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Saturday, September 4, 2010

A rising trend for condos

There used to be a time when landed properties, not multi-storied dwellings such as condos, were most sought after homes in Kuala Lumpur. While this may be true still to some extent, increasingly, high end condominiums are becoming the preferred choice for the affluent.

The first condominium in the country was Tan & Tan Development Bhd’s Desa Kudalari in 1980. Back then, one of Desa Kudalari’s main attractions was that its residents could view the horse race at the nearby Kuala Lumpur racecourse. The racecourse is, of course, today, the KLCC Park.

The dynamics changed with the arrival of the Twin Towers in 1997 and condominiums started to spring up. First, Stonor Park was developed in 2003, followed by Dua Residency in 2004 and then Park 7 in 2005. Notably, condominiums within close vicinity of KLCC began to fetch high prices.

Even so, it would be difficult for other projects to fetch similar prices as the units in The Binjai On The Park. Only the planned Four Seasons has the potential to set new benchmarks because it has a strong global brand and is known to have a very aggressive pricing strategy for its properties.

“New luxury condominiums around KLCC could be launched at RM1,800 to RM2,300psf. But (relatively) “lower-end” products around KLCC range from RM1,000 to RM1,500psf,” says HwangDBS Vickers property analyst Yee Mei Hui.

SDB managing director Teh Lip Kee says there is no property bubble in sight. Prices are going up simply because cost is going up.

“Furthermore, most of the demand are coming from the locals. Foreigners are not really buying yet. Also, not all developers are doing well. Only those with branding are doing well,” she says.

Datuk Jagan Sabapathy ... The emergence of luxury condominiums marks a shift from the traditional suburban living to condominium living in KL.

Bandar Raya Developments Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Jagan Sabapathy says that more importantly, the emergence of luxury condominiums marks a shift from the traditional suburban living to condominium living in KL.

“The condominiums in the city is not just for expat living. There is a huge and growing segment of young people living in the city who are well paid. There are also many well heeled parents who are buying homes for their kids. And they will pay for a luxury condominium,” says Jagan.

He adds that there is a shift among the young who want to live a ‘happening life’.

As such, in the coming years, he foresees the heart of the city being the heart of life.

“People now choose to live in the city because of the convenience and better quality of life. There is no need for them to drive through the nasty traffic daily. Between a RM1mil home in the suburbs compared to a RM2mil condominium in KL, more may choose to live in KL,” he says.

Apart from the convenience and lifestyle factors, Jagan says there is also the ‘empty nest factor’.

“These are people whose children have left, so they want security. They don’t want to be bothered with the maintenance of the garden, the pool and the general upkeep of their homes. They want an easier life where they can travel anytime they want. Condominium living actually makes this easier,” he elaborates.

“When the Government is successful in making downtown KL even more liveable, this trend of living in KLCC will get stronger in the years ahead,” says Jagan.

By The Star

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