Property Talk: A weekly column by S.C. Cheah
NEW highways have revealed many “hidden gems” in property developments.
Old developments that were overlooked because of their “not so prime” locations suddenly become “hot”, thanks to the completion of new highways.
These older properties may become more attractive either because their prices are much lower than the newer houses or because they are in a better part of a township with direct access to the new highways. Old houses in prime locations may get a boost in value when a new highway eases traffic congestion in the area. The reverse can also be true, of course, especially when popular highway nodes experienced over-building.
The completion of the New Pantai Highway has given developments around Jalan Klang Lama a new lease of life. In the past, many motorists dread travelling along this road because of its traffic jams, but not anymore. The building of an elevated highway over part of Jalan Kelang Lama has erased the stigma.
Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) president Khatijah Abdullah said some of the older houses in areas like Taman Desa off Jalan Kelang Lama had become “gems” following the upgrading of Jalan Kelang Lama, which has eliminated traffic jams that plagued the area for almost two decades.
“Today, driving along Jalan Kelang Lama is a breeze. It is one of the widest roads in the city. However, property prices have yet to gain from all these road improvements. It is a matter of time before they do,” she said, adding that house buyers should consider buying older houses and refurbish them, as they were cheaper than the new houses in the area.
She said 2½-storey link houses launched in Taman Desa towards the last quarter of 2004 were priced around RM750,000 each compared with older two-storey links in Taman Desa that sold for about RM500,00. A double-storey link house in nearby Taman Overseas Union Garden fetches about RM310,000 to RM330,000 while new launches in the area cost no less than RM400,000.
Some of the better residential developments in Semenyih and Kajang are also poised to reap the benefits from the opening of the Kajang Ring Road and Kajang Bypass last year. In this respect, Taman Tasik Semenyih, with its stylish Semenyih Lake Country Club and scenic lake, is a “hidden gem” as it is just off the Kajang Bypass. The affordable house prices there as well as green and relaxing environment is conducive for bringing up a family or as a place to retire.
Bandar Tasik Semenyih Sdn Bhd managing director Lim Yan Pok is confident of Taman Tasik Semenyih's potential. “The Kajang Ring Road and Kajang Bypass should spur demand for properties in Kajang and Semenyih in the long run as they have reduced travelling times. We also foresee more rapid developments as Kajang and Semenyih become a natural extension of Cheras,” he said.
He said almost half of the 66 available units of 18ft by 65ft two-storey terraced houses in Taman Tasik Semenyih had been sold. These units, with a 1,409-sq-ft built-up area, are priced from only RM115,000 (non-bumiputra price).
“We are planning to launch the sale of semi-detached houses in about six months. By then, with the near completion of the Nottingham University Malaysian campus that is just next to Taman Tasik Semenyih, we anticipate better interest in our properties.”
Lim has another project called Seri Damai that is beside the Kajang Bypass. The nice design and quality finishes of the Seri Damai houses, coupled with the better accessibility because of the Kajang Bypass and Kajang Ring Road, would increase their attractiveness.
Lim said Seri Damai had done “fairly well” although sales had not been fast, as the market there was more matured and there was less speculation, which is healthy in the long run.
“Almost all our buyers are owner-occupiers. Of a total of 136 units, about 15 units are still unsold. However, when we consider the very good demand for our bungalows and super-link terrace, there seems to be a potential for fair capital appreciation.”
He said the prices of older units should generally be slightly lower as otherwise the buyers might as well buy a new unit since there might be more renovation costs for the older units. “Generally the newer projects will also have a better overall environment with better landscape and designs,” he added.
Meanwhile, the new Penchala Link has enhanced the prominence of developments like Damansara Perdana that is located at one end of this link. Residents from Damansara Perdana can travel along the Penchala Link to go to Kuala Lumpur more easily without having to pass through Damansara Jaya where traffic can be quite heavy.
The Kerinchi Link is another important linkage that has enabled motorists travelling along the Federal Highway to cut through heavily populated areas into Mont' Kiara and Sri Hartamas and connects to the North-South Expressway. MIEA's Khatijah said prices had been growing steadily in popular areas like Desa Sri Hartamas, Bangsar Baru and SS2. “The current market price of shops in Desa Sri Hartamas is hovering around RM3mil while those in nearby Bangsar Baru fetch RM4.4mil. In Petaling Jaya, shops in popular areas like SS2 command a respectable RM2.8mil,” she said.
One of the most important highways in the Klang Valley is the Kuala Lumpur-Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas) as it connects to other highways such as the Middle Ring Road 2 and KL-Seremban Highway. Over the past few years, new townships like Kota Kemuning, Kemuning Utama, Bukit Rimau, Ambang Botanic, Bandar Botanic, Bandar Puteri Klang, Glenmarie Cove and Bandar Bukit Tinggi have come up beside Kesas.
As the Kesas highway leads to Pulau Indah, the future prospects of this port island look good as it is served by an excellent infrastructure; although in the near term, the place seems to be rather quiet with many vacant factories, shops and apartments. Pulau Indah, I believe, is another “hidden gem” waiting to be discovered.
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