Perception is reality


  • Business
  • Saturday, 22 Mar 2003

IS it fair to compare Ukay Heights and Taman TAR with the likes of Damansara Heights? 

Reapfield Sdn Bhd research manager Sharifah Raudhah did: to make a point. And that is if it were not for the two tragedies, the hillside developments would have seen better growth.  

“The catch-up rate may not be that phenomenal as Damansara Heights but there would have been some movements,” she says. 

Henry Buther Lim & Long Sdn Bhd’s president Lim Eng Chong says there is nothing fair or unfair about the comparison. 

“We talk and read about celebrities and film stars. Do we live like them? The comparison is made to create a point of interest, but Damansara Heights does not provide the real proof of the economic strength of the property market. One will have to go where the masses are. 

“Having said that, the comparison is interesting. The profiles of the people who make up the community are not the same. Damansara Heights is not flat. The lack of growth in the Ulu Kelang has nothing to do with the two tragedies that took place. They are minor incidents. 

“It has more to do with today’s economic environment, not the physical one. Look at the underlying fundamentals of both areas. Damansara Heights' infrastructures are better maintained. The roads are wider. The people who live there are a league above.” 

Lim, who has been staying in Dataran Ukay since 1984, says Ukay Heights is very old. 

Further north, there is Taman Melawati that is of a lower income group. Over in Damansara Heights, there is Bangsar and Kenny Hills. Both have a community far different from Taman Melawati. 

“The growth in Damansara Heights has to do with the whole environment while the perceived lack of growth in the Ampang and Ulu Kelang residential market has nothing to do with the two tragedies,” says Lim. 

As for Hillview specifically, there is just a negative feel about the place. Perception and psychological factors affect the market. Besides, Hillview is a low laying area and the memory of the tragedies run strong, Lim says. 

But there are some positive things going for the Ulu Kelang/Ampang area. There is more development now. And the infrastructures are better than before. 

“People moved out of the place in the mid-1990s to Bangsar. (The Highland Towers tragedy occurred in 1993). Over the last year, a lot of new rich are moving back to Ukay Heights. But for those who have left, it would be difficult to bring them back,” says Lim. 

“Nevertheless, interest in the area has returned and the value went up tremendously over the last decade. But this recent incident (in November) jolted their memory. But it seems to be isolated. Maybe the last four months is too short a period to actually see the implications. The effect may be there, but it would be minimal,” Lim says. 

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