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Friday, November 25, 2011

Factors that define the best places to live

PETALING JAYA: The high cost of a property and the relative prestige of the neighbourhood are only two of the factors that define the best places to live for the super-rich.

Depending on personal priorities, elite property buyers will consider a combination of factors when deciding on the best home for themselves or investment. And for the ambitious, there are newer residential enclaves to consider.

According to Henry Butcher Marketing Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Tang Chee Meng, the preferred residential locations in the Klang Valley still relate to well-established and high-priced real estate, namely Damansara Heights, Bukit Tunku/Taman Duta, KLCC, Ampang Hilir/U Thant, Bangsar, and Mont'Kiara.

“Besides pricing, I would consider other factors such as quality of the residential environment, security of the neighbourhood and availability of amenities such as schools, shops, eateries and entertainment outlets as well as accessibility,” pointed out Tang, who has been in the real estate business since 1979.

“The areas mentioned are prestigious locations which have snob appeal,” said the veteran consultant, who himself lives in Damansara Heights.

Is it too expensive now to buy properties in areas like Bukit Tunku, Damansara Heights or even Bangsar?

“Well-heeled locals are still keen on properties in these areas. They are prestigious addresses which command good rentals and enjoy strong potential for capital appreciation due to the scarcity of land for the development of new homes.

“Foreigners, too, tend to buy in established locations and, as such, will still consider these areas.”

However, living in an elitist neighbourhood is not without its share of negative factors.

For one thing, the residents here are mainly well-connected and powerful personalities. Some would not hesitate to be litigious should their property rights be infringed by neighbours, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

Newer residential enclaves such as Mont'Kiara are viewed by certain property investors and agents as being “over-developed”. Despite that, their prices keep going up.

“People have been talking about an oversupply situation in Mont'Kiara for years but new projects have continued to enjoy a good take-up rate in terms of sales. This is due to the perception that Mont'Kiara properties enjoy good capital appreciation. And units can easily be rented out due to its popularity with the expatriate community.

“However, with recent project launches which have large units and are priced at around the RM1,000 per sq ft threshold sales have been sluggish.

“As most Mont'Kiara developments are high-rise condominium projects, population density is much higher than other residential areas such as Ampang, Bangsar and Bandar Utama.”

Apparently, it may take some time for the market to “digest” such units available, provided economic factors remain stable and government regulations do not affect demand adversely.

And for those with not-so-deep pockets, Tang who has witnessed his fair share of property ups and downs in the market picked certain upcoming and promising residential areas as having high potential for property investment.

The “good” areas include Setia Ecopark, Bandar Utama-Mutiara Damansara-Desa ParkCity residential belt and Kemensah Heights.

Similar positive factors also apply to other established residential developments in Tropicana in Petaling Jaya, Sierramas in Sungai Buloh and Country Heights in Kajang.

“Buying into an established and prestigious location cannot go wrong as prices will hold better during a downturn and recover faster,” advised Tang.

“So, the strategy is to go in when the market has started to move up and sell when the price has gone up to a level which will give the investor an attractive gain. Never regret having made less if the prices go up higher as the market could have turned the other way.”

For more of this story, including a table of comparison on the preferred residential locations, log on to

By The Star

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