Bukit Mertajam hub of the north

By David Tan in Bukit Mertajam

BUKIT Mertajam town is now experiencing the development of new landed residential cum commercial property schemes in its south-eastern, eastern, and western zones, according to local property valuers and consultants.  

The development of the township started off in the southern part of the town in the late 1970s, gradually stretching out to the parts mentioned above in the 1990s.  

The well-known landed residential schemes of Bukit Mertajam developed in the late 1970s and 1980s – such as the Kota Permai housing estate, Taman Seri Rambai, and Desa Damai – comprised mainly low- and medium-cost houses.  

Rahim & Co Chartered Surveyors (Penang) Sdn Bhd managing director Tay Lai Hee said the successful transformation of Bukit Mertajam into a commercial and residential hub of the north was due to the transportation services the town provided.  

“In the 1970s and 1980s, all the goods coming from Thailand and Port Swettenham Pier on the island had to be repackaged for redistribution in Bukit Mertajam. This brought a lot of commercial activities, stimulating the demand for landed commercial and residential properties,” he said.  

Tay said that even with the emergence of rival transportation centres in the northern region, Bukit Mertajam was still active as a transportation service hub. “The emergence and growth of industrial estates in Bukit Minyak, Bukit Tengah, and Prai industrial estate ensure that property prices in Bukit Mertajam remain stable,” he added.  

The BM Business Park in Bukit Mertajam

According to VPC Alliance (Pg) Sdn Bhd director Kelvin Tan Keat Lim, in the early 1990s developers began to develop in south-east, east, and west Bukit Mertajam, as they began to realise that the southern parts were prone to flooding due to being in the lowland areas (facing floods from Sungai Rambai).  

Intra Harta Consultants (North) Sdn Bhd manager Peh Seng Yee said the movement to develop in the south-eastern, eastern, and western parts of Bukit Mertajam was also due to the availability of bigger and cheaper parcels of land, which enabled the development of better planned and designed property schemes.  

“From early to mid-90s, developers began focusing on Alma, Permatang Tinggi, and Bukit Minyak to develop landed residential, shop office and light industrial schemes.  

“The residential properties comprise mainly single- and double-storey terraced houses in the low-cost category with built-up areas from 650 sq ft onwards and medium-cost double-storey terraces with built-up areas from 1,200sq ft.  

“The light industrial schemes comprise purpose-built standard factories which are mainly 1½ storey terraced type,” he said.  

According to Peh, from the mid to end-90s, developers also launched landed residential and commercial projects in Machang Bubok and Simpang Ampat.  

“The types of landed residential properties launched were medium-cost, comprising single-storey terraced houses with built-up areas from 700 sq ft onwards, and double-storey terraced houses with built-up from 1,400 sq ft onwards. The double-storey shophouses have built-up areas of over 2,000 sq ft,” he added.  

According to Tan, there are now fewer launches of commercial properties in Bukit Mertajam due to an overhang in supply.  

Peh Seng Yee

“The development of commercial properties is concentrated on certain areas such as Taman Seri Limau, the BM Business Park at Jalan Rozhan, and Bandar Perda,” he said.  

Peh said that since the late 90s, there was a trend in which developers built bigger terraced houses with better finishes and a higher proportion of semi-detached and detached houses to cater to the increasing demand of the market.  

Both Tan and Peh agree that the landed residential properties in Bukit Mertajam have been appreciating between 3% and 5% annually, depending on several factors such as the location, size, type and specifications of the properties.  

Some of the major landed residential schemes launched in south-east, east, and west Bukit Mertajam from the second half of 1990s onwards are Bandar Perda by Aseania Development Sdn Bhd, Desa Palma by the Belleview group, and Seri Bukit Indah by Techware Enterprise Sdn Bhd.  

The Bandar Perda project, comprising 4,152 units of various types of landed and high-rise residential and commercial properties, was launched in 1995 and to date, the developer has sold over 80%. 

The almost completed building of Seberang Prai Municipal Council in Bandar Perda, Bukit Mertajam.

The Desa Palma landed residential scheme, comprising 382 units of double-storey terraced and semi-detached houses, was launched in 1998. The selling price of the terraced houses was RM180,000 while that of the other type was RM290,000.  

The Seri Bukit Indah housing scheme, launched in 2001, comprises 191 units of landed residential properties such as bungalows, double-storey semi-detached houses, and double-storey terraced houses.  

“We have sold over 90% of the properties to the locals who want to upgrade their lifestyle and those who buy them for investment. The selling points of Seri Bukit Indah are its design and location on higher grounds, which ensure that it is free from flood problems,” said Techware Enterprise sales and marketing manager K.C. Chin. 

He added that the company was looking for land in Bukit Mertajam for landed residential properties. 

Related Stories:Aseania, Belleview planning new residential launches 

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