property. In other words, without knowing it, they may have started home ownership in negative equity.

Another worry for buyers is that there is a glut of newbuild apartments – especially in cities such as Nottingham, Leeds and Manchester – and this is driving down prices.

In the past few months, banks and building societies have clamped down on their lending on new-builds as the credit crunch has taken hold.

Some, such as Scarborough building society, have capped advances at 70%, while HBOS will lend only if the property has been valued by one of its own surveyors.

All in all, people considering a newly-built home should be cautious, says Mr Boulger. “This is a buyer’s market and even if first-timers are offered a discount, they should negotiate hard. They should also do their homework, comparing the list price with similar second-hand and newly-built properties in the area,” he says.

Melanie Bien, director at broker Savills Private Finance, adds: “There is nothing wrong with gifted deposits as long as everyone is aware of their existence. The valuer must know, when assessing a property, and the lender must be aware when deciding whether to advance the mortgage funds or not.”

By The Independent

TTDI aims high with Laman Seri Business Park

TTDI Development Sdn Bhd hopes to make its Laman Seri Business Park (LSBP) the best commercial development in Shah Alam.

Group managing director Datuk Johan Ariffin said the business park, which was soft-launched recently, would have plenty of outstanding features that would give investors a better chance of reaping higher capital gains as well as commanding higher rentals.

The 8.245-acre leasehold development with six blocks of four and five-storey shop offices will feature modern contemporary facade, dual frontage, double-volume office space (front portion only) for 39ft wide corner units, handicapped-friendly design layout, wide pedestrian thoroughfare and two intermediate shop offices which will share a lift with common lift lobby. Premium corner lots will have their own lift.

Datuk Johan Ariffin with a model of the Laman Seri Business Park

The intermediate units will have 26ft wide frontage and there will be 900 parking bays at basement and surface level.

“There will be a 37,000-sq-ft central events piazza for alfresco dining and water features such as ponds, a creek and synchronised water fountains with fibre optic lighting,” Johan told StarBiz.

He said that as of Feb 25, more than 30% (14 out of 46 units) had been sold. The projected rental rate would be around 8.3% per annum or about RM18,000 rental per month for a four-storey shop office (RM2.76 per sq ft).

The bumiputra price (units facing the main road) is RM2.63mil for the intermediate and RM3.88mil for the corner four-storey shop office while the bumiputra price for the intermediate and corner five-storey shop office is RM3.1mil and RM4.34mil respectively. The project has a gross development value of RM143mil.

Johan said LSBP was in a strategic location with many established housing estates nearby. These include Kelab Golf Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah, D'Kayangan, Bukit Jelutong, Glenmarie Resort and TTDI Jaya. There are also six golf courses and several colleges as well as hypermarkets in the vicinity.

The North Klang Valley Expressway to the north and Persiaran Sukan to the south flank LSBP. There is Kolej Universiti Teknologi & Pengurusan Malaysia adjacent to the project.

The event piazza, in the centre, will be beautifully landscaped with ornamental trees and shrubs complemented with synchronised fountain and ponds, creating a green and calm oasis.

Johan said an extra-wide thoroughfare would surround the piazza to act as an open-air street shop front complete with verandas where food and beverage outlets could “spill-out” into the landscaped area, creating alfresco dining experience.

There will also be drop-off points between building blocks where wide-open pedestrian walkways can be turned into activity centres.

He said the development was designed to be disabled-friendly with designated car parks, dedicated ramps and pathways for easy accessibility. There will also be a stand-alone surau with washrooms to cater to the public, especially those coming from the piazza.

There will be three waste disposal stations using modern technology called spiral waste disposal system to manage solid waste.

The top floor of the premium corner units will have double-volume office space at the front, which is further enhanced by the use of continuous full-height glazed windows and high fixed glass panels.

The facade design attempts to break away from the conventional image of the traditional shop house design. The exterior of the building is dressed in full-height glazed windows, with aluminium sun shading louvers projecting from the window. Horizontal aluminium screen panels conceal air-conditioning compressors from the outside while providing sufficient and efficient ventilation.

Meanwhile, TTDI Development has completed its Laman Seri, a high-end residential enclave across the road from LSBP.

Phases 1 and 2 comprising 89 units of semi-detached houses (70 units) and bungalows (19 units) are 90% sold. The company has also sold 18 of the 33 bungalows priced from RM2.3mil to RM2.4mil in Phase 3. The project will be handed over in December this year, almost a year ahead of schedule.

Johan said the philosophy of developing Laman Seri was to create the best gated and guarded community in Shah Alam and purchasers could see the amount of efforts that had been put into it.

“In addition to the more than RM1.5mil spent on landscaping and extra water features like fountains and fibre optic lighting, we are going to introduce cobblestones at the intersection inside the development,” he added.

By The Star -StarBiz - (by

Profitable Plots ready to shop again in Iskandar

PROFITABLE Plots, the land investment division of the UK's Profitable Group, may buy more properties in the Iskandar Development Region (Iskandar) in Johor to ride on rising prices.

Profitable group operations director for Asia, John A. Nordmann, said the company is optimistic of strong demand for properties in the area.

In fact, he said, the company recently sold RM20 million worth of properties by UEM Group, the Ledang Heights development in Nusa Dua, to a pool of investors from Singapore.

"This shows that there is indeed strong demand for properties in strategic areas such as those in Iskandar. We will be looking for more of such properties there," he told Business Times in a recent interview in Kuala Lumpur.

Profitable Plots is a strategic land investment company that acquires, subdivides and sell land parcels, primarily in the UK.

As part of its expansion plan, the firm is buying more land and other types of properties in Asia, encouraged by the robust economic development in the region.

Nordmann said Asian countries certainly have a lot to offer and Malaysia, as well as the Philippines, are the areas the company is looking at.

"Our strategy in Asia would be a little different from the one in the UK where we will not be concentrating solely on land investment. For instance in Malaysia, we will focus on strategic properties while in the Philippines we will focus on land.

"We are looking at opportunities in other countries in Asia as well. However, from the way we see things, Malaysia would probably get the larger share of our investment portfolio. Putrajaya is also another area in Malaysia that we are looking at," he said.

However, he declined to say how much money Profitable Plots would set aside for these investments.

Meanwhile, Nordmann called on Asian investors to look at investment opportunities in UK land, which could potentially provide investors with returns of up to 500 per cent.

With a total landbank of more than 60ha (170 acres) in the UK, he said the company currently handles some RM500 million worth of investments in Asia.

"Although the return takes longer compared to other investment options, the risk is lower and the return is huge.

"In the present stock market condition, investors should look at the potential of land investment in UK," he added.

By New Straits Times (by Anna Maria Samsuddin)