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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Super-niche projects still drawing buyers

An indoor shot of the living room area at Zephyr Point on Basong

The local high-end residential property segment seems to be making quite a comeback, with developers eagerly launching their projects and some already raking in quick sales.

Last month, Urban Hallmark Properties Sdn Bhd (UHP) previewed its Zephyr Point on Basong in Damansara Heights, a niche high-end residential development comprising just seven units – three penthouses and four villas.

The three-level villas have built-ups ranging from 8,000 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft while the three penthouses sized from 10,000 sq ft to 12,000 sq ft are spread on a single level.

The project is expected to be launched between April and May, with the final purchase price of the homes to be determined then. However, with an indicative pricing of RM1,200 psf, each unit is expected to fetch a cool RM10mil onwards.

UHP managing director Datuk Jeffrey Ng says as the company was targeting high net worth individuals and corporations, price would not be an issue.

“The main issue here is whether they perceive the purchase is a value buy at this point in time and whether they are convinced that the property will enjoy capital appreciation in the future.

“Undoubtedly there will be demand for the super high end properties due to scarcity in prime residential locations,” he tells StarBizWeek in an e-mail.

Ng says the high net individuals it was targeting comprised local upper class Malaysian buyers from surrounding locations or even expatriates.

“When comparing the pricing of properties within the same region such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Jakarta, property prices in Malaysia are still considered very cheap and provides a good investment opportunity.”

Ng says UHP was also in the process of appointing foreign real estate consultants to target our local expats who plan to return to Malaysia soon.

On how quickly he expects the homes to be taken up, Ng says: “We would expect the properties to be sold at a conservative pace given the price point and the profile of buyers targeted.”

The Zephyr Point homes come with low emission laminated/ tempered glazing glass (for areas facing west only); the use of heavy duty commercial grade aluminium windows and full height sliding doors; salt water infinity pool; salt water spas (in the Villas) and a fully equipped gymnasium.

The homes are also wi-fi ready, have fully ducted air-conditioning and come with a private lock-up garage as well as a drivers waiting lounge. Each unit comes with a private home office sized between 300 sq ft and 500 sq ft, located on a special dedicated floor known as Breezeway. The Breezeway also hosts the residents’ function lounge and entertainment foyer, overlooking a fully equipped gym and infinity pool.

Given the super high price of the homes, one still has to beg the question as to whether people will still buy – given that the world is still recovering from a global economic turmoil.

Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd director Ho Chin Soon says there would always be purchasers for super-niche projects.

“There are always people that can still buy and given that there are so few units (at Zephyr Point), the developer will already have the people (buyers) in mind.”

Ho says it was more than likely that the purchasers would buy the properties for themselves rather than rent them out.

“At RM10mil, you can imagine the cost of rent. Who’s going to pay so much a month?”

Knight Frank Malaysia executive director Sarkunan Subramaniam concurs that there would always be purchasers for niche, high-end products.

“The super rich are not affected by economic times. They usually have their investments well protected and in a downturn, they become a lot more prudent in their spending. When the time is right, they will know when to buy. Of course, location (of properties) is critical and the Damansara area is a good location.”

Sarkunan also said chances of the homes being quickly snapped up were also dependent on whether the project was by a reputable developer.

Another high-end development that has seen promising take-ups is Planet Uno Sdn Bhd’s Seputeh Gardens, which will comprise 42 units of bungalows are scheduled for completion before the end 2011.

Priced from RM4.1mil to RM6.8mil, Seputeh Gardens managing director Liew Tze Yong says more than half of the homes were pre-sold even before their launch on Jan 16.

“Out of the total 42 units, 33 units were sold on the second day of the launch,” he says.

The homes are targeted at professionals, chief executive officers, and business owners, says Liew.

Each of the units has seven to nine rooms, including a study and a maid’s room. All bedrooms also come with attached bathrooms. Each home also comes with two kitchens and a laundry area.

The low-density homes come with spacious gross built-up areas ranging from 6,038 sq ft to 8,878 sq ft and land areas ranging from 4,500 sq ft to 8,200 sq ft.

Seputeh Gardens is situated at the intersection of major highways namely the Federal Highway, the New Pantai Highway, KL-Seremban Highway and also the East-West Link.

Liew says the success of the local high-end segment was dependent on location and “good architecture detailing and materials.”

The company, which is best known for its Gita Bayu development, is also studying the possibility of other high-end, niche residential projects and potential joint ventures.

By The Star (by Eugene Mahalingam)

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