Property Talk: A weekly column by S.C. Cheah
WHAT'S brewing in Port Dickson? For the regular visitors nothing much seems to have changed, at least in terms of outings in the evening.
Many people will agree with me that when the sun sets, visitors are mainly confined to their hotels or apartments. If there is a company function, there may be a barbecue party by the hotel's poolside.
One may drop by at the night market. Other than that you really do not know what to do at night.
However, it is this very “dull” environment that has its appeal as a potential place to spend your retirement and, for foreigners, a good place to buy your “second home” in Malaysia.
This is because Port Dickson or PD is 45 minutes’ drive from KL International Airport in Sepang and is quite near the A' Famosa Resort in Malacca where there are a host of recreational and entertainment facilities for holiday-makers.
There are many good hotels and serviced apartments where one can spend a very affordable weekend in PD.
These include the five-star Guoman Port Dickson Resort (with its own golf course), Regency Hotel, Bayu Beach Resort, Corus Paradise Resort and the Avillion Village Resort.
It is so near and accessible to Kuala Lumpur that a visitor from KL need not even spend a night in PD as the journey takes a mere 90 minutes or so. A proposed highway is said to come right to Pasir Panjang.
Just prior to the mid-1997 economic slowdown, many condominiums and apartments were built along PD's long shoreline, but many ended up as vacant and unsold units. Some projects remain uncompleted and abandoned.
One of them is the proposed Mutiara Beach Holiday Suites (next to the Ming Court Hotel).
Better times are ahead for PD as the population in the area increases with the onstream of projects like Bandar Springhill in nearby Lukut.
Is it worth investing in properties in PD? If you plan to retire in PD, it may be a good time to grab a cheap old bungalow or an apartment that is selling at below developer’s price.
During a recent visit to PD, I found that some of the single- and double-storey bungalows in Pantai Dickson selling at way below the original developer's price.
This freehold project by the beach (near Guoman) was developed in the 1980s, but for years many of the houses remained vacant and fell into disrepair and were badly vandalised. Just as there are many dilapidated houses, there are also houses that have been nicely renovated.
A fully furnished double-storey bungalow with 5,400 sq ft land is being offered for a mere RM130,000, a big drop from its original price of about RM195,000 to RM210,000. The house with four bedrooms upstairs is in fairly good condition.
Another two-storey bungalow, also on 5,400 sq ft land, but nicely renovated and extended is going for RM160,000.
Several of the bungalows have been turned into holiday resorts for bank staff. A two-storey bungalow on 5,597 sq ft land in PD Villa with club facilities and 24-hour security is asking for only RM230,000.
What PD lacks is something exciting like a major theme park or attractions to liven up the place. A proposed water theme park here has not taken off.
However, there is a new happening place = the Tiara Beach Resort that boasts Malaysia's biggest and one-of-its-kind five-acre water park paradise.
It also has Malaysia's first man-made beachfront freehold apartments that were initially sold from RM54,270 (bumiputra) to RM60,000 (non-bumiputra) for the one-bedroom unit and RM76,140 (bumiputra) to RM84,600 (non-bumiputra) for the two-bedroom unit.
It comes with leaseback guaranteed return of 8% for two years. Owners can also enjoy 10 days of free stay per year if they choose the leaseback programme.
This deluxe resort at the 13th mile Jalan Pantai Pasir Panjang boasts the largest ballroom in PD with a 1,500 seating capacity for banquet and 11 function rooms.
Its attractive beachfront features include children’s snorkelling, sand casting area, waterfall with slides, spa pools, cultural stage and beach volleyball court.
The resort has 980 units of well-furnished apartment suites. There are 640 units of one-bedroom deluxe apartments with 500 sq ft size and 340 units of 700 sq ft premier two-bedroom apartments.
The resort’s general manager Kelvin Chong said 98% of the apartments in seven five-storey blocks (with lifts) were under the leaseback programme.
“Since our soft opening on Jan 29 this year, we have received quite good response. We catered to 7,000 pax during the week-long school holidays when our promotional rates were RM188 nett inclusive of two breakfasts and two dinners. This opening rate ended on March 31,” he said.
Opposite it is Malaysia’s largest integrated resort development, the Palm Spring Resorts City by Tanco Group.
Developed in the early 1990s, this 500-acre resort has an 18-hole golf course, club village, caravan park, riverine villas and convention hall with a seating capacity of 2,000.
Nearly 10,000 units of properties have been approved for this resort. To date, 570 units of 3½-storey townhouses and 180 units of condotel have been built.
Tanco will be launching 800 resort suites there this year. It has been several years since Tanco launched anything in Palm Spring and the coming launch will be the forerunner of better things to come.
Tanco managing director Datuk Tony Tan Jing Nam feels the market is ready for smaller condominium units.
He said there were plans to offer buyers of the suites a guaranteed rental return where they could enjoy a few days' stay at these suites in a year.
“We can also rent out the units to those who come to use our convention facilities,” Tan said, adding that PD had a lot of potential as a tourist destination in view of its proximity to KLIA.
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