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Saturday, March 26, 2011

YTL Land to launch The Capers condo

An artist’s impression of The Capers condominum which will be built by YTL Land in Sentul.

PETALING JAYA: YTL Land & Development Bhd, which is launching its condominium development The Capers at Sentul East today, caused a “mad rush” among potential buyers looking to lock in sales.

“There was a mad rush of people scrambling in. The food for the guests was left uneaten,” said a fund manager who was on-site to buy a unit yesterday.

At press time, about 80% of Block A has been taken up, according to a sales person when contacted by StarBizWeek yesterday.

The Capers, which has a gross development value of RM350mil, consists of 338 units housed in two 36-storey towers and 128 low-rise suites.

Built-up areas for the tower units range from 695 sq ft to 1,567 sq ft with two bedrooms and 3+1 bedrooms configurations.

The low-rise suites are made up of duplexes and 3-storey single-level suites. Sizes are 999 sq ft (2+1 bedrooms) and 1,965 sq ft (duplex 4+1+1 bedrooms).

YTL Land executive director Datuk Yeoh Seok Kian said one of the top selling points of The Capers was its design.

“The Capers' other unique points include its freehold status, a prime city location that is well-connected by road and train, backed by a 294-acre masterplan that has been dedicated to re-generate this 100-year-old town with a new vibrancy,” he told StarBizWeek in an e-mail.

The Capers is the third residential development in Sentul East after The Tamarind and The Saffron (both sell-out projects were launched in 2005 and 2006 respectively).

Sentul is one of the areas that has been earmarked as a “hotspot” to benefit from the Government's upcoming mass rapid transit (MRT) project.

YTL Land is the first developer to launch a development that is close to an upcoming MRT station.

Yeoh noted that Sentul already enjoyed a multi-connected infrastructure network, placing it in direct access with key locations by road and train.

“Indeed, with the onset of the KL City Circle line (which circles the Kuala Lumpur city centre), Sentul will turn into a major stop-over point among the city's key attractions, not only bringing with it more traffic on a consistent basis but providing enhanced convenience to the community and resulting in significant impact to property values.”

Yeoh said that in the future, all Sentul East developments would be connected via a sky bridge to provide convenience to the community and create a thriving and well-connected hot spot.

“This elevated sky bridge provides one with seamless access from the Sentul KTM Komuter through our properties and ends at the Sentul Timur LRT station.”

He said the first connection would be built in the later part of this year.

By The Star

Naza TTDI aims to be top 10 property player in 3 years

PROPERTY developer Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd is aiming to be among the top 10 property players in the country in three years' time and the No. 1 developer in five years' time.

Group managing director SM Faliq SM Nasimuddin says the group is up for the challenge and believe the goals are achievable based on a few factors.

“With major high impact projects in hand, more merger and acquisition in the pipeline and the strength of our workforce, the goals are achievable,” he says in an e-mail reply.

SM Faliq SM Nasimuddin ... ‘Our market is well diversified.’

SM Faliq says the group plans to focus on its high impact projects such as the Platinum Park, and targets a turnover of RM1bil this year and RM2bil within the next three years.

“We will continue to improve on our deliverables that includes product innovation, quality and customer service,” he says.

Group turnover in 2010 was RM635mil and to achieve the RM1bil turnover target this year, 18 more property launches will be carried out with gross development value (GDV) of RM1.6bil.

“We are targeting RM100mil net profit this year and RM200mil within the next three years. We have a number of exciting launches this year that begin with the launch of TTDI Adina, a mix development in Section 13, Shah Alam,” he says.

The new launches will also comprise both residential and commercial developments such as TTDI Grove in Kajang, TTDI Alam Impian in Shah Alam, TTDI Dualis in Puchong as well as a 35-storey tower at Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.

“Our market is well diversified. We cater to various market segments with our high-end boutique, township and commercial developments,” he says.

SM Faliq says Naza TTDI has also established an associate construction company Naza TTDI Construction to complement the former's business and offer complete construction services, specialising in the fields of building, civil engineering and infrastructure works.

“Our diversification into construction will be another avenue for growth and within these three years, we hope to build an entity that will be well respected for its own portfolio and achievements,” he says.

He adds that the group is looking at expanding its land bank (now reaching over 400 acres) locally and regionally.

“We are also looking at going into our neighbouring countries with high impact, high visibility projects that hopefully will provide us with the necessary profile to propel us into the global property market,' he says, adding that among the countries the group is eyeing are Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and China.

On the outlook of property market this year, SM Faliq says Naza TTDI is confident that the local property market is sustainable and will continue to be so as buying activities are backed by economic fundamentals and genuine purchasers.

“But having said so, certain fundamentals like the attractive interest rates have to remain encouraging for the purchasers,” he says.

He adds that the Government's Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) has shown concrete and quantifiable results in a relatively short time, and the group is excited about the ETP.

“It is a long-term programme for Malaysia to become a high-income, high-value economy and execution is crucial. We welcome the initiative for Greater KL to be a National Key Economic Area as this will boost demand for properties,” he says.

SM Faliq says NAZA TTDI also lauds the Government's commitment to increase and improve road connectivity and the public transportation system. “While our projects already enjoy excellent accessibility, any additional connectivity will bring added convenience for residents and tenants, and has the potential to increase property values. There are in fact many Malaysian developers who are capable of developing properties of international standard. In this regard, NAZA TTDI is one of the top privatelyowned companies with the capability and potential to successfully develop mega projects and also niche boutique projects with quality comparable to international standards,” he says.

By The Star

PJCC Development’s on-site sales office depicts its futuristic project concept

An artist’s impression of PJCC Development’s The Pod on-site sales office and showroom gallery.

When PJCC Development Sdn Bhd decided to build its on-site sales office and showroom gallery for its ongoing integrated commercial hub project, Petaling Jaya Commercial City (PJCC), the challenges were many.

As PJCC Development managing director Jacqueline Daniele Roberts recalls, the company wasn't looking to develop a bland, flat structure.

Jacqueline Daniele Roberts ...‘We wanted it to be something unique, iconic, futuristic and symbolic.’

“We wanted it (the on-site sales office and showroom gallery) to be something unique, iconic, futuristic and symbolic to represent the whole development,” she tells StarBizWeek.

The final output was The Pod, a structure that has to be seen to be believed.

Roberts says one of the major concerns was whether the final structure would end up resembling how it looked on paper.

“It was a complicated building to build and whenever you want to build something unusual, it's always a challenge. When you see something in a rendered picture, it does not resemble exactly the image you initially intended once it's completed.

“We were also concerned about appointing the right contractors. The Pod has over 20 individual steel ribs each having different shapes and sizes.”

Fortunately for PJCC Development, everything fell into place, says Roberts.

“There was no specific picture given to the architects. We just wanted something that stood out. But with the first draft (of the designs), we knew it was what we wanted.”

The Pod was designed by architects of Hijjas Kasturi from Malaysia, in collaboration with Studio Nicoletti of Italy. The latter has worked on key projects such as the Palermo Sport Palace, the Italian Parliament Conference Centre and the Hall of Justice in Arezzo.

Water droplets were the inspiration for The Pod, creating a dynamic spherical form resulting in a primitive building archetype with a modern twist.

The Pod stands out the most when viewed from the sky. The building appears to be sliced diagonally into a series of ribbons, its shape formed in a series of elliptical sections of variable widths and heights.

The structure is fabricated from tubular steel members with the exterior made of reflective aluminium panels. Its exterior colour shades also changes depending on the reflection of the sun.

Roberts is not revealing how much was invested to build The Pod.

“It wasn't cheap,” she says, adding that The pod took about 12 months (from conception to completion).

The Pod has a floor size of 7,500 sq ft, Internally, it is divided into two parts. One zone is dedicated to the corporate office area while the main showroom and sales gallery.

PJCC Development will be officially launching The Pod on March 31 in a ceremony that will be officiated by Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman as well as the Italian architects and its ambassadors.

Roberts says design of The Pod has also inspired PJCC Development to replicate it for other structures.

“Everyone who's seen it says it'd make a fantastic design for a house,” he says, laughing.

“We would like to make similar designs for other projects but for now, it's a one-off thing.”

When looking at a miniature model of the company's entire PJCC development (in its show gallery), The Pod is however nowhere in sight. A few blocks of office towers, instead, are visible where it (The Pod) should be.

That's because the office towers will be built where the The Pod is currently located.

But because of its unique structure and appeal, Roberts says the company may just reconsider its plans.

“We have all gotten quite fond of it (The Pod). It's a beautiful building and we may review our plans (to build the office towers). We may build the towers around The Pod instead,” she says.

Nestled along the New Pantai Expressway (NPE), PJCC is being developed in multiple phases over a period of 10 years. Construction began in 2006.

Its first phase comprises 750,000 sq ft of shop offices. To date, 500,000 sq ft of built-up space have been completed, all of which have been fully sold.

Roberts says the shop offices were went for RM130 per sq ft in 2007 and today costs about RM350 per sq ft.

Next to be launched by year-end is a 13-storey corporate tower, a 380-rooms four-star hotel and a block of 180 units of serviced apartments. There are also plans to build more office space and a shopping complex.

The overall mix development's projected gross development value (GDV) is estimated at RM2bil. Once fully completed, PJCC will feature approximately 2.5 million sq ft of prime commercial properties.

According to Roberts, PJCC was recently voted to be year 2011's top three hotspot for investment in Klang Valley, Malaysia by 250 property's investors in Swhengtee International Real Estate Investors Club's Forecast Seminar.

By The Star

Which home loan to opt for?

For new homeowners, fixed rate loans may be a good alternative provided they are able to lock in when interest rates are still low.

A Home buyer with a floating interest rate home loan may feel slightly unnerved in a rising interest rate environment. Just in a span of five months, Bank Negara had raised the overnight policy rate (OPR) by 75 basis points to 2.75% last year and local economists expect the central bank to raise the OPR further in the second half of this year.

As the OPR moves up, banks will also look to increase their base lending rates (BLRs) and a higher BLR will undoubtedly have an impact on a floating rate housing loan. BLR is typically defined as a minimum interest rate charged by banks after considering its cost of funds and other administrative costs.

As most floating rate loans track the BLR, the interest charged will fluctuate based on the rise and fall of the BLR throughout the tenure of the loan while a fixed home loan ensures that the interest charged is fixed throughout the loan's tenure.

So how do you make a decision on which home loan to opt for, be it fixed or floating?

For individuals currently servicing floating rate housing loans, jumping to fixed home loans immediately may not be the best alternative.

Considerations that one needs to take into account include the cost incurred in refinancing a home loan, as there are fees or penalties impose by the existing financier for exiting your current loan contract.

Also, refinancing will see the individual having to abide by new terms and conditions, which means that the individual's lock in period for the loan may start again. But on the upside, you may receive better prepayment conditions and favourable rates with the new loan.

If a home owner does not foresee a steep rise in interest rates and the variable rate home loan tenure is coming to an end soon, the differential in savings from switching may be small considering that fixed home rates are also inclined to move up in a rising interest rate environment.

“It's important to take note of how many more years you have on your loan tenure. If you have a couple of years left, it may not be worth switching considering the cost of refinancing,” says Whitman Independent Advisors Sdn Bhd managing director Yap Ming Hui.

“Also, look at the fixed interest amount as that will help you decide, if it is too high or low. If the fixed rate is at 8% and a floating rate housing loan is BLR minus 2%, then the fixed rate loan is not competitive.”

However, for new homeowners, fixed rate loans may be a good alternative provided they are able to lock in when interest rates are still low.

Ng Wei Kian opted for a fixed rate home loan when he first purchased his home.

“I'm a type A personality and with the worry that interest rates may move up, I'm much more comfortable servicing a fixed rate home loan,” he says.

He adds that since he is an employee with a fixed monthly income, knowing how much he has to pay on a monthly basis provides him with peace of mind, especially since his housing loan is his biggest financial commitment.

“Another plus point is that as you progress in your career and see a higher salary base, your monthly loan repayment becomes smaller in comparison to your earning power,” he says.

While fixed rate loans tend to suit risk-averse individuals, it is best to seek out various options offered by banks and insurers alike in their product offering before one commits to a housing loan with repayments locked in for 30 years.

A quick check on website shows that BLR among banks here range between 6% and 6.30% as of October last year while there are some attractive fixed home loans out there, with one insurer even offering a fixed income rate at 4.85% per annum (non zero moving costs) and 5.25% per annum (zero entry cost).

The key take away in making a switch in a housing loan is to examine your financial situation and only change if the penalty fees charged outweigh the savings benefit from the new loan.

By The Star