With the Chinese New Year approaching, what better way to soak in the festivity than exploring Kuala Lumpur’s historic Chinatown district?
By Khalil Adis
Whether you love it or hate it, Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown district has a colourful personality that attracts both Malaysians and tourists alike. While Malaysians lament about the loss of its authenticity and some have chosen to avoid it altogether, this vibrant area has its own quirks that make it oh-so-charming thanks to the many rustic shophouses. Here is a quick guide on exploring Chinatown.
#1: Plaza Rakyat LRT station
Plaza Rakyat LRT station is an elevated station along the Ampang and Sri Petaling Line. Situated next to a massive proposed mixed-use development that has since been abandoned, the whole area unfortunately reeks of urban decay. Once you exit from the station you will likely come across the occasional beggars and the rancid smell emanating from the air - not for the faint-hearted. Taking the LRT station is ideal if you intend to head to Menara Maybank or to savour the street food at Jalan Sultan as it is located within the vicinity.
#2: Pasar Seni MRT station
Pasar Seni MRT Station is an underground station that is integrated with the existing Pasar Seni LRT station serving the Kelana Jaya LRT Line. Located in the heritage area of Chinatown, Pasar Seni is located within walking distance to backpackers’ lodges, boutique hotels and the tourist trap flea marts of Petaling Street.
There are plans to also connect the station to the iconic Central Market. An added feature is a bus interchange located just above the station that will connect buses from Kuala Lumpur to Petaling Jaya.
#3: Petaling Street
Petaling Street is a must visit street if you want to buy branded knock-offs ranging from bags to watches. Ironically, while this is the heart of Chinatown, the vendors selling the wares are mostly foreigners comprising Bangladeshi workers. The imitation watches, in particular, are rather pricey and do not last long. You are better off buying the real deal while taking in the rampant piracy that occurs along this stretch.
#4: Pasar Karat
Known locally as ‘Thieves Market’, Pasar Karat is a treasure trove for antique and trinket lovers as well as the occasional luxury goods that are believed to have been stolen. From Montblanc luggage bags to second-hand electronic goods, Pasar Karat is KL’s version of the now-defunct Singapore’s Sungei Road. Pasar Karat is open in the wee hours of the morning at around 4 am and shuts down by 10 am. Be sure to come early before the goods run out.
#5: Food street at Jalan Sultan
Located within the Petaling Street enclave, the food street comes alive at night with a serving of local Malay dishes, mamaks as well as Chinese cuisines in a fuss-free alfresco setting. If the dark and dirty alley makes your stomach turn, fret not as you can opt to dine at the slightly upmarket Nando’s or KFC located nearby.
#6: Weng Hoa Flower Boutique
No 1 Lorong Hang Lekir
Off Jalan Hang Lekir
50000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 8 am to 10 pm
Forget overpriced flowers sold at upmarket malls. Instead, head here for fresh plants and roses sold at wholesale prices! There are even ready-made bouquets for you to choose from. Ladies and wedding planners will definitely find delight in the freezer room located at the back of the shop where you can choose from the many arrays of local and exported roses as well as other exotic flowers. In addition, you can buy flower petals and kaffir lime to cleanse your chakras for that montly flower bath ritual. For the freshest produce, head here when the store opens.
#7: Central Market
Lot 3.04-3.06, Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur.
Telephone: 03-2031 0399/5399/7399
Central Market is the place to go to for slightly upmarket goods within an air-conditioned environment. Housed within an art deco facade, Central Market first started out as a wet market in 1888 but has since been repurposed as a one-stop centre for Malaysian batik, souvenirs, collectables and handicraft. From textiles to tableware, the choices are endless.
#8 Kasturi Walk
Kasturi Walk is located alongside the main Central Market building. This newly transformed, pedestrianised and covered walkway features an al fresco ambience with a wide variety of stalls selling local snacks and exquisite souvenirs.
Price: According to Brickz, the median price for office buildings and shophouses here are around RM858 per sq ft and RM1,056 per sq ft respectively.
The good: Buying a property here will mean constant human traffic from both locals and tourists alike as Chinatown is rich in popular tourism landmarks such as Central Market and Petaling Street. The quaint rows of heritage shophouses house hip boutique hotels to quirky cafes and restaurants that attract the cool, creative type. The area is also a haven to some of KL’s famous hawker food such as Shin Kee Beef Noodle near to Central Market and the birthplace of Hokkien mee, Restoran Kim Lian Hee located at the junction of Jalan Petaling and Jalan Hang Lekir. All these attractions make it suited for Airbnb type of accommodations.
The bad: If you intend to buy a property here, you are only limited to office buildings or shophouses. Land here is extremely scarce and there are no existing or future residential projects in the pipeline. As such, this area is a no go for most investors unless you are an institutional investor or have deep pockets.
Gear up for a bumpy ride next year in Malaysia’s property market as the number of unsold units continues to rise. Despite the challenges, there are some opportunities for investors and rent-seekers.
By Khalil Adis
According to the Valuation and Property Services Department’s (JPPH) latest figures, the number of unsold completed residential units rose from 20,304 units to 30,115 units year-on-year as at 30 September 2018.
This represents an increase of 48.35 per cent.
Meanwhile, the total value was RM19.54 billion, representing a 56.44 per cent rise from RM12.49 billion a year ago.
However, if JPPH were to also include serviced apartments and small offices home offices (SoHos), this would bring their overhang value to 40,916 units valued at RM27.38 billion.
According to JPPH, Johor has the largest number of unsold completed serviced apartments and SoHo units at 7,714.
JPPH notes that it rose a whopping 191 per cent from the 2,647 units recorded a year ago.
The overhang in serviced apartments is valued at RM6.16 billion compared with its residential overhang of RM4.44 billion.
This means the total overall value of its unsold serviced apartments is 1.5 times that of residential housing.
In summary, Johor has the highest number of completed unsold units in Malaysia at 6,053.
This is a 55 per cent increase from the 3.901 units a year ago.
With an overhang in supply spanning from Johor to Selangor, here are some of the likely property trends to emerge next year.
#1: Renter’s market
The new supply of the completed units plus the those from existing units will lead to a downward pressure in the rental market causing rentals to fall.
This is because rent-seekers will be spoilt for choice while landlords will be fighting for tenants.
This will make it ideal for rent-seekers as landlords will most likely be open for price negotiations.
Meanwhile, it is bad news for landlords should they be able to find a tenant or not.
In the former, the rental will most likely not be able to cover the mortgage resulting in negative cash flow.
In the latter, landlords will have to cover the mortgage themselves.
Those who cannot will have no choice but the let go of their units.
#2: Buyer’s market
The property market will also favour buyers as sellers will be desperate to offload their properties, especially those who have multiple units.
Therefore, buyers will be in a more stronger position to bargain in a market flooded with so many units.
#4: Buy properties in the secondary market
If you urgently need a roof over your head, then the secondary market is the way to go as you are buying a completed property.
Sellers are also more willing to negotiate on the terms of payment and will likely cut a flexible payment deal via their agents if you do not have a sufficient deposit in hand.
In addition, the supply overhang also mean that properties in the secondary market are priced 20 to 30 per cent cheaper than new launches.
However, do bear in mind that you need to pay a 10 per cent deposit.
#5: Overhang in supply means good deals in the auction market
Unfortunately, there will also be distressed properties which will be auctioned off in court.
If you are looking for a below market value (BMV) property, then this will present a very good opportunity for you.
When buying a BMV, you will need to attend an auction in court and prepare a bank draft in advance to show of interest.
This will cost you around 10 per cent of the reserve price.
For example, if the property is being auctioned off at RM50,000, you will need to prepare RM5,000 in bank draft.
If you have successfully bid for the property, you will need to settle the balance of the payment within 120 days.
However, there are a lot of hidden costs, for example, legal, quit rent (cukai pintu), unpaid utilities and maintenance fees, assessments and so on.
Perhaps, the biggest risk is this - while the property is legally yours, you may find it hard to evict the tenants or owners.
You may have to apply for a court order, through a lawyer, to evict the occupants.
This process can take you up to four weeks and costs you between RM1,500 to RM2,000. Even so, there are no guarantees they can be evicted as Malaysian laws favour occupiers.
When buying a BMV property, it is best to find out if the property is occupied by tenants or owners.
#6: It also means good deals from the primary market
Developers have to move their unsold inventory as each unit means added cost for them.
As such, developers will be coming up with creative schemes like zero downpayment and such to lure buyers.
Speak to a good developer and check if they have a good master plan to ensure your property values are protected.
Remember the 5Cs I always talk about?
Check against them before you commit to buying a property,
#7: More restrictions on Airbnb accommodations
Making money from your short stay travellers may prove to be even harder even if the government legalises Airbnb.
This is because we are seeing trends of management committees barring Airbnb-type of accommodation due to security and safety issues.
So before you decide to list your untenanted unit on Airbnb, it is best to check with your management committee if this is allowed.
However, if you happen to own a serviced apartment, this will not be an issue as it falls under a commercial title.
#8: Transit-oriented developments (TODs) along SSP Line
The Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya Line (SSP Line) is one of the few major infrastructure projects that will be continued under the newly elected government.
In fact, the project is currently under construction and is fast taking shape.
Some developers have already acquired land banks along this line to build TODs.
Areas to watch out for include Kwasa Damansara, Kwasa Sentral, Sungai Besi, Bandar Malaysia and Cyberjaya City Centre
2018 is a watershed moment for Malaysia's politics and the subsequent impact on the property market. We list down the key highlights in our 2018 property market roundups and our outlook for 2019.
By Khalil Adis
May 10 2018 was a watershed moment in Malaysia as it marked the first change of government in the country's history.
Since 1957, it had enjoyed an uninterrupted reign from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
However, the high cost of living, falling Ringgit, the lack of affordable homes in the market, high unemployment among fresh graduates, the unfettered check on power and the 1MDB scandal proved to be the undoing for BN as Malaysians far and wide casted their protest vote in the ballot box
The message from Malaysians is clear - they have had enough and want a new, clean government to lead the way.
With the Pakatan Harapan government now in power, all eyes are on the newly elected old Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad and his team to solve the pressing bread and butter issues.
Here are the top five property market roundups for 2018 and our top five outlooks for 2019.
#1: Demand-supply mismatch has resulted in an increasing number of unsold homes
According to Bank Negara, 80 per cent of homes or 146,196 units priced above RM250,000 remained unsold as of end March 2018.
In comparison, 130,690 units were unsold during the same period last year.
"Imbalances observed in the property market continue to persist," Bank Negara had said in a statement.
#2: Rent-to-own scheme being rolled out
To help ease the entry for the first time property buyers, the private sector has come up with a few initiatives.
Some private developers like Ayer Holdings have introduced a ‘Stay & Own' scheme for their Epic Residence and Foreston projects whereby part of the rent will be converted to the downpayment.
This not only provides a temporary solution for those who urgently need a home but also a form of security.
Meanwhile, Maybank has rolled a similar initiative called HouzKEY which they have called as "a rent-to-own solution that helps you to own your dream home."
The scheme involves zero per cent downpayment with the monthly rental forming part of the home financing.
#3: Ministry of Housing and Local Government studying Singapore's HDB model
In July, Zuraida Kamaruddin, the Minister of Housing and Local Government paid an official visit to Singapore to study the HDB model.
Singapore has succeeded to build demand driven homes under its Built-to-Order (BTO) scheme to house 80 per cent of the Singapore population.
This is especially useful in Malaysia where there is currently a demand-supply mismatch as in point number one.
#4: Malaysia looking into having a single housing government agency
In Malaysia, there are so many affordable housing programmes being rolled out by the state and federal governments such as Rumah Milik Mampu, Rumah Selangorku, PR1MA, My First Home, Program Perumaha Rakyat and the list goes on.
This confuses the public.
The Malaysian government is currently looking into having a single housing agency to streamline the whole process much like the HDB model.
If implemented, this could solve the current Malaysian housing woe.
#5: More help for the B40, M40 and first-time homebuyers under Budget 2019
More help is on the way for these group of property buyers as announced under Budget 2019.
The measures included the Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (Rehda) agreement to cut prices by 10 per cent for new launches, the exemption of the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) for properties that are priced below RM200,000 and the stamp duty exemption for properties priced in the first RM300,000 up to RM500,000 as well as those priced from RM300,000 to RM1 million.
Outlook for 2019
#1: Affordable homes to continue driving the market
There is currently a strong pent-up demand for affordable homes but where the supply is lacking.
As such, the affordable home segment will continue to be in strong demand for 2019.
However, there needs to be concerted efforts from both the government and private developers.
Under Budget 2019, the federal government has pledged to spend RM1.5 billion on such homes via the 1Malaysia People's Housing (PR1MA) and Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB).
Meanwhile, Rehda has agreed to cut prices as stated above.
#2: South KL to be the growth area
There are many infrastructure projects and economic drivers that are in the pipeline that will further boost property prices in Southern KL.
One such project is Bandar Malaysia will serve as the terminus station for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (KL-Singapore HSR) project linking both cities in 90 minutes flat.
The development for the project has been postponed to two years and will now commence construction in 2020 instead of 2018.
Meanwhile, the express service will only commence by 1 January 2031 instead of 31 December 2026, as originally planned.
Bandar Malaysia has been designated as a site for the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) initiative by Jack Ma. Home to the Satellite Services Hub, DFTZ is expected to create some 60,000 direct and indirect jobs. It will also possibly serve as the interchange to the MRT Line 3, which has now been postponed.
Another economic driver in the vicinity is Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).
TRX will be a mixed-use development comprising a Grade A office space as well as residential and commercial precincts.
To be developed in several phases over a period of 15 years, the first phase will comprise four investment grade A office towers, a lifestyle retail mall, two 5-star hotels and up to six luxurious residential towers with a target completion date by 2019.
In addition, Bandar Malaysia will house two MRT stations - Bandar Malaysia North and Bandar Malaysia South which will form part of the alignment for the Sungai Buloh - Serdang - Putrajaya Line (SSP Line).
#3: Properties along Sungai Buloh - Serdang - Putrajaya Line (SSP Line) will be sought after
Speaking of the SSP Line, properties along the alignment, particularly those situated in the growth areas of Sungai Besi, Bandar Malaysia and Cyberjaya City Centre are worth looking into.
Bandar Malaysia will house two MRT stations as stated above and located a few stops away from Tun Razak Exchange MRT station.
Meanwhile, Sungai Besi MRT station is an interchange station to the Sungai Besi LRT station.
It will serve as an interchange to the upcoming High Speed Rail station located in Bandar Malaysia, also in Sungai Besi.
Last but not least, Cyberjaya City Centre MRT station is a transit-oriented development (TOD) project to be developed by Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB).
With its experience in building the transport hub in KL Sentral, MRCB will be developing a new city that will be integrated with the MRT station.
Phase one is expected to generate a gross development value (GDV) of RM5.35 billion.
It will feature a 200,000 sq ft convention centre, a 300- to 400-room business hotel, low and high-rise office buildings and a retail podium. Cyberjaya City Centre will have a development plan spanning 20 years.
The MRT station is located just opposite Lim Kok Wing University of Creative Technology.
#4: Penang to get a boost from Phase 1 of Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP)
With Lim Guan Eng as Malaysia's Finance Minister, Penang's property market will get a further boost.
Just this month, Phase 1 of PTMP was approved.
It will comprise the Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1) project and several main highways.
The proposed Bayan Lepas LRT line will be about 30 km in length with 27 stations running from KOMTAR to the future reclaimed islands in the south.
There will be three interchange stations - KOMTAR, Sky Cab Station linking it to the Sky Cab line across the Malacca Straits and The Light Station linking it to the George Town-Butterworth LRT line.
The LRT Line will also be integrated with the Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal at the Sungai Nibong Station.
Meanwhile, PIL 1 is a new 20km highway that will be aligned along the mountainous terrain of the island and will take around 15 minutes from between Gurney Drive to the Second Bridge.
There will be six interchanges in all - Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (LCE), Awang, Relau, Paya Terubong, Utama and Gurney.
#5: Johor Bahru to get a boost from the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link
Meanwhile, over in the southern state of Johor, Iskandar Malaysia's muted property market will get a boost as the RTS Link will commence construction next year.
The RTS Link will link Bukit Chagar station in Johor Bahru to Woodlands North MRT station in Singapore when completed in 2024.
There are also plans for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system within Bukit Chagar station to link it to the different areas of Iskandar Malaysia.
The BRT will feature a dedicated bus lane with three lines - BRT Line 1 will span from Bukit Chagar to Tebrau, BRT Line 2 from Bukit Chagar to Senai and finally, BRT Line 3 from Bukit Chagar to Iskandar Puteri.
However, based on market talk in the ground, there is a possibility that the BRT system will be upgraded to an LRT system instead.
Located slightly away from the hustle and bustle of KLCC and Bukit Bintang but still within the Golden Triangle, Cochrane is a growth area just south of Kuala Lumpur.
By Khalil Adis
Mention Cochrane and the first thing that comes to mind is IKEA Cheras and MyTOWN Shopping Centre.
Previously an area dedicated for government quarters comprising mainly landed terraces and semi-D types, Cochrane, upon redevelopment is now slowly buzzing with life since the opening of Cochrane MRT station last year.
For the longest time, this part of KL has been largely ignored as a property investment destination, save for the local attractions such as the Pudu Wet Market and Flea Market.
However, all that changed when the construction of Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK Line) was announced in September 2010 under Budget 2011.
Costing an estimated RM23 billion with 51km of train track and 31stations developments in this part of Cheras suddenly started gaining momentum when Cochrane MRT station was confirmed.
First was the opening IKEA Cheras by the Ikano Group in November 2015 followed by the opening of MyTOWN Shopping Centre by Boustead Ikano Sdn Bhd in the first quarter of 2017.
Quality condominium developments are a rare find here with recent launches in the area being One Cochrane.
Located just next to the upcoming dedicated financial district of Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) and the recently completed vibrant entertainment enclave of TREC, Cochrane is set to become one of KL’s hottest areas as it is just a stone throw’s away from the future Bandar Malaysia project which is currently being reviewed.
We list down eight things we love about living in Cochrane.
#1: Located just next to Cochrane MRT station
One Cochrane is located just next door to Cochrane MRT station at approximately 150 metres away. With a daily ridership of 400,000 that the SBK Line is expected to generate, this will not only mean easy access for homeowners but also a ready catchment pool among investors from the potential tenants commuting within KL and Greater KL.
#2: SBK Line as a property booster
MRT Corporation Sdn Bhd, the developer and asset owner of the Mass Rapid Transit project, envisages that the SBK Line is expected to raise the overall property values in the Klang Valley by around RM300 million per annum.
As One Cochrane is located just next to the MRT station, the impact will be felt even greater as it is surrounded by other property boosters such as IKEA Cheras and MyTOWN Shopping Centre. As such, we can expect the property prices in the near future to hover at around RM1,400 per sq ft and beyond, similar to Bukit Bintang’s average per sq ft price.
#3: Direct access to IKEA Cheras and MyTOWN Shopping Centre
Speaking of IKEA Cheras and MyTOWN Shopping Centre, did you know a new underground link has been opened since last year? During our recent site visit, we were pleased to see that IKEA Cheras and MyTOWN Shopping Centre are now directly connected to Cochrane MRT station making shopping and taking the MRT a breeze. Previously, commuters had to exit from the station and then jaywalk across Jalan Cochrane just to get to them.
IKEA Cheras boasts 56 showrooms, a 780-seat restaurant and over 1,700 parking bays in two underground carparks while MyTOWN Shopping Centre is a 1.1 million sq ft lifestyle shopping haven with five floors of retail space. Some of MyTOWN Shopping Centre’s anchor tenants include Uniqlo and Parkson, ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy.
#4: Located within the growth area in Southern KL
That’s not all. Cochrane is surrounded by various iconic projects that will further boost property prices in the area. With Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) and TREC just one stop away via the Tun Razak Exchange MRT station and Bandar Malaysia just four stops away via the upcoming Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP Line), Cochrane is set to enjoy the spillover impact from the two MRT lines as well as the iconic TREC and Bandar Malaysia projects.
#5: Party away at TREC
Letting your hair down is now a breeze as Cochrane is located next door to TREC. TREC which stands for “Taste, Relish, Experience, Celebrate” feature a variety of different styles, atmospheres and moods in five separate zones offering casual and fine dining, quirky and independent cafes, wine bars, pubs, lounges and clubs, including Zouk KL, Velvet Underground and Phuture. Costing RM323.6 million to develop, TREC is expected to create over 1,500 jobs and estimated to add RM143 million to the local economy annually.
#6: Next door to the financial district of Tun Razak Exchange (TRX)
TRX will be a mixed-use development comprising a Grade A office space as well as residential and commercial precincts. To be developed in several phases over a period of 15 years, the first phase will comprise four investment grade A office towers, a lifestyle retail mall, two 5-star hotels and up to six luxurious residential towers with a target completion date by 2019.
When fully completed by 2027, TRX is expected to raise the country’s Gross National Income per capita to USD15,000 and investments of US$444 billion by 2020. Some 500,000 jobs will be created directly and indirectly once TRX is completed. In addition, Tun Razak Exchange MRT station will serve some 3.3 million workers providing further potential quality tenants for investors.
#7: Hop on to the High Speed Rail nearby
Bandar Malaysia will serve as the terminus station for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (KL-Singapore HSR) project linking both cities in 90 minutes flat. The development for the project has been postponed to two years and will now commence construction in 2020 instead of 2018. Meanwhile, the express service will only commence by 1 January 2031 instead of 31 December 2026, as originally planned.
#8: Next door to the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ)
Bandar Malaysia has been designated as a site for the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) initiative by Jack Ma. Home to the Satellite Services Hub, DFTZ is expected to create some 60,000 direct and indirect jobs. It will also possibly serve as the interchange to the MRT Line 3, which has now been postponed.
Last but not least: Two stops away to the shopping belt of Bukit Bintang
With the completion of the SBK Line, you no longer have to endure the traffic congestions along Jalan Bukit Bintang. All you have to do is hop onto the MRT where you can enjoy some of the best things that life has to offer at Pavilion KL, Lot 10, Fahrenheit and Starhill Gallery just two stops away at Bukit Bintang MRT station. From shopping for luxury timepieces to enjoying street food at Jalan Alor, those dreaded traffic jams are now over. So #jomnaikMRT!
Investment talk by Khalil Adis
Date: 29 September 2018
Time: 11 am
Venue: One Cochrane Sales Gallery, Jalan Cochrane, Lot 1246, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
*First 10 to RSVP will receive a copy of Khalil Adis's best-selling book 'Property Buying for Gen Y
With the dust from the 14th Malaysian general election now settled, the newly minted Pakatan Harapan government has renewed investors’ confidence and sparked hope in the otherwise lull property market. We list down six reasons why KLCC is now attractive to foreign investors.
By Khalil Adis
Walk around Kuala Lumpur and you cannot help but feel a renewed sense of hope in the air among Malaysians post the 14th Malaysian general election. In fact, Malaysians appear to be smiling more than usual that even the notorious KL traffic has failed to put a dampener on their faces.
Call it a new Malaysia, if you will. However, this is indeed a watershed moment which saw a newly minted Pakatan Harapan government taking power and effectively putting an end to 61 years of uninterrupted rule under UMNO. With the promise to weed out corruption, the return of the rule of law by the Mahathir administration has ignited business confidence and renewed interest in the property market.
One area which has always been a perennial favourite among foreign investors is KLCC. Home to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, it was Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad who had the foresight to build it that has led to Kuala Lumpur being known all over the world. As if signalling a new dawn for Malaysia, KLCC’s skyline is set to welcome a new iconic landmark come 2023. Here are our findings why properties in KLCC are now ripe for picking.
#1: A new iconic landmark
Oxley Towers Kuala Lumpur City Centre is a freehold mixed-use development that is located within walking distance to the the Petronas Twin Tower and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Comprising an office tower, Jumeirah Kuala Lumpur Hotel with residences, SO/ Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Hotel with residences, and a retail podium, Oxley Towers Kuala Lumpur City Centre is set to be the next iconic skyline in KLCC with its sleek, ultra-modern architecture. At our recent site visit, construction work has already started and is making good progress with an expected completion date in 2023.
#2: Reputable Singaporean developer with a strong track record
When buying a property in Malaysia, the track record of a developer is of utmost importance. Oxley Towers Kuala Lumpur City Centre is being built by Oxley Holdings Limited. This home-grown Singaporean property developer has a wide and diverse property portfolio comprising development and investment projects in Singapore, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Myanmar, Australia, Japan and Vietnam. Some of its notable developments in Singapore include Oxley Tower, Oxley Bizhub and Oxley Edge.
The EdgeProp cites Oxley Holdings as having S$2 billion worth of land last year including en bloc site. This makes it one of the biggest landbanks held by a property developer in Singapore. Despite the recent cooling measures, Oxley Holdings is going ahead to launch at breakneck speed this year with a total of 3,000 units already launched during the first six months of the year. And another 900 units underway.
Not only is Oxley Holdings rich in landbanks, it is also financially strong. For 2018, so far, Oxley Holdings has sold a total of 948 units and delivered $1 billion in residential sales in Singapore.
#3: First SO/ Sofitel residence in the world
If you like fashion and enjoy the buzz of city life, then you are in for a real treat. The SO/ Sofitel hotel and brand is a playful mix of sophistication and the dynamic style of each locale. Highly creative and fashion-led, the SO/ Sofitel residences in KL will reflect the rich, multi-cultural tapestry that Kuala Lumpur is known for. The SO/ Sofitel tower is set to offer 210 hotel rooms and 590 residences. Designed for those who break the rules and are ahead of the curve, this is the place to see and be seen. To ensure your ultimate privacy, the hotel and residences lobbies will be separated. Did we also mention that SO/ Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Residences will feature the highest residential swimming pool in Malaysia overlooking KLCC?
#4: Get more bang on your bucks in a branded residence
The difference between staying in a branded versus a non-branded residence is as different as day and night. In keeping with its lifestyle luxury and playful theme, investors can expect only the best while living life at the top. Staying at SO/ Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Residences will mean access to a plethora of luxury services and some of the most happening parties the city has to offer.
For starters, residents will enjoy 24-hour residence concierge, bell/valet services and the Mixo Resident’s Lounge. This is where you can let your hair down with its resident DJ or take those #OOTD Instagram-worthy shots with complimentary Wifi access overlooking the famed twin towers as you sip a cocktail or two from its Resident Mixologist. It’s not all about partying though. SO/ Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Residences will also offer fitness enthusiast access to its SoFIT residence fitness centre, including personal attendant, towel service and water. To ensure you stay ahead of the curve, residents also get a press reader subscription with digital access to 2,000 plus daily newspapers and magazines. AccorHotels offers an Industry Leading Ownership Benefits Program, including top-tier status in Le Club AccorHotels Loyalty program.
#5: Good tenant pool
Buying a unit at SO/ Sofitel Kuala Lumpur is not just about all play. This is the address for those who have arrived that is within walking distance to Pavilion Bukit Bintang, Suria KLCC, KLCC Park and The Petronas Twin Towers, just to name a few. Shopping, entertainment and dining options are also aplenty ranging from the award-winning Nobu’s to your local mamak coffeeshops. For investors, this is where you can have access to some of the most sophisticated tenants at your feet. There are a high number of industries here ranging from government offices and embassies at the nearby Embassy Row to the petrochemical and MICE industries within KLCC. Take your pick.
#6: Enhanced connectivity via KLCC East MRT station
Located approximately just 200 metres away, KLCC East MRT station is part of the RM32.5 billion Sungei Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP Line) MRT project that was announced under Budget 2015. Measuring some 52.2km spanning from Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya MRT station, the SSP Line comprises 24 elevated and 11 underground stations (including KLCC East) When completed in 2022, the SSP Line is expected to generate a daily ridership of 529,000 while enhancing property values within its immediate vicinity.
Investment talk by Khalil Adis
Join Khalil Adis this weekend to find out what is in store in the Malaysian property market post GE-14.
Date: 18 & 19 August 2018
Venue: Oxley Gallery, 30 Stevens Road #02-01
*First 10 to RSVP on each day (10 copies on Saturday, 10 copies on Sunday) will each receive a copy of Khalil Adis's best-selling book 'Property Buying for Gen Y
Is it on of off? We study each station and list down the good and the bad from the possible impact of its postponement in their surrounding areas.
With recent news of the High Speed cancellation, much remains to be seen if Bandar Malaysia will succeed or not. However, Bandar Malaysia North MRT station’s alignment has already been confirmed. Initially, Bandar Malaysia has been planned with a gross development value (GDV) of RM150 billion with a dedicated commercial district to support new start-ups as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In addition, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has said 30, 000 units of homes will be delivered housing some 120, 000 residents within Bandar Malaysia. Whether or not this will go ahead, remains unclear. The only glimmer of hope here is the Digital Free Trade Zone by Jack Ma which so far has not been canned by the new government.
The Bangi-Putrajaya HSR station is located in the south of Klang Valley and within the state of Selangor at Kampung Abu Bakar Bagindar. Putrajaya is the Federal Administrative hub of Malaysia. Major townships include Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and Bangi. There is a proposed connection to the Putrajaya Monorail that will connect this station to Putrajaya Sentral which will serve as an interchange station to the MRT station and the Putrajaya Sentral Express Rail Linl (ERL). The latter links you to KLIA and KLIA2.
The Seremban HSR station is located within the Malaysia Vision Valley area within the state of Negeri Sembilan. Sited within the Labu and Kirby estates, major townships in the vicinity include Bandar Enstek, Bandar Ainsdale Property and S2 Height. Seremban will be an interchange station to the Seremban Komuter Line and KTM Electric Train Service .
The Melaka HSR station is located in Ayer Keroh within the state of Melaka. Melaka is a hub for tourism and medical tourism. Major townships in the vicinity include Taman Tasik Utama, Kampung Baru Ayer Keroh and Taman Melaka Perdana. Many Indonesians and Singaporeans flock to hospitals such as Mahkota Medical Centre for medical treatment.
The Muar HSR station is located within the state of Johor at Bandar University Pagoh. Muar is a coastal town by the Straits of Melaka that is a hub for furniture manufacturing. Major townships in the vicinity Pagoh, Parit Jawa and Sungai Balang. The main economic drivers here are those in the education, trading, furniture manufacturing, historical tourism and agrotourism industries.
The Batu Pahat HSR station is located within the state of Johor at Pura Kencana, Seri Gading. Batu Pahat is a hub for garment and textile factories. Major townships in the vicinity include include Rengit, Yong Peng and Semerah. The main economic drivers here are those in the the furniture manufacturing, food processing and agrotourism. However, isnce 20011, there has been a notable growth in small and medium industries such as textiles, garments and electronics.
The Iskandar Puteri HSR station is located within Gerbang Nusajaya in the state of Johor It is the gateway to Iskandar Malaysia and covers an area of 1,841-hectare. Gerbang Nusajaya features a number of catalytic developments including Nusajaya Tech Park and FASTrack Iskandar. Major townships in the vicinity include Gerbang Nusajaya, Iskandar Puteri and Medini. This will be the final leg of the Malaysian station before it enters Singapore, terminating at Jurong East. While the station in Nusajaya has not yet been announced, government officials have indicated that it will be located close to Motorsports City near East Ledang.
The Jurong East HSR station is located within the Jurong Lake District in Singapore. It is the gateway to Singapore and covers an area of 67-hectare. Jurong Lake District is the hub for commerce, retail, healthcare and tourism industries. Major townships in the vicinity include Jurong East, Teban Gardens, Lakeside and Taman Jurong. Jurong East will be an interchange station to the North South MRT Line, East West MRT Line and the proposed Jurong Region MRT Line.
Also known as MRT Line 3, this is the final line that will comprise of a “wheel and spoke” system to connect to MRT Line 1 and SSP. Line 3 is expected to be completed in 2025. Collectively, all three lines will be integrated with the current trains systems forming the Klang Valley Integrated Train System. However, this project has been postponed by the new federal government when it took power in May 2018 owing to budget cuts.
The impact for this postponement will be marginal as this MRT Line will still need to be constructed to connect the SBK Line and SSP Line.
We will most likely see speculators staying away from the market.
This presents good opportunity for genuine homebuyers to start looking in and around the station.
Homes in the secondary market will be the most ideal as they are priced cheaper than new launches.
Navigating the Malaysian property market can be daunting affair, especially for those just starting out. We list 8 property trends that every investor should watch out for in 2017.
By Khalil Adis
The property market outlook for next year is daunting with a general slowdown expected across all the property markets. From residential to commercial, experts at the recently concluded PropertyGuru 2017 Property Outlook Forum echoed similar sentiment.
“Based on the combined data from the PropertyGuru Property Price Index and official statistics, 2017 is expected to be another slow year for the property market. With the completion of many new developments flooding the market in 2017, there is likely to be a drop in selling price due to the lack of demand; and some may be motivated to move their units quickly due to their lack of holding power,” said Sheldon Fernandez, country manager of PropertyGuru Malaysia.
Indeed, the property market in Malaysia faces various challenges such as loan rejection by banks, rising costs of living and high unemployment rate among fresh graduates due mainly to their lack of proficiency in the English language.
In the first case, the loan rejections rate in Malaysia stands at around 40 per cent arising mainly due to non-payment of PTPTN (the National Higher Education Fund Corporation) and credit card loans.
In the second case, cost of basic good and necessities in Malaysia have gone up.
Data from the Statistics Department showed that the country’s consumer price index increased 1.4 per cent in October year-on-year.
This is slightly slower than the previous month's pace.
Government data also showed that there were increase in prices for food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, tobacco and housing.
Finally, according to the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), unemployment among fresh graduates as of February 2016 stands at around 200, 000.
This does not include those who have just completed their diplomas, certificate programmes and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).
Collectively, these factors have had a huge impact on the property sector.
Despite the bleak outlook, not all is gloom and doom in the Malaysian property market.
In fact, there are still pocket of opportunities to be sought after by savvy investors.
Here, we list down our top ten property trends to watch out for in 2017.
Trend 1: Below market value homes
One man’s loss is another man’s gain.
With the sluggish economy, rising cost of living and tighter bank guidelines, home repossessions are on the rise.
While there is no official data avialable, agents specialising in below market value (BMV) properties are enjoying brisk business as the supply of such homes come on stream.
This presents a very good buying opportunity for the cash rich buyers as below market value homes come under the hammer.
BMV properties are typically those in the low-cost and medium cost segments
From an investment point of view, buying such properties makes sense as you can buy multiple of distressed assets equivalent to buying one from the primary or resale market.
Due to the lower acquisition costs, your rental yield is higher which ensures you can cover your mortgage (if you are taking a loan) or positive cash flow if you are buying it in cash.
However, due diligence is important so hire a good solicitor and agent to help you buy BMV properties.
Be prepared to cough up extra monies for unpaid maintenance fees, utility bills and quit rent (cukai pintu)
Trend 2: Transit oriented development
I had covered this extensively from my recent article on Propwall.
For more information, please click here
Trend 3: Hotel suites
The shringgit (shrinking ringgit), as what my Malaysian friends call it, does not necessarily spell bad new for the Malaysian economy.
In fact, the falling ringgit has helped to boost tourism arrivals and spendings, especially from my fellow countrymen in Singapore.
One product you may want to look into is hotel suites.
Good markets to focus on include Melaka, Iskandar Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
Make sure the hotel suites have a proper management arm and are located close to places of attractions and shopping centres.
Trend 4: Retail units
Retail units are closely intertwined with the shringgit and hotel suites as tourists flock to Malaysia as the get more bang for their bucks.
When investing in retail units, make sure you go for reputable developers with a property management arm.
The best development to go for are mixed-use development comprising residences, hotels and retail.
This ensures maximum human traffic patronising your stores.
Again, the good markets to focus on are similar to the one I mentioned above under hotel suites.
Trend 5: Smart and connected liveable townships
Malaysian Gen Ys are a discerning lot and they demand a lot more than just a roof over their heads.
As such, smart and connected (and by that, we mean Wifi) liveable townships are the way to go.
Developers also need to come up with more creative ways to differentiate and add value to their developments by creating a vibrant community.
For example, in 2014, UMLand’s Taman Seri Austin became the first urban community to be selected for the Smart and HealthyCity and Community Programme by Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).
Taman Seri Austin features cycling lanes, pedestrian pathways, and two recreation parks.
Another example is Albury @ Mahkota Hills which features Gen Y friendly facilities like a gym, clubhouse and park connectors.
The development recently hosted a wedding over the weekend at its clubhouse which creates a sense of belonging and camaraderie among its residents.
Trend 6: Short term stays
Airbnb and student accommodations are in demand due to the shringgit and lack of suitable hostels respectively.
When looking at Airbnb, the ideal size would be at least 500 sq ft with a myriad of facilities like cooking, washing machines, microwave oven and so on.
For this concept to work, your property must be located close to tourism attractions like Bukit Bintang, Georgetown and JB Sentral.
One Singaporean friend of mine earns RM10, 000 a month just by renting out his loft unit located within 8 minutes walk from Bukit Bintang MRT station.
Do bear in mind thought that not all management committee in condominiums approve of such short-stay rentals.
Trend 7: Flexible work spaces
Malaysian Gen Ys are an entrepreneurial lot.
Thanks to government mooted agencies like Cradle Fund and Magix, the start-up culture here is alive and kicking.
Some of the most notable Malaysian start-ups include Kaodim and iFlix.
With this trend in mind, flexible work spaces have become ubiquitous.
Generally referred to as “hot-desking”, this trend is especially suited for those just starting out, are cash-sensitive and require computer access with printing and scanning facilities.
In Singapore, hot-desking has become such a brisk business.
If you have a spare office space, why not convert some of your area for hot-desking activities and help fellow entrepreneurs?
You can rent it to on a monthly basis on a per head basis.
Trend 8: Resale homes
If you need a home urgently, a resale unit is the way to go as they are priced significantly cheaper, at around 30 per cent lower, compared than new launches.
This is due to the massive supply in the market that has contributed to a glut in the market, resulting in softening property prices.
This has made it a buyers market.
Be prepared though to have extra cash in hand as you will need to pay a deposit, legals fees and other costs.
The great thing is this - sellers are more willing to negotiate with you.
As such, if you have difficulties in your 10 per cent deposit, you can negotiate your payment terms with the landlord.
Here’s wishing you a prosperous 2017 ahead!
An independent analysis from yours truly