Monthly Archives: March 2014

Consumer groups call for transparent house buyer selection

MyHome

PETALING JAYA: There must be transparency in the selection of qualified buyers and the final balloting under the MyHome Scheme, said consumer groups.

“We must hold true to the principle that whoever deserves a house (under the scheme) should get it regardless of race,” said National House Buyers Association honourary secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said.

“The Housing and Local Government Ministry should also ensure that buyers meet all the eligibility criteria for the loan before they grant the incentive,” he added.

Fomca secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj stressed the importance of transparency in the selection process.

“We must ensure that those who qualify would be entitled to a house. The process must be transparent so that those who do not get the incentive or house will still feel the selection process was carried out fairly,” he said.

Paul added that the scheme would help more Malaysians, especially the younger generation, to realise their dream of owning their first home.

Chang commended the inclusion of a 10-year moratorium, which prohibits a buyer from re-selling or transferring ownership of the home unless it was transferred to immediate family members.

“This will make sure there will be no flipping of properties,” he said.

Property developer Mah Sing Group Bhd also lauded the scheme.

“We are keen to find out if we meet the conditions (to file an application for the scheme),” said its corporate communications general manager Lyanna Tew.

Developers are turning to area for its growth potential

These days Kajang in Selangor is all abuzz with talk of the coming by-election for the constituency’s state assembly seat.

In recent weeks, the town has been visited by various political personalities eager to make a good impression on the local folks.

But Kajang has been on property developers’ radar for years.

Developers have not only flocked to Kajang for its strategic location on the outskirts of the city, but also because of the potential they see in the porperty market there.

Kajang, developers point out, is primed for higher-end products. More and more gated-and-guarded projects are being developed in the area and property prices have doubled over the past three years or so.

“There has been an increase in demand for high-end properties in Kajang. This is clearly demonstrated through the good response received from buyers as our high-end products launched in recent years are almost fully sold,” said Chong Yan Han, director of property developer.

Some of these projects, said Chong, include Sentosa Heights, where prices of the semi-detached houses and bungalows range from RM1.3mil to RM2mil or about RM350psf, Kajang 2, where its semi-Ds start from RM1.2mil, and Kajang East, where prices of a two-storey terrace house start from RM650,000.

Strong demand for private schools such as Rafflesia School, which was built by MKH Bhd, is an indication that Kajang has a market for high-end products.

Strong demand for private schools such as Rafflesia School, which was built by MKH Bhd, is an indication that Kajang has a market for high-end products.

Tropicana Corp Bhd executive marketing and sales director Pam Loh concurred that while Kajang was an old market, “this is where the potential is”.

She added that property prices were going up due to the rising cost of land, materials and labour.

“Costs are going up and the surrounding area is also coming up. So prices won’t come down,” Loh said.

One of the hotspots for high-end developments in Kajang is within the vicinity of Jalan Reko, which is the location of one of three Kajang MRT stations planned along the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line. The other two stations are Saujana Impian and Bandar Kajang.

A better lifestyle

Nadayu Properties Bhd can be considered a pioneer in the gated-and-guarded concept in this area.

Amid plantations and undeveloped land, Nadayu launched its exclusive project, Nadayu 92, in mid-2010.

The development comprises linked homes, semi-Ds and bungalows with facilities such as a clubhouse and a central park.

Houses in Nadayu 92 were priced between RM433,000 and RM1.02mil, then considered a benchmark for Kajang. But Nadayu chief executive officer Mohd Farid Nawawi noted that the gamble paid off handsomely for the developer.

“Surprisingly, 50% was sold off in two months of the launch. This gave the group the confidence to move more in that direction. What is interesting is that the gated-and- guarded concept was relatively new there. But it was a good catalyst for developers,” Farid said, adding that transaction prices for its properties had risen significantly.

Farid expects the landscape in Kajang to be changed tremendously by 2016.

Adjacent to Nadayu 92 is MKH’s Kajang 2, a 270 acre freehold township fronting Jalan Reko. Kajang 2, designed as a live, work and play development, is expected to draw a population of 25,000 to 30,000 people. The project has a gross development value of RM2.8bil and will take some seven years to complete.

A rendering of the 16-acre Central Park in Tropicana Heights, Kajang, which will feature a 750-metre linear lake.

A rendering of the 16-acre Central Park in Tropicana Heights, Kajang, which will feature a 750-metre linear lake.

Tropicana has also joined the fray with its integrated development, Tropicana Heights Kajang. The project, with an estimated GDV of RM2.3bil, sits on 199 acres of freehold land, which was previously the Kajang Hill Golf Club.

Prior to the launch of its first phase last month, Loh said more than 10,000 enquiries had poured in for the gated-and-guarded residential area.

“People are increasingly looking at the environment they are living in. They want a better and more modern lifestyle, which demands quality, not just a box with four walls and a roof. They are also looking at the potential for value appreciation,” said Loh.

She added that the challenge for new developers in the area was to develop products that were market driven.

“The area is surrounded by old houses, with a lot of second- and third-generation occupants.

“Most of them want to move out but want to remain close to their families. We need to understand our target market’s lifestyle and come up with designs that meet that demand. We are offering what old areas don’t have,” she said.

Another high-end development in the area is Naza TTDI’s 113 acre TTDI Grove.

Meeting a need

Although prices have risen quickly in Kajang, developers think that they are still affordable compared to other locations around the Klang Valley.

In the past, landed homes below RM350,000 were considered affordable. But today, Chong said, anything ranging from RM650,000 to RM1mil is considered affordable in Kajang depending on its exact location.

“Houses in Kajang are generally much more affordable compared to other areas of the Klang Valley. In Kajang, you only pay RM700,000 to RM1mil to own a landed home in a gated-and-guarded development with club house facilities.

An artist's impression of the Nadayu 92 development. Nadayu Properties CEO Mohd Farid Nawawi says the project is paying off handsomely.

An artist’s impression of the Nadayu 92 development. Nadayu Properties CEO Mohd Farid Nawawi says the project is paying off handsomely.

“Housebuyers may have to pay almost double that price for the same concept and size in other areas,” he said.

Additionally, Chong noted that there is a ready market for high-end properties in Kajang and expects more buying interest there due to the affordability and good infrastructure available.

He observes that the majority of MKH’s customers for its Kajang properties are genuine homebuyers who wish to upgrade their current homes as well as young people migrating from other parts of Klang Valley as property prices in those areas have risen beyond their reach.

Notably, there is also a sizeable portion of buyers who are long-term investors from Petaling Jaya, Damansara, Kuala Lumpur and Cheras.

“We may think Kajang is not a high-end area, but there are international and private schools here, which really shows you that there is a high-income population there and there is a ready market. We are meeting a need for such products,” Loh said.

Consumers can expect more activity in the area as developers position themselves to take advantage of the growing demand for high-end properties there.

MKH is already embarking on the redevelopment of the old Kajang town and will continue to expand in the Kajang area, creating what Chong describes as a more vibrant business district.

“With our commercial developments coming up, skyscrapers will create a new skyline for Kajang town. This will not only bring people to live here, but to work and play in the new vibrant commercial business district,” Chong said.