CREST BUILDER HOLDINGS BHD’S ERIC YONG RIDES THE CREST OF SUCCESS AREA FOCUS
KOTA DAMANSARA: DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH MAIN FEATURE
WOMEN OVERCOMING THE GLASS CEILING IN REAL ESTATE
GREENERY WITHIN THE CITY
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NO. Lesen Pemajuan Perumahan: 14153-1/11/2017/ (0934(L) | No Permit Iklan dan Jualan: 14153-1/11/2017/0984(P) | Tempoh Sah: 05/11/2015-04/11/2017 | Tarikh Dijangka Siap: Mei 2019 | Hak Milik Tanah: Pegangan Bebas | Gadaian Tanah: Tiada | Pelan Bangunan Diluluskan Oleh: Majlis Perbandaran Sepang | No. Rujukan Pelan Bangunan: MP Sepang 600-34/2/71(12) | Jumlah Unit dan Harga: Pangsapuri (1,168 Unit) MIN: RM395,460.00 MAKS: RM958,247.00
elcome to our newly revamped July 2017 issue. It has been a hectic June which saw the team at Property Insight celebrate yet another iconic Property Insight Prestigious Developer Awards (PIPDA) 2017. This was followed by the Malaysian Entrepreneur Convention (MEC) 2017 that took off and ended on a successful note. Along with the challenges, hard work and triumphs along the way, the team decided it was time to revamp the look of the magazine, although our commitment and dedication remain the same as ever which resonates with our tagline, “Your guide to property investment”. In this issue, you will find revamped sections and content dedicated to the various aspects of property investment that are informative, incisive and which we hope, will cater to the investor in you. The articles will also benefit first-time homebuyers as Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and industry experts generously share handy tips and the pitfalls to avoid along the way based on their respective experiences. Indeed, many will testify that there is nothing like experience to point others in the right direction. In learning from other successful investors’ experiences, the learning process is cut short. Ultimately, the readers are the ones who stand to benefit
by avoiding common mistakes or hidden and lesser known pitfalls when it comes to the subject of purchasing properties. In this issue, we’ve also introduced new sections such as Property Nuggets and Investment Talk for bite-size news on the go. In addition, the monthly Area Focus also takes on a refreshed look as we zoom into the township of Kota Damansara in Selangor. The team went about to find out what makes Kota Damansara a jewel in the rough. As part of the revamped exercise for the magazine, the team embarked on its first hearty food trail to discover the hidden eatery gems that make this neighbourhood unique and all the more appetising! This will be an ongoing feature that will accompany each area focus the team undertakes. After all, we can vouch that Malaysians love their food. And, as the honey pot theory goes, where good food is, there the crowds will gather. Real estate is not much different - as where the people congregate, property values are bound to appreciate, given the demand springing from the viability of the location. Till next month, happy reading! Dato’ KK Chua Editor-in-Chief
Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait”
2 I July 2017
- Robert G. Allen
ove him or loathe him, US President Donald Trump has managed to amass an impressive feat of expanding his empire based on the acquisition of real estate. His dynamic portfolio of properties range from mixed-use developments, classy hotels to commercial and residential buildings. Real estate in this context can be a barometre of success, commanding status and is a vehicle for wealth creation, when handled well. And, whether you love property or not, closer to home, our featured personalities in this revamped July issue share why it is better to love property investment. In this revamped issue, Property Insight interviewed D’ Herbs Healthy Sdn Bhd Founder Dato’ Aliff Syukri Kamarzaman (pg 44 - pg 46) who not only hit the fame list with his invention of the first collagen lipstick in Malaysia, but has also amassed many properties. Datin Winnie Loo too shares her property journey into real estate while keeping her properties spick and span, and may we say sassy too! Where she once drove secondhand cars, this determined lady managed to accumulate six properties by the age of 28. Read why she’s “A Cut Above in Property Investment” (pg 24 - pg 26). While on the subject of women, we explore the subject of the fairer gender’s challenges at the workplace (pg 20 - pg 22) and get their viewpoints if there’s a glass ceiling to overcome. Making it to our cover this July is Crest Builder Holdings Bhd Group Managing Director Eric Yong (pg 12 - pg 19) who has taken over his late father’s company since two years ago. At 34, he is one of the country’s youngest managing directors of a publicly traded company who has been groomed to take over the family business since he was young. Read about his penchant for fast cars and property. He regales how his dad drove his mom to the hospital in a Mercedes Sports to deliver him and then drove Eric back after the delivery in a Porsche! Who says there’s ever a dull moment concerning the people in real estate! The Developer of the Month is none other than Marimo Land Sdn Bhd whose Founder John Taro hails all the way from Japan. Married to a local, and having resided in Malaysia for 13 years, his love for Malaysia sees him unveiling his maiden development called O’hako in Puchong Jaya, Selangor. Read about “A Yen for Practical Designs” from pg 30 - pg 34. Till we meet again in our August double celebration bumper issue! Yvonne Yoong
EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Dato’ KK Chua email@example.com Editor Yvonne Yoong firstname.lastname@example.org Writers Mages PV Lingam Felicia Soon Calvin Tung CREATIVE Creative Director Sarah Tan email@example.com Designer Megat Khuzamir BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Sales marketing enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org +6012 3788 683
Armani Media Sdn Bhd (1032085-H) No. 32-3, Jalan Pekaka 8/4 Seksyen 8, Kota Damansara 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Tel: +603 6156 3366 Fax: +603 6156 3399 PRINTER
Percetakan Osacar Sdn Bhd Lot 37659, No. 11, Jalan 4/37A Taman Bukit Maluri Industrial Area Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
It’s tangible, it’s solid, it’s beautiful. It’s artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate”
- Donald Trump
ON THE COVER
www.youtube.com/Property Insight Malaysia
Property Insight Malaysia
Although every reasonable care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, neither the publisher, editors, writers nor employees or agents can be held liable for any errors, inaccuracies and/or omissions. The contents of this publication do not constitute investment advice. It is intended only to inform and illustrate. No reader should act on any information contained in this publication without first seeking appropriate professional advice that takes into account their personal circumstances. We shall not be responsible for any loss or damage, whether directly or indirectly, incidentally or consequently arising from or in connection with the contents of this publication and shall not accept any liability in relation thereto. The views by our contributors expressed here are their personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect Property Insight’s views. The publisher does not endorse any company, organisation, person, investment strategy or technique mentioned in this publication unless expressedly stated otherwise. The publisher does not endorse any advertisements or special advertising features in this publication, nor does the publisher endorse any advertiser(s) or their products/services unless expressedly stated to the contrary. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, including photocopying and imaging without the prior written permission of the publisher.
4 I July 2017
Group Managing Director, Crest Builder Holdings Bhd
PERSONALITY OF THE MONTH
44 I From Zero To Property Hero
A highly self-motivated drive to succeed in life has resulted in D’Herbs Healthy Sdn Bhd Founder Dato’ Aliff Syukri Kamarzaman’s successful acquisition of a portfolio of properties FEATURE
47 I How To Identify Good Deals Like A Seasoned Veteran
48 I Advice For First-Time Investors 12 COVER STORY
12 I Building Its Treasure Chest
Crest Builder Holdings Bhd Group Managing Director Eric Yong is a chip off the old block when it comes to commitment, initiative and responsibility although he practices a flexible, open system MAIN FEATURE
20 I Women Overcoming The Glass Ceiling In Real Estate Here’s what some women in the property line have to say CELEBRITY CORNER
24 I A Cut Above In Property Investment
50 I Learn How To Sell Your Property The Faster Way HOME +
52 I Alpha Automation (Selangor) Sdn Bhd: The Global Specialist In Power Switches ROOKIE INVESTOR
56 I A Guide To Investing Outside A Nine To Five Job
A navy instructor shares his journey into property investment ENTREPRENEUR INSIGHT
58 I Tapping Into The Fashion Forward Digital Age This young entrepreneur has found her business niche in design by leveraging on a digital platform INVESTOR NEXT DOOR
Datin Winnie Loo who has made a name for herself in the hairdressing industry, counts herself fortunate to have amassed a string of successfully acquired and managed properties
60 I Good Planning Yields Profit In Property Investment
28 I Knight Frank Asia-Pacific Residential Review
62 I Legacy Of Luxury Continues In Real Estate
DEVELOPER OF THE MONTH
30 I A Yen For Practical And Functional Designs
Japanese-born John Taro, having resided in Malaysia for the past 13 years, unveils his maiden development project named O’hako @ Puchong Jaya, Selangor AREA FOCUS
36 I Kota Damansara: Diamond In The Rough
Jenson Liew shares on the fundamentals of making smart property buys
Renowned auction house Sotheby’s recently established its Singapore realty office targeted at promoting bespoke international properties globally INVESTMENT TALK
64 I CBRE Research Asia Pacific Investor Intentions Survey 2017
This emerging township has grown to become one of the better connected areas in Kuala Lumpur served by three major highways
66 I Who Moved Our Cheese?
42 I Area Focus Food Trail
68 I To Buy Or Rent?
Four food gem discoveries in Kota Damansara
The impact of technology disruptors on real estate and everyday life
71 I Challenges And Solutions For First-Time Homebuyers
6 I July 2017
News & Events
SkyWorld Scoops Four Awards SkyWorld Development Group (SkyWorld) proved its mettle by amassing a staggering eight awards in the first two quarters of 2017. In the month of May alone, it scooped four awards. Its SkyArena @ Setapak was named the Best Sports-Oriented Integrated Development in Malaysia while the group also received the BCI Asia Top 10 Developers’ Green and Sustainable award in Malaysia. It SkyLuxe On The Park @ Bukit Jalil
was named the development with the Best Regional Landscape Architecture in Asia Pacific. Meanwhile, Bennington Residences @ SkyArena, Setapak emerged as the Best Regional Landscape Architecture project in Asia Pacific. SkyWorld COO Lee Chee Seng, shares that these awards are a testament to SkyWorld’s ongoing endeavour in delivering a good mix of projects centred around its three main strengths namely; Value Creation, Integrated Sky Living experience as well as Innovative Concepts and Design. “Winning these awards both on local and regional levels underscored our constant strive for excellence. These awards are not possible without the commitment and support by our dynamic SkyWorld team and most importantly, our valuable purchasers and business partners who have supported us,” he says.
IJM Land Honoured For Bandar Rimbayu Project
celebration at Kempinski’s 120th anniversary KSK Land Sdn Bhd, developer of 8 Conlay, recently launched the Kempinski Discovery Platinum Card for YOO8 serviced by Kempinski owners during a special appreciation night themed “Ignite the Night” at the 8 Conlay Signature Sales Gallery. YOO8 serviced by Kempinski is the branded residence component of 8 Conlay, an integrated luxury development with a gross development value around RM5.4 billion. KSK Land Managing Director Joanne Kua says each owner received one complimentary Kempinski Discovery Platinum card, extending them exclusive benefits at Kempinski hotels worldwide including a complimentary third night’s stay. Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok General Manager and Senior Vice President of Operations in South-East Asia Samir Wildemann and KSK Land Director Datuk Steven Kua were also present.
IJM Land’s Green Building Index (GBI)-certified green township emerged as World Gold Winner in the master plan category at the FIABCI World Prix d’Excellence Awards 2017 recently. The award, widely regarded as the “Oscars of the Real Estate Industry”, saw Bandar Rimbayu recognised for its excellence in real estate covering architecture and design as well as its contribution to the community. In receiving the award, IJM he is certain Bandar Rimbayu will become Land Bhd Managing Director the industry benchmark for an ecological, Edward Chong Sin Kiat says that sustainable and liveable township.
MBAM to hold Chairmanship of the 44th IFAWPCA A group of key industry players recently attended the 43rd International Federation of Asian & Western Pacific Contractors’ Associations (IFAWPCA) Convention held in Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas, Korea. Led by Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) President Mr Foo Chek Lee, the event was a success as MBAM Immediate Past President, Datuk are appointed to the post of IFAWPCA Matthew Tee and MBAM Vice President and IFAWPCA Secretary-General President, Ir. Chuan Yeong Ming respectively.
July 2017 I 7
NEWS & EVENTS
IQI Sets Up Regional Hub In KL IQI, a leading real estate and investment firm recently announced the signing of two major agreements with Exsim Group. The signing ceremony took place between IQI Group CEO Kashif Ansari and Exsim Head of Corporate Communications Michelle Siew. IQI has acquired 33,000 sq ft of office space valued at RM30 million at Millerz Square @ OKR which will represent a new landmark at Old Klang Road in Kuala Lumpur. It is being developed by Exsim Group to serve as its Asia Pacific Command Centre.
MRCA CEO Night Celebration Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) CEO Night celebrated its 10th anniversary by highlighting the achievements of Tan Sri Dato’ A.K. Nathan at E-City Hotel in Subang Jaya. Nathan, the Executive Chairman and Group Managing Director of Eversendai Corporation Bhd was honoured during the glitzy affair which brought together celebrities and VIPs across various industries. As the keynote speaker of the event, Nathan elaborated on the challenges he faced building his company from a small steel construction company into the giant
global conglomerate that it is known for today. He later addressed the crowd during a Q&A session both on stage and on the floor. He also shared the secrets of his success with the audience.
The Starling’s Grand Unveiling The Starling, dubbed “The mall in a park”, was recently launched in Damansara Uptown in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. This nature-inspired five-storey mall aspires to provide a leisure hangout for residents from around the Damansara catchment area. See Hoy Chan Sdn Berhad Group Chief Executive Officer Joe Tan says the township has undergone significant expansion in the last two years and is set to become the
8 I July 2017
“golden square” of Petaling Jaya. Also present to field questions from the media was its Executive Director Teo Chiang Khai. Since its opening five months ago, the mall has witnessed consistent increase in crowd numbers with a current footfall of approximately 30,000 daily visitors. This number is expected to increase as more of its tenants open their doors for business. The mall, with a current tenancy rate of 90% aims to achieve full occupancy by year’s end. At present, only 80% of the tenanted outlets have opened for business. In addition, the group’s newly launched serviced apartment, Somerset Damansara Uptown, and its residential condominium building, Uptown Residences, is anticipated to contribute towards the footfall of the mall.
Mah Sing’s Topping-up Event for Savanna Executive Suites The Luxe by Infinitum Launched in KL The Luxe by Infinitum is the latest joint venture development project launched by established Singaporean developer RoxyPacific Holdings Ltd and Macly Equity Sdn Bhd. Ensconced away from the hustle and bustle of the city yet located right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the project boasts KL City Centre’s premiere “shoe box concept” that also features dual-key boutique suites. The launch at the showroom gallery witnessed members of the media and the public getting a first glimpse of the project.
Mah Sing Group Bhd recently held a topping-up ceremony for the Savanna Executive Suites development in Southville City, Bangi. The event saw Group Managing Director Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Leong Hoy Kum, CEO Datuk Ho Hon Sang, Group Strategy & Operations Senior General Manager Rachel Leong, Chief COO Yap Chin Hua and Group Strategy & Operations Director Lionel Leong participating in the topping-up ceremony. The momentous ceremony was also witnessed by senior management, consultants, contractors and guests. Savanna Executive Suites is one of the few projects in the area with a direct interchange to the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Highway. The direct interchange is currently 50% completed and is on track to be ready by December this year. Once completed, Southville City is expected to truly come to life.
Googolplex & Gplex Annual Dinner and Award Night 2017
Googolplex Holdings Berhad & Gplex Realty held their annual dinner and award night on May 27 at the Renaissance Hotel, Kuala Lumpur follwing the theme “Hollywood Night”. Over 800 guests attended the event and were entertained by a live band and dance performance. A congratulatory speech was given by Group Chairman Peter Lee followed by Group CEO Christopher Liang. The night also witnessed the Top Recruiters and Top Manager Awards going to Jeff Gan while the Top Sales Award went to Michelle Chao. The evening also saw lucky drawprizes given out including two Apple iWatches and a3D/2N Laguna resort voucher worth RM2,000.
LBS Bina Group Bhd’s Post Media Briefing
LBS Bina Group Bhd Group Managing Director Tan Sri Lim Hock San; Executive Directors Dato’ Cynthia Lim and Dato’ Alan Chia were present at the recent post-AGM media briefing. Sales growth as at May 30 was estimated at RM413.4 million while unbilled sales at May 23 was valued at approximately RM1.33 billion. In all, the future Gross Development Value (GDV) for the group totals RM30.6 billion. Meanwhile, the group’s total land bank of 3,920 acres is valued at a GDV of about RM1.88 billion. LBS currently has 17 ongoing projects worth RM3.2 billion with 72% or RM2.34 billion worth of projects already sold off.
Dorsett Residences: A Pristine Address Mayland Group of Companies recently unveiled Dorsett Residences located at the premier address of Sri Hartamas, a neighbourhood known for its amenities and easy accessibility. Managing Director Datuk Kevin Woo says that Dorsett Residences, located in an attractive address, is a viable investment for discerning buyers. Guests and invited stakeholders were give a personal tour of the fully furnished studio suites.
July 2017 I 9
NEWS & EVENTS
Fostering Inclusiveness In Malaysian Cities A group of industry experts from the construction industry gathered at RUANG by Think City in the heart of Kuala Lumpur to have a dialogue concerning the topic of “Building Inclusive Communities”. This was aimed at seeking to understand current and future social, economic and community-based issues posed by the growth of cities. The forum saw panellists covering diverse questions posed by Director of Design Evolution Architects Sdn Bhd Ar. Wan Sofiah Wan Ishak who was the moderator for the event. The topic of world-class cities and the concept of inclusiveness were explored.
This is to seek opportunities to establish a sustainable, inclusive and better living environment to benefit all levels of Malaysian society. The panellists also discussed the possible implications of new economic models from the growth of Information Technology. Potential solutions were also discussed to address the current housing gap for houses priced between the RM200,000 and RM350,000 range.
Cyberjaya, a Model for Smart City Developments Cyberjaya recently celebrated its 20th year anniversary with 11 major announcements made. These included the establishment of a Research and Development (R&D) and Innovation hub as well as a regional centre for big data witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. The announcements highlighted brand new projects, investments and funds aimed at strategic collaborations to accelerate Cyberjaya’s transformation into a global technology hub. In the last 20 years, Cyberjaya has undergone major transformations from an IT Hub under the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) into a Global Tech Hub. It has become a critical contributor to Malaysia’s digital economy. The city has generated more than RM12.5 billion revenue coming from Malaysia’s MSC companies which recorded more than RM12.5 billion revenue, an increase of 28% from the previous year.
10 I July 2017
TAHPS Hosts Orphanages at Raya Do TAHPS Group Bhd (“TAHPS”) recently hosted a breaking of fast event for 30 children from Pusat Jagaan Mesra Limpahan Kasih. This was part of its “We Care” Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. Pusat Jagaan Mesra Limpahan Kasih is a welfare home that is located in B ukit Puchong, Selangor. Apart from donating RM2,000, each child received duit raya and a special gift as part of TAHPS’ Make-A-Wish initiative. TAHPS also distributed the bubur lambok to Royal Malaysia Police officers in Bukit Puchongpresent at the event. “This is a small token of appreciation for keeping our township safe and secure by remembering the contributions of PDRM,” said E ugene K hoo, CEO of TAHPS Group.
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BUILDING Crest Builder Holdings Bhd Group Managing Director Eric Yong is a chip off the old block when it comes to commitment, initiative and responsibility although he practices a ďŹ‚exible, open system BY:
An artistâ€™s impression of Latitud8 that will be situated on Dang Wangi LRT station in Kuala Lumpur
12 I July 2017
ITS TREASURE CHEST B
eing the proverbial chip off the old block, Crest Builder Holdings Bhd Group Managing Director EricYong Shang Ming has been groomed by his late father to take over the family business ever since young. At 34, the eligible bachelor epitomises one of the next-generation developers and among the country’s youngest managing directors of a publicly traded company since assuming leadership on Sept 3, 2015. He was also counted among Prestige’s Top 40 Under 40 as far back as 2009. While many would have balked at taking over such a huge leadership position at a relatively young age, Eric moved into his current role with relative ease two years ago. He credits this wholly to the foresight of his father, Crest Builder Founder Yong Soon Chow, 63, whom he says is his role model and mentor. The patriarch played no small role in having built the company from ground zero – transforming what was once a pure construction player to the formidable contractorcum-developer Crest Builder it is known as today. His father was instrumental for not only building up the company but his son as well. Even when the elder Yong was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and undergoing treatment, he had the foresight to implement succession planning as the backup plan for his son. Upon the passing of his father in 2015, all eyes were on young Eric to see if he could carry on his father’s legacy. And, the results now speak for themselves. “I have been sitting on the board with the back-up succession plan already in place. It has been two years since my dad’s passing and the property business does an average 15% - 20% profit margin yearly. We are still achieving that,” says Eric. Seated at the penthouse office which used to belong to his father, Eric cuts a youthful figure against the slightly imposing traditional backdrop behind which sits a huge ship figurine, a collectible of his dad’s. Just as he describes his father’s strict management style and influence as being more skewered towards Chinese sensibilities, Eric who graduated from City University, London in 2003 majoring in Civil Engineering, says he adopts a more flexible, open management style. Typical of a Gen Yer, he is versatile at using new gadgets and technology. However, in his case, he regularly deploys his drones to take photographs to track the development progress of his construction sites. “I love flying drones my collection of four drones over my sites. Back then, I used to fly the DJI Phantom. I’ve left behind the Phantom series and more recently, I’ve picked up the DJI MAVIC PRO,” he enthuses. July 2017 I 13
A bird’s eye view of the city skyline superimposed by an artist’s impression of Latitud8@Jalan Ampang
Eric also shares his father’s penchant for fast cars. He regales how his dad used to muse that his mother was rushed to the hospital for his delivery in a MercedesBenz Sports and after he was delivered, he was sent home in a Porsche. Eric’s last holiday with his father was when he was seventeen. This was because his father wanted to minimise the risk of both of them being on the same airplane. He rationalised that in the untoward event of it crashing, at least one of them would be able to spearhead the company. Although he admits to having a temper, for which the Hainanese are known for, he says he calms down equally fast. Having taken up diving in Redang and Tenggol, Eric loves being underwater as he can only hear the sound of bubbles and his own heartbeat while looking at the fishes. GROOMED TO LEAD Eric says he was coaxed into loving real estate by his father who gave him his first Lego set when he was five. 14 I July 2017
“Most kids would play with their bicycles but my favourite toy when young was always the building blocks of Lego. “Back then, Lego sets didn’t portray designs like Star Wars. In fact, I was lucky then to get at least four colours in the set. The suggested design on the box then showcased single-storey buildings but I would attempt to build double- or triplestorey blocks,” recalls Yong with a laugh. He remembers his father always being on the go, travelling to many construction sites during weekends. “My dad, being such a hard core worker, didn’t take much time off work. The only things we enjoyed doing together as a family were Cuti-Cuti Malaysia outings during the period of time before I graduated. “Sunday was the only day we could tour the country and drive to Alor Setar, Johor Bahru, Penang and Kuantan as he handled projects in Penang and off Ipoh. “Ipoh would be the place to stop by and then we would travel to Johor and
basically the West Coast,” he recalls identifying the UiTM Campus as one of the projects whose construction work was undertaken by his dad. Today, he continues going on local diving holidays and trying out food in Penang and Ipoh. “When we travelled together back then, dad would drive and my mom would be seated behind, taking care of my younger sister who was too young to understand, and I would be seated in front. Dad would share many things with me wherever we would go. “He would say, ‘Look at this, and look at that’, pointing out things along the highway stretch to the sites. The Chinese have a saying for this – it’s a career disease – zi ye ping - what we call ‘the professional disease’ that comes with over-thinking,” says Yong with a chuckle. He pauses and reflects at this juncture. “Typical of a 10 year old then, I admired my dad so much but sometimes, I was scared of him.”
He recalls how his father would teach him something on the first week and then test him again on the second week to see if he could recall what was taught earlier. “Since I was young, my dad has basically instilled the importance of three words to us – ‘commitment, initiative and responsibility’ which he said is needed in order to succeed. And, I have always lived by these three words,” says Eric. He jests that whatever he sets out to do, has to be done whole-heartedly. “Commitment is very important, and we are committed to bringing the company to the next level. At Crest Builder, I practice an open door policy so my employees can come to me with ideas, for advice and also to give their proposals. “This is the initiative part. Lastly, being responsible is one of the most important things. Many people tend to run away from their problems but I believe in facing problems head on. Be responsible over whatever you undertake and you’ll learn the full lessons from it,” he adds.
An artist’s impression of The Galleria, Crest Builder’s future planned project undertaken as a JV project with the Malaysian Rubber Board
Being educated in the school of hard knocks has served Eric well, right from when he first joined the company two weeks after coming home after graduation in 2003. The lessons learnt back then are not taken for granted till today. “My ultimate role model is still my late father who has shown me what it takes to take on this big role. “When I graduated and joined the company, I started off attending meetings and observed the company’s operations over the first few months. My father told me that before I discover the solution, I need to study the problem first,” he adds. Eric’s mother Koh Hua Lan, 65, and sister Yong Tiok Keng, 38, are Executive Directors of the group. Eldest sister Rachaelle Yong, 39, handles the legal, human resource and administration
while his youngest sister Annie Yong, 29, is being groomed as the next successor. MASTERING THE ROPES Eric says that the first project he was actively involved in was The Residence in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail. The project went on to win the 2006 Malaysian Construction Industry Excellence Awards (MCIEA 2016) by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB). “I learnt the process of patience and how to handle all levels of the industry – from general workers up to the client,” shares Eric. The art of being hands-on was passed from father to son. “My father believed in being handson. That is perhaps one of the key traits that I’ve picked up from him. He used July 2017 I 15
Success is a journey, not a destination” - Eric Yong, Group Managing Director
to bring me to various construction sites every weekend when I was young, and would share with me on the various machineries, building technologies and construction methods. “My father was a conservative person but he was known to take certain calculated risks in the management of the company. He was very prudent in the finances of the company, and never tried to overdo his own capabilities,” he adds. Born in the 1950s, his dad’s management style tended to be stricter and he had a tendency to micro-manage says Eric. “This is how the older generation born in the 50s and 60s manage their businesses with bosses and upper management tending to create a gap or bridge between themselves and their second liners and third liners,” he opines. OPEN MANAGEMENT SYSTEM “I believe in empowerment and delegation because if the second and third liners are 16 I July 2017
able to elevate and escalate themselves while pushing themselves up, then it’s a win-win situation for all,” he shares. PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE Eric continues to launch various branding and awareness campaigns for the group and today, Crest Builder is known as a boutique construction solutions provider specialising in high-rise commercial and residential projects. He adds that the group does not embark on much land banking, with only The Galleria in Ampang, and the Kelana Jaya privatisation project plots coming up. This is due to the company’s strategy of not overstretching itself. “Our strategy is to ensure minimal capital outflow and fast turnaround time once the authority clearance is sorted out. Most developments fail not during the launch stage but at the construction stage due to cash flow. Some developers spend so much money on the land that by the time they commence construction,
they run into financial difficulties. “On the contrary, our land acquisition method is mostly via privatisation (deals) so we spend minimally on the initial land cost and are able to manage our cash flow (better). In this time and age, end users and purchasers tend to be very picky and a lot more demanding with their property purchases,” he observes. Unfazed by this challenge, he says the group believes in delivering impeccable quality and standards to its end users. Testimony to its success are completed residential projects in Shah Alam include the completed Alam Sanjung with a gross development value (GDV) of RM328 million; Alam Idaman with a GDV of RM108 million and Alam Prima with a GDV of RM65 million. Counted in its commercial developments in Shah Alam is its Avenue Crest project launched in 2012 has with a GDV of RM162 million. Crest Builder recently launched Residensi Hijauan in Batu Tiga, Shah Alam, a couple of months back which is also known as The Greens. The project with a GDV of RM391 million has already recorded a 50% take-up rate. Eric shares that contributions from the construction sector came from the RM438.3 million mixed-use development contract clinched from Sime Darby Melawati Development Sdn Bhd and the RM198 million Anggun serviced apartments contract in Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, secured from UDA Holdings Bhd last year. The company is surging forward with its first mega project, the 1.08ha Latitud8@ Jalan Ampang in a joint venture (JV) with Prasarana Malaysia Bhd. The 42-storey mixed-use development with a GDV of RM1.25 billion will see units priced from RM1,359 psf - RM1,650 psf. In addition, Crest Builder will be embarking on another JV project with Prasarana to develop vacant land around the Kelana Jaya LRT station into a RM1 bil GDV mixed-use development that is anticipated to be launched in 2019. “We have been doing many property projects on our own and hope to do more JVs with government-linked companies, moving forward. The advantage of such JVs is that they ease our cash flow in terms of payment for the land and require smaller capital outlays,” he concludes.
CANDID TAKES WITH CREST BUILDER HOLDINGS BHD GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR ERIC YONG Please share on your latest Latitud8@ Jalan Ampang project and when it will be launched? Based on our latest numbers and current market conditions, we are targeting a soft preview launch towards the end of September, and will gear up for an official launch towards the end of the year. The project will feature a three-storey small boutique mall at the bottom, a convention business centre on level four and 16 levels of corporate offices above that. Level 21 upwards will feature 440 units of luxury residences in 21 different layouts. The units will range from 700 sq ft - 1,200 sq ft, with the penthouses comprising 2,100 sq ft duplexes. We’ve tested this concept in China and received good response. What is the latest trend in the market? The current future trend is geared towards transport-oriented developments (TODs) as the government and local authorities push for lesser parking spaces in the city due to massive congestion. Taking this into account, coupled with the growing trend of the usage of ride sharing apps such as GRAB and UBER, I foresee there will be many more developments in the city that would provide lesser car parks. Thus, Latitud8, being right on top of the light rapid transit (LRT) station, would become the most viable option. Who constitutes Latitud8’s target market and what are they looking for? Being a project that is designed to adapt to the future, we are targeting Gen Yers and the Millennials. They are the main reason why GRAB and UBER are doing so well. There are a few key factors when it comes to Latitud8, with the most obvious being connectivity. The project’s location is also a very strong factor as it carries the Jalan Ampang address. The units will be sold at a much lesser premium considering the project is situated just 100 metres from KLCC. The units will come with minimal car parks since we are promoting TOD as a concept.
Why do you foresee TOD as the emerging trend of the future and is this concept taking off from the trend of mixed-use developments prevalent in the market a couple years ago? How will these two trends affect the wave of property developments in the future? Back then, properties were commercial or commercial residential. Right now, the trend is towards TODs. With Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) already increasing car park charges in the city and continuing to toy with reducing car park requirements in new developments, TOD will be the new emerging trend. It will become the trend for the near and far future. As KL gears up to become a full-fledged metropolis, the only direction for buildings will be upwards – and you will see many more high-rise mixed developments in the city.
Land space is also getting more expensive so developers would welcome this car parking reduction requirement. The taxi industry claims they are not surviving. I think that is because most people tend to drive. They drive to the edge of the city and take a cab to commute around. I think with UBER and GRAB, TOD becomes a key factor. In Hong Kong, the typical TOD is located five minutes or 100 metres from the station but in KL, TODs tends to be 10 minutes or 200 metres away. If you observe countries around the world such as Japan and Korea, you will see that their Line 2 or Circle Line are connected ti all the key areas as well as the Central Business District (CBD). Likewise, with TODs, city dwellers in KL are able to connect to various areas amidst all these inner city travelling.
July 2017 I 17
The group’s JV with the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) to develop what will tentatively be named The Galleria spanning 1.9ha of prime land on Jalan Ampang will see the RM1.55 billion mixed-use development launched next year. The forward-looking Latitud8 TOD with its lifestyle retail podium, office spaces, Small office Home office (SoHo) and Small office Flexible Office (SoFo) units with a rooftop residence bar is anticipated to set a new precedence for the city. The group’s total GDV for launched and yet-to-be-launched projects is about approximately RM5.3 billion. Even as Crest Builder continues to balance contributions from both the company’s construction and property earnings, the key is to secure more external projects. Not bad at all for this company which started out as a contractor firm in 1985, and later expanded into the property business in 2007 following its listing in 2003, in which it took over MGR Corp Bhd. Besides hoping to monetarise its commercial developments - The Crest at 3 Two Square in Petaling Jaya, Selangor; and Tierra Crest in Kelana Jaya, Selangor - representing a combined value of RM298 mil, Eric also has other plans. “Moving forward, we are targeting to corporatise the group further. Our property portfolio and future projects are almost qualified for secondary listing. In the years to come, our completed properties could be potentially lumped into a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT),” he adds. SUCCESS IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION The journey towards his goals, it seems, has only just begun. Although everything seems to be looking peachy and falling in place, Eric continues to plan ahead. “A Chinese saying states that there will always be a higher mountain or someone who is able to do something better than you, however good you may be at something. Hence, one should never stop learning or fighting for success. “After all, success is a journey, not a destination,” he quips summing up his philosophy towards life, work and play. 18 I July 2017
Crest Builder bought over the 3 Two Square Site in 2003
FROM ZERO TO CONTRACTORCUM-DEVELOPER HERO The late Crest Builder Holdings Bhd Founder Yong Soon Chow built the family business from scratch. Having graduated in 1977 from University Malaya, he subsequently joined Jabatan Kerja Raya (JKR) in 1978. In the early 1980s, there was a big construction boom in the country springing from the 4th Malaysia Plan (RMK4). This period of time also witnessed the transfer of leadership between Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Sensing opportunities on the horizon, the elder Yong left JKR and started the Crest Builder group. True to his foresight, the early years saw many projects taking shape in the rural areas spanning bridges, roads and various other municipal projects. “Towards the mid-80s, there came a housing boom, and the group started undertaking some private sector building projects. “Then, came the late 80s, whereby there was the North-South Highway construction and he went into subcontracting as there was a shortage of building contractors,” relates Eric Yong, Group Managing Director of Crest Builder Holdings Bhd.
Despite the early rosy years, he says the company was not spared the severe impact of the Economic Crisis of 1986/1987. “There was an economic downturn. Many companies including my dad’s was hit. The company crawled back from ground zero to hero, and my dad became more careful,” he shares. Starting afresh, while being extra careful and vigilant, the group came back stronger than ever in the 1990s. Part of the strategy was to split its project portfolio mostly between government-based JKR contracts and government-linked company projects while shying away from private contracts. Later in the early 2000s, the group obtained the ISO9001:2002 QMS status which was in preparation for its bid for listing status. The group then started tendering for private sector projects as well, maintaining a safe split of 60%:40% - with the latter comprising private sector clients. In 2003, the group did a restructuring and reverse takeover of MGR Corporation Bhd and assumed its listing status. This year hence marks its 14th year since it was listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia in June 2003. From the proceeds obtained from the listing exercise, the group acquired its first plot of land which is on the site of
An artist’s impression of Residensi Hijauan or The Greens in Batu Tiga in Shah Alam which was recently launched
3 Two Square in Petaling Jaya, Selangor for USD8 mil or about RM30 mil then. This maiden property development project launched in 2007 enriched the group with an impressive GDV of RM300mil. On the construction side, Crest Builder then was a small construction player, targeting mainly the private sector as well as government linked projects. This was about the time when Eric joined the group. Sensing something amiss especially in terms brand recognition, he proposed that the group secure projects with higher visibility. “We were doing about RM300 million - 400 million a year in terms of revenue earnings but we were still not getting known enough. “Hence, I made sure we targeted the more branded projects so the projects we had post-listing had one common factor - they were all very visible from popular busy main roads,” elaborates Eric. Counted among the group’s early
projects were the famous Kuala Lumpur developments including The Residence in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail and Scott Sentral which is directly visible from Jalan Istana as well as the Twins located on Jalan Damansara. Other KL developments include Gateway Kiaramas situated along the Penchala Link; Menara Worldwide on Jalan Bukit Bintang and Verticas Residensi which is the tallest residential tower in Bukit Ceylon. As a construction player bent on learning new things, it embarked on various government initiatives. This was kickstarted with the RM285 million UiTM Perak Tapah campus which was built under the first-of-itskind Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme. “We completed the construction of the project in record time, and currently it is in its sixth year out of the 23-year concession,” says Eric. In the same manner that the group started out in property development,
with the acquisition of 3 Two Square site, it also obtained other plots unorthodox approaches. The site of the five-phase Batu 3 development in Shah Alam was acquired via a Danaharta auction while the site of Tierra Crest in Kelana Jaya, Selangor was the result of the privatisation of TM’s football field and car parks there. Crest Builder went on to acquire a plot in Mont’ Kiara, KL which was sold at very much below market prices. More recently, it ventured into the monetisation of government assets via its privatisation move. The first plot was the privatisation of KL’s Dang Wangi light rail transit (LRT) station’s air rights space that was obtained via an open tender of which it was the highest and most impressive bidder. Later, the plot opposite Great Eastern Mall, KL was tendered out by the Malaysian Rubber Board and Crest Builder managed to secure it, being the highest bidder. It also subsequently secured the privatisation of the Kelana Jaya LRT Station in Selangor.
July 2017 I 19
WOMEN OVERCOMING THE GLASS CEILING IN REAL ESTATE Here’s what some women in the property line have to say BY:
- Charmaine Lim
he glass ceiling is a pertinent issue in this day and age, even more so since women are making their mark in various industries. This includes the real estate industry which is traditionally perceived as being male-dominated. The Luxe by Infinitum Head of Sales and Marketing Catherine Wong affirms from her personal observation that while the glass ceiling exists, women can do well or even better than their male counterparts. This comes from her overall experience in dealing with colleagues, subordinates, new industry members and friends. “As modern-day women, we must be motivated to strive harder and higher in life in whatever we pursue,” says Wong. Despite having to face two rounds of recession throughout her career lifespan, Wong believes that perseverance and knowledge are needed to succeed. “I always believe that the property industry in the country will grow and be consistent with global urbanisation. “I am sure that Malaysia will become a developed country similar to Hong Kong and Singapore. All I need is to have faith in the nature of the economic and business cycle - that the down cycle will rise again,” says Wong. Titijaya Land Bhd Executive Director
Charmaine Lim Puay Fung says there has always been some level of gender discrimination for women. “It is apparent in my industry too although I have been working with many talented women leaders and professionals since my entry into the industry. These women inspire me and make me believe that our voice is equally important so long as we are making a difference in our work or life. I hope I am able to share the same positive courage and belief to other women in my industry as well,” says Lim. Today, a growing number of women have entered different sectors within the real estate industry ranging from finance and property management to brokerage. One outstanding woman involved in the real estate industry is none other than Mapleland Properties Real Estate Senior Negotiator Juliana Teh who has been in the industry for more than 18 years. As opposed to Lim’s opinion, Teh feels that real estate is one of the few industries whereby no particular gender dominates the industry, as opposed to the more traditional roles like being a nurse or a mechanic. “I feel privileged to be a small part of this big industry where things are constantly changing and we are seeing more diversity at the workplace,” says Teh.
- Juliana Teh
- Catherine Wong If companies have to choose where to put their resources when it comes to supporting female employees’ success, their top three priorities should be as follow: providing challenging job assignments, employing an objective performance review process, and offering flexibility.
20 I July 2017
HELPING WOMEN SUCCEED In order to determine the most effective action that organisations can take to advance women working in the real estate industry in the Asia Pacific region, Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) and Ernst & Young launched a publication entitled “Advancing Women in Real Estate”. The research was drawn from a survey of nearly 300 women who are real estate and land use professionals working in Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. These locations were chosen because they have the largest concentration of women working in real estate in the Asia Pacific region. KEY FINDINGS FROM THE STUDY:Conflict with family commitments is seen as the main barrier to women’s ability to achieve success. More than half of survey respondents indicated that the tension between workplace commitments and family commitments is the main barrier that prevents women from achieving professional success. 50% of the survey respondents said that being formally provided with generous family leave and workplace flexibility is critical to their career success. However, a large percentage indicated that they do not receive these benefits.
Women need access to generous maternity or familial leave, as well as flexibility in their day-to-day schedules, in order to achieve success.
Mid-level management 20%
Informal support systems at work play a key role in women’s professional success. 73% said that having relationships inside their organisations as well as finding senior-level sponsors within their organisation who advocate for them are critical to their success. Almost half of the women surveyed said that companies providing technical skills training and development programmes are critical to achieving success. However, simply offering these programmes are not necessarily enough to ensure their success as leadership must also support these programmes. About 47% aspire to having jobs in the C-suite or running their own business. The data reveals significant differences depending on the respondent’s location. The highest percentage comes from Singapore and Australia where 58% and 62% of women respectively surveyed are
Entrepreneur/ Sole proprietor 13%
C-level management 37%
Senior leader below C-level 30%
Women in Asia Pacific’s real estate and land use industry frequently change jobs to find success, though only half aspire to jobs in the C-suite or as a sole proprietor. Source: Advancing Women in Real Estate
July 2017 I 21
striving for corporate level management or to become entrepreneurs and sole proprietors. China reported the lowest percentage of 23% only. The report also formulated certain recommendations that organisations could adopt to create more inclusive workplaces. These include providing challenging job assignments, creating a culture that places high importance on having passion in oneâ€™s work and offering flexibility for women to be involved in their lives outside of work. Companies could also make mentoring and sponsorship of women a priority and invest in their training to encourage positive change. WLI Research Committee Chairman Serena Wolfe concludes that these findings illustrate that while companies are good at bringing women into the industry, the challenge lies in keeping women employed in the long term. In 2017, companies should be better equipped at enabling women to have careers and families by offering more flexibility at the workplace.
Workplace flexibility Technical skills training Maternity & family leave Leadership training / development 360-degree feedback Objective promotion policies Objective hiring policies Metrics-based performance evals
Visible, challenging assignments Senior level sponsors who advocate Inclusive culture External network Internal network Managers who coach & develop
Survey respondents ranking of approaches to advancing women (scale of 1-6, 1 as least important, 6 as most important)
Informal support systems play a key role in womenâ€™s professional success and in fact may be more valuable to female employees than formal, company-sanctioned systems. Most important among these informal structures are internal (within the company) relationships, particularly with senior leaders, as well as an inclusive workplace culture.
Lack senior-level sponsors for younger employees
65% 61% 49%
Lack workplace flexibility
Lack flexibleor generous maternity or family leave
Female employees are not receiving the support they need from their companies to achieve professional success.
Provide challenging and visible job assignments
Provide objective performance, hiring and promotion policies
Offer workplace flexibility and family leave
Conflict with family commitments is seen as the main barrier to womenâ€™s ability to achieve success. Source: All infographics are provided by Advancing Women In Real Estate
22 I July 2017
38 INDULGENCES FOR ALL GENERATIONS Lakeville is designed with families and their well-being in mind. The emphasis on nurturing a wholesome, active community is reflected by the 38 dedicated facilities that both the young and the elderly can enjoy together as a family, every day.
< SG. BULOH/RAWANG
Station Sri Delima (future)
Station Taman Wahyu Station Kampung Batu (future)
Station Batu Kentonmen
Enchanting Heights Sdn Bhd (1040958-P), Wisma Mah Sing, Penthouse Suite 1, No.163 Jalan Sungai Besi, 57000 Kuala Lumpur. Tel:03-9221 6888 • TOWER C & D • Developer Licence No.: 13545-3/12-2016/01308 (L) • Validity Period: 24/12/2014 – 23/12/2016 • Advertising & Sales Permit No: 135453/12-2016/01308 (P) • Validity Period: 24/12/2014 – 23/12/2016 • Approving Authority: DBKL • Building Plan Reference No: BP U1 OSC 2015 1364 • Total Units (Tower C): 327 • Total Units (Tower D): 327 • Min Price: RM 795,340 • Max Price: RM1,323,140 • No.of Car Parks Per Unit: 2 • Expected Date of Completion (Tower D): November 2019 • Expected Date of Completion (Tower C): July 2020 • Tower E & F • Developer License No.: 13545-2/10-2017/02874 (L) • Validity Period: 31/10/2016 – 30/10/2017 • Advertising & Sales Permit No: 13545-2/10-2017/02874 (P) • Validity Period: 31/10/2016 – 30/10/2017 • Approving Authority: DBKL • Building Plan Reference No: BP U1 OSC 2015 1364 • Total Units (Tower E): 327 • Total Units (Tower F): 295 Tower E • Min Price: RM 792,740 • Max Price: RM 1,312,740 • Tower F • Min Price: RM 769,340 • Max Price: RM 1,237,340 • No. of Car Parks Per Unit: 2 • Expected Date of Completion (Tower F): November 2018 • Expected Date of Completion (Tower E): June 2019 • Land Tenure: Leasehold (25/11/2113) • Lease term: remaining 98 years • Land Encumbrance: Mortgage (RHB Islamic) • Restrictions: The land cannot be transferred, leased or mortgaged without any consent from the Land Committee of Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory • The information contained in this material is subject to change and cannot form part of an offer or contract. All renderings are artist’s impressions only. All measurements are approximate. While every reasonable care has been taken in preparing this material, the developer cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracy. All the above items are subject to variations, modifications & substitutions as may be required by the Authorities or recommended by the Architect or Engineer. * Terms & conditions apply
AEON Big Kepong
03 6259 6188 / 012 291 8500
In conjunction with the National Day celebration, we are offering additional rebates of up to RM5,000* on top of the existing sales package. To learn more, visit our Sales Gallery or call
Proposed Link Road MRT Line 2 (SSP Line) KTM Line
CUT ABOVE IN PROPERTY INVESTMENT Datin Winnie Loo who has made a name for herself in the hairdressing industry, counts herself fortunate to have amassed a string of successfully acquired and managed properties BY:
Mages PV Lingam
roperty Insight recently had an exclusive chat with A Cut Above Sdn Bhd Founder Datin Winnie Loo, who has much to say about her property acquisitions purchased with her husband Dato’ Richard Teo. Together, they successfully run 13 hair salons and an academy which carries the same name “A Cut Above” that employs over 270 staff. Loo says she is blessed with a husband who constantly helps her in the business. To her credit, she has won numerous awards like Ernst and Young’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and the Most Innovative Woman Entrepreneur presented by the Women in Leadership Forum Asia which celebrates her success in business. Her husband initiated the idea for their first property buy in 1979 comprising a double-storey landed property in Sri Petaling, Selangor which was priced at RM56,000. It was eventually leased out and sold off five years later. Loo, who loves to explore new things and is inquisitive by nature, is excited whenever there is a new property launch crops up at an exclusive address. To date, she has acquired 15 properties. These include properties from prominent developers including BRDB Development Bhd, IJM Land, Tan & Tan Developments Bhd, SP Setia Bhd and more. Out of all these properties which she owns, her unit in Bangsar ranks tops in terms of her favourite place and location which she calls home. She said most of their properties were purchased for the long term. The rationale behind this is that eventually, the properties would likely be able to fetch at least twice or thrice their value in capital appreciation in years to come. The profit obtained can then be invested into buying additional property. “In 1993, we bought a spacious bungalow in Sierramas, Sungai Buloh in Selangor for close to RM1 million. We stayed there for two years before deciding to sell it off and shifted to Bangsar due to our children’s schools which were located close to Damansara,” says Loo.
24 I July 2017
July 2017 I 25
When the economic slump occurred in 1997, she had difficulties selling off that property. A lucky break came when an agent introduced a couple and managed to sell off that piece of property for a handsome figure, enabling her family to move to Bangsar. According to Loo, the advantage of buying property in an upscale location is that the property can fetch higher rental yields and capital appreciation with time. Despite her glamorous persona, her husband advises her to save instead of spending on a lavish lifestyle. She admits to being a bit of a spendthrift during her younger days. These days, she is predisposed to saving up so that she can buy her desired range of properties. She now reminds herself that “money saved now is money for tomorrow”. Unknown to many, this determined lady actually managed to purchase six properties by the age of 28. Not surprisingly, her friends were curious as to how she was able to own properties at premier addresses. After all, projects like Kenny Heights Villa by Dutaland Bhd in Kenny Hills and Serai by BRDB Development at Bukit Bandaraya in upscale Bangsar are coveted properties in prized locations. As a seasoned investor, she shares about her journey into purchasing and managing high-end properties to benefit others. Being a woman who has once driven second-hand cars and lived on a shoestring budget during her younger days, she says this experience has encouraged her to be a prudent investor.
26 I July 2017
Though hailing from Ipoh, Perak, the affinity she shares with the Bangsar neighbourhood is obvious. After all, this is where she has lived for decades. Her bungalow has been featured in various local interior design magazines. Although she says that most of the luxurious homes in this neighbourhood come with built-in kitchens and wardrobes or areas designed to match the premier location in line with the upmarket neighbourhood, she has chosen to design her house her way. “I opt for a contemporary but fashionable, minimalist, artistic and creative look. My taste preference comes with a modern contemporary feel in terms of the selection of furniture and wall decorations,” says Loo. She engages trusted interior designers to decorate and design her properties. A particular house of hers that is located in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, KL she says has attracted passers-by due to the striking black-and-white façade. She has never subscribed to feng shui but prefers locations that can bring in good values. Currently, Loo is in the midst of constructing their next dream home which is located in Seri Beringin, Damansara Heights. Having bought the large tract of land from SPPK Group, she is taking it upon herself and her husband to design a huge four-storey bungalow. When quizzed on three things that people would wonder about her, Loo says she loves to cook, enjoys public speaking and mentoring young or new entrepreneurs to equip them with knowledge and skills.
I opt for a contemporary but fashionable, minimalist, artistic and creative look. My taste preference comes with a modern contemporary feel in terms of the selection of furniture and wall decorations” - Datin Winnie Loo
KNIGHT FRANK ASIA-PACIFIC RESIDENTIAL REVIEW
ndependent global property consultancy Knight Frank’s May 2017 issue of its Asia-Pacific Residential Review revealed that cross-border residential land investment activity in Asia-Pacific has risen by 136.9% over the last decade. This is more than US$42 billion (RM180 billion) in 2016 as compared to US$17.8 billion in 2007. Most of the cross-border capital originated from developers based in Hong Kong and mainland China. 80.2% was spent on acquiring overseas residential lands within Asia-Pacific with Hong Kong developers owning 74.5% of the overall market share although the majority of companies are based in the mainland. Singapore-based developers own 7.3% of the total cross-border volume as they actively pursue more overseas development opportunities. Other notable players include the US (3.2%), Japan (2.4%), Malaysia (1.7%) and United Arab Emirates (1.1%).
What’s trending: Growth in outbound activity by mainland Chinese developers Developers from mainland China had the most active crossborder residential land buyers in Asia-Pacific from 2012 - 2016 with transaction volumes reaching more than US$2.5 billion in 2016. Favourite destinations for Chinese developers include Australia (36.5%), Hong Kong (23.7%), Malaysia (19.7%) and Singapore (15.4%).
The Growing Wave of Chinese Capital 2007
Cross-border investment activities continue to rise For the past 10 years, Asia-Pacific developers demonstrated a strong preference for opportunities within their home region. This can be seen reflected in:• Close to a total of US$2.1 trillion being invested in AsiaPacific residential land sites. • Approximately 11% amounting to US$230 billion originating from cross-border deals. • Asia-Pacific developers with an estimated 94% share of sites within Asia-Pacific and only US$6 billion invested in Europe, America and Africa residential land sites. • Cross-border investment activity in Asia-Pacific which continued to rise in Q1 2017, with close to US$10 billion in cross-border investments, representing 15.2% of the total sales volume. Knight Frank Malaysia Managing Director Sarkunan Subramaniam says, “About 35% of residential land transactions were carried out by foreign buyers in the last five years, of which the majority were from mainland China. One of the top destinations for Chinese developers is Johor where barren ground and reclaimed lands are being developed into high-rise luxury apartments.” Knight Frank Head of Research for Asia-Pacific Nicholas Holt concludes that in the first quarter of 2017, Chinese developers invested over US$5.1 billion in the region, with more than US$4.9 billion or 95% concentrated in Hong Kong and
Cross-border Buyer Nationality as % of Total Volumes 2007 - 2016
MAINLAND CHINA 5.7%
HONG KONG 74.5%
UNITED STATES 3.2%
JAPAN 2.4% MALAYSIA 1.7%
1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000
US$ MILLI0NS Source: Knight Frank
28 I July 2017
this trend is expected to grow this year. He said this was following the flurry of cooling measures introduced in major Chinese cities and the recently enforced capital controls.
About 35% of residential land transactions were carried out by foreign buyers in the last five years, of which the majority were from mainland China. One of the top destinations for Chinese developers is Johor where barren ground and reclaimed lands are being developed into high-rise luxury apartments” -Sarkunan Subramaniam
PROPERTY TIPS FROM INDUSTRY EXPERTS Key Opinion Leaders and Industry Experts share their nuggets of insight into the property market:-
TRY TO FIND AN EQUILIBRIUM DUE TO CHANGES IN DEMAND FROM THE PUBLIC. AND, GIVE HUGE FOCUS ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING SCHEMES” - Datuk Pretam Singh Founder of Pretam Singh, Nor & Co
PROPERTIES WITH DIRECT CONNECTION TO STATIONS WILL LIKELY COMMAND AND HAVE A PREMIUM INCLUDED IN THE PRICE. HENCE, DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RADIUS OF 2-3 KM FROM STATIONS WILL BE IN DEMAND”
Managing Director, Knight Frank Malaysia
- David Shieh Chong Former Vice President (1), Malaysia Property Incorporated
The increasingly globalised nature of Asia-Pacific’s development markets will spread from the gateway cities to more secondary and niche opportunities, as land in some of the major cities becomes scarcer and developers become more familiar with these untapped markets” - Nicholas Holt Head of Research for Asia-Pacific, Knight Frank
PRICES OF HIGH-END PROPERTIES WILL CONTINUE TO DECLINE FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER18 TO 24 MONTHS. HOWEVER, MID-RANGE PROPERTIES WITH INFRASTRUCTURE COMING INTO THE AREAS WOULD HAVE (ALREADY) BOTTOMED OUT. IF THERE ARE NO NEW INFRASTRUCTURE COMING INTO THE AREA, AND YOU HAVE SUPPLY COMING IN, THAT MEANS PRICES WILL DROP. THE DROP IN RENTALS FOR HIGH-END PROPERTIES IN PRIME LOCATIONS INCLUDING KLCC HAVE DROPPED BETWEEN 40% AND 50%. WHILE THERE IS NOT MUCH OF A DROP FOR RENTALS LESS THAN RM3,000 PER MONTH, THERE IS A 10% (RENTAL) DROP IN MID-RANGE PROPERTIES” - Faizul Ridzuan, Founder of FAR Capital July 2017 I 29
Developer of the Month
An artist’s impression of the grand entrance leading to O’hako
A YEN FOR PRACTICAL AND FUNCTIONAL DESIGNS Japanese-born John Taro, having resided in Malaysia for the past 13 years, unveils his maiden development project named O’hako @ Puchong Jaya, Selangor BY: Yvonne
30 I July 2017
Yoong and Calvin Tung
Puchong Jaya in Puchong, Selangor just the way he envisions it. Hailing from a family in Japan which has a formidable reputation in property development, he is now attempting to create his own legacy with O’hako. In Japan, his father’s firm, Marimo Co., Ltd. has completed over 330 condominiums and more than 22,000 units including its Marimo brand townships. His father, Takeo Fukagawa, has since retired from the group operations that have been taken over by Taro’s brother, Makoto Fukagawa. Revisiting the company’s overall strategy, Makoto, the current CEO of Marimo in Japan, decided that the company should focus on expanding the business to South East Asia. Two of the countries include China and Malaysia which they ventured into in 2009. Planning with foresight, their reasoning was that Japan is an aging nation with declining birth rates and an increasing average median age. This has led to lower demand for newer properties as compared to Malaysia which is still a young nation with high growth potential. Establishing Marimo Land Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur, the company will focus on building affordable homes for middleincome earners in Malaysia.
arimo Land Sdn Bhd (Marimo) Managing Director John Taro strikes an interesting figure in person. While proudly proclaiming to be 100% pure Japanese, his mannerisms and speech are reminiscent of a man who has settled comfortably in Malaysia for a long time. In fact, he could be mistaken for a local, given his features. It perhaps comes as no surprise, given the fact that he has been living in Malaysia for the last 13 years. Married to a local, Taro has three children. During this exclusive interview with Property Insight, he is personable and engaging, willing to make detailed explanations regarding his painstaking journey to realise the workings of his maiden project named O’hako @
40-YEAR LEGACY IN JAPAN In Japan, the developer company is known for its direction in building high-rise condominiums for the middleincome group for 26 years. In addition, the Japanese pride themselves on their attention to detail and their commitment to building quality homes. Interestingly, Taro’s father started out as an architect, having set-up his own design studio before venturing into developing homes. Established in 1971, Takeo named his company AI Architectural Design Co., Ltd. The company, based in Hiroshima, Japan, specialises in designs for affordable highrise condominiums. Exemplifying the concept of kaizen, the Japanese word for “continual improvement”, the company grew over 20 years to eventually become a developer specialising in affordably priced condominiums. It remains a leading developer in Shikoku Island today.
ESTABLISHING MALAYSIA AS A BASE Taro, wanting to be an opera singer but later gave up, worked with his father for a decade from when he was 20 to 30 years old. During this time, he learnt how to draw master plans for condominium designs for presentations from his father. However, not wanting to merely follow in the footsteps of his dad, Taro left Hiroshima, Japan. Not knowing what to do, he chose to travel abroad and then improvise along the journey. Since he believes that doing sales is a basic prerequisite before venturing into business, he engaged himself in the pursuit of on the ground sales activities. Taro realises that businesses are based on mathematics and the Pareto principle, which states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Although he managed to get good sales results, he eventually got tired of the never-ending sales story. Hence, he went into what he considered as a more sustainable business involving large-scale estate management for winery, soya beans and coffee beans, with Brazil being the destination. During this time, he learnt a lot about cash flow since the growth and yield of crops would take a long time before the returns could be profitable. Deciding against purchasing a 1,000-acre plot of land in Brazil, Taro decided to come to Malaysia. This started his journey as a boutique developer specialising in bungalow development. So, after 15 years since he left his hometown, he obliged his brother’s request to join him in becoming a developer in Malaysia. Working with his first local marketing partner Ken Teo, a former Chemist-turned-Property Analyst, they came up with practical sales and marketing strategies based on scientific facts and logic, to fruitful effect. Taro says he chose Malaysia as a base as its people are friendly and one has more opportunities to succeed here as compared to Brazil or China whereby you have to be exceptionally outstanding for people to notice you. Although the market in Malaysia may not be as huge as other countries, Taro says that Malaysians should have more confidence in the local market which has plenty of opportunities. July 2017 I 31
Developer of the Month
O’HAKO, BOX OF SURPRISES When quizzed about why he chose Puchong as the location to launch his project, he says that there aren’t many choices left to build in Kuala Lumpur. “I had three choices; Puchong, Kepong and Cheras. I chose Puchong because it is very big and there are available landbanks here for development,” he says. Inspired by the late Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, he ascribes to the notion that function takes precedence over form. He also paraphrases American architect Frank Lloyd Wright who stated “God is in the details”. Elaborating on his maiden development named O’hako, he relates that conceptually speaking, the condominium is shaped like a box and is inspired by modern living in the tropics. In line with this concept, Taro aims to surprise the local market by the development’s generous offerings. Apart from providing the standard Malaysian condominium range of amenities, 53 amenities with an emphasis on modern living will complement the development. To ensure the facilities are provided and to allow sufficient room for all, the towers are spaced at 90 metres apart from each other. The facilities can be divided into three zones; namely the Tree House Zone, Event and Festival Zone plus the Zen Jungle Zone. Taro envisions that this facility area will be able to accommodate up to 2,000 people should any of the residents wish to hold a wedding reception at the Romantic Aquarius Zone with its Floating Wedding Stage overlooking the Infinity Pool and a Treasure Island. There will also be a Festival Stage on the grounds to provide entertainment for residents. Other facilities include a Floating Gym, Treehouse, View Pavilion, Sunken Garden, Tea Pavilion, a Wall Climbing Area and Playground, a Pool Villa, Yoga Deck, Kindergarten, Outdoor Pool and Outdoor Onsen. A BBQ Deck, MultiSports Field, Outdoor Café, Jogging Track and Organic Garden are other facilities provided here. Part of the units will face the Klang River while others will open up to the surrounding greenery. While it is not a Green Building Index (GBI) certified development, Taro says the building 32 I July 2017
An artist’s impression of the building looking up
design will feature vertical greenery running down the sides of the building to absorb heat from the two towers. The buildings are divided into three major areas; namely a River View Garden, Pool Pavilion Garden and Welcome Entrance Garden. The River View Garden allows residents to enjoy the breeze coming from the Klang River while the Welcome Entrance Garden allows residents to enjoy dining at an open air café complemented by timber flooring and modern sculptures. The building is built as a commercial development project. To showcase its commitment to the residents, the company will be relocating its Malaysian headquarters and its management office
on the grounds once the project is completed. Complementing the large open spaces, the two towers will combine the best of local culture with the Japanese attention for detail. Not wanting to merely “copy and paste” ideas, Taro says he went through a few obstacles in pushing his ideas through for the project. For instance, his Japanese counterpart wanted to incorporate Japanese style bathtubs which were not suitable for the local weather. Deciding against a heavy Japanese influence, Taro brought in three young local architects to serve as inspiration for his new project.
An artist’s impression of the 53 facilities
An artist’s impression of the Inﬁnity Pool
SALES PROGRESS The condominium, first launched in October 2015, has been well-received by the public with a 100% take-up rate for Block A. Meanwhile, Block B has a 60% take-
up rate since its Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) was disbursed in October 2016. Before the SPA was finalised, the new Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act (HDA) ruling came into
Land Area: 4.375 acres Land Area of Facilities: 1.5 acres Property Type: Serviced Apartment No. of Towers: 2 No. of Storeys: 31 No. of Units: 718 No. of Units: 359 Unit Types and Built Up: Type X: 2R + 2B – 815 sq ft (without balcony) Type Y: 3R + 2B - 955 sq ft (without balcony) Type Z: 3R + 2B - 1002 sq ft (with balcony) Units per floor: 12 units Lifts per floor: 4+1 lifts Car Parks per unit: 2 covered bays - Car park is zoned according to the unit’s floor with one entrance and exit Land Title: Commercial Tenure: Freehold Average Price psf: RM530++ psf Maintenance Fee: RM0.29 psf Price of Units: From RM440K & above Expected Date of Completion: Q4 2019
July 2017 I 33
Developer of the Month
“ From left: Marimo Co., Ltd. Deputy CFO Norihisa Mizonishi; Chief Development Analyst Ken Teo; Marimo Land Managing Director John Taro; and Marimo Co., Ltd.’s Ryoichi Sakagawa
I am not ambitious over the quantity of projects I create but I am quite particular about quality” – John Taro
his family’s vision of providing quality homes at affordable prices.
An artist’s impression of the O’hako project
the picture. In addition, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was executed on April 1, 2015 wasn’t in favour of new development firms such as Marimo Land. Looking back at all the challenges though, Taro says that the sales figures are above his satisfaction. “Approximately 80% of our target market so far are homebuyers looking for a safe living environment,” says Taro. With a Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM370 million, the two towers 34 I July 2017
will house 359 units respectively; bringing the total number of units to 718 units. Each unit comes with two covered parking bays for residents, with an overall total of 2,000 lots allocated for the project. Individual home units range from 815 sq ft to 1,002 sq ft, and are priced from RM450,000 to RM680,000. The units, as Taro emphasises, are priced lower than most average property prices around the area. This underscores his commitment to
A JAPANESE MALAYSIAN WAY OF LIFE Speaking of his family history, Taro explains its importance to him. “I would say that my Marimo Group family DNA is important to me. As such, I am building my team and corporate image upon the brand,” he says. He further expounds on the company’s motto of passion, purpose and personality, carefully explaining each word’s meaning and importance in building his company. “Run first, improve later, and lastly, summarise,” says Taro tongue-incheek recalling how his freefall plan of improvisation has worked out beautifully for him in the end. When asked about their future plans, Taro comments that new development projects are in the pipeline but the company would only announce their new project in October with a new launch. “I am not ambitious over the quantity of projects I create but I am quite particular about quality,” says Taro. Having said that, he says that the principle of multiplication can be applied to the success of the first development. “For example, a profit of RM50 million can multiply to become RM100 million for one project. We can grow very fast, but the most important thing is sustainability, with team work in mind.”
Entrepreneurs Speak Up The recent Malaysian Entrepreneur Convention (MEC) 2017 proved to be an exciting platform for entrepreneurs to gather while seeking a wealth of information and tips for them to start their own businesses. This local platform which showcases entrepreneurs who have made it big, also saw company CEOs and Founders of various industries generously sharing their expertise in running new start-ups with the enthusiastic crowd. In case you missed out on the event, Property Insight compiled a list of the best advice from some of the inspiring speakers as highlighted below:-
I think technology is just a tool, a vehicle. We should instead focus on the creativity behind the tool and how we can best make use of it to grow businesses ranging from branding to marketing. Also, complaints are a natural part of businesses. There is a business adage that states, ‘The only business that has zero complaints is a business with zero customers’. I think that is true. Complaints and feedbacks are ways (what we use) to improve our products and services.” - Chan Kee Siak, Founder and CEO of Exabytes Network
When we first started out, we received negative reviews on our services. The only way we could survive was to stay positive, offer an explanation and find solutions to the problems our customers were facing. It takes a toll emotionally but it must be done. In my company, I often advise my colleagues to come up with proposed solutions to problems that they face. Without solutions, nothing can be done.” - Goh Chee Hau, Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Lorry
It is important to believe in yourself. Take heed of that inner voice and gut instinct which guides you. If you fail, it’s alright. Failing is a learning experience that teaches you not to repeat the same mistakes again. As an entrepreneur, we must remove that ‘syok sendiri’ mentality. We have an issue in our culture whereby ‘If I have a problem, it is my problem and not yours’. Not all problems should be solved on your own. It is good to take your ideas outside to validate them.” - Manminder Kaur Dhillon, CEO of Intelectasia Consultancy
Things will not always go accordingly to plan. What is most important is the way one handles issues. Plans change all the time so it is important to stay flexible and adapt (to changing situations). Look at what your target audience needs and find ways to fulfil those needs. That is how you stay ahead and grow the business.” -Petrina Goh, Co-Founder and CEO of Nuren Group
35 I July 2017
July 2017 I 35
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH This emerging township has grown to become one of the better connected areas in Kuala Lumpur served by three major highways BY:
Mages PV Lingam and Calvin Tung
ota Damansara, located in the district of Petaling Jaya, Selangor is akin to a hidden gem, given its low profile away from the glare of the spotlight. Prior to its development, the town was a forest reserve for the Sungai Buloh catchment area spanning 857 acres before its development as a township in 1992 by the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS). The 4,000-acre township, many would agree, is slowly but surely transforming into a mature area thriving with economic activities. The township is derived from a secondary forest which was originally a defunct reserve gazetted in 1898 comprising 3,900 acres of protected primary forest. Being the oldest forest
36 I July 2017
reserve in Peninsular Malaysia then, it was degazetted and subsequently, development of the area followed. The area has since then been downsized to accommodate an 857-acre plot. Incidentally, a 1000-acre plot was also set aside for botanical garden cultivation. Out of that initiative, came the Kota Damansara Community Forest Reserve (KDCF) which is a gazetted park for recreation and research purposes. An interesting attraction here is Aunty Sipew’s Garden which displays traditional plants and wild herbs used by the Orang Asli Temuan tribe. A SUBURBAN OASIS Sandwiched between Subang Jaya and
Petaling Jaya, notable landmarks located near the state seat constituency include the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (Subang Airport or Subang Skypark) and the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia (RRI). Incidentally, Kota Damansara falls under the Subang parliamentary constituency. PKNS for one, privatised and parcelled out tracts of land in Kota Damansara via joint ventures for development. Positioned in a nexus between surrounding townships with differing levels of affluence, it is not surprising to find developers including Tropicana Corporation Berhad (“Tropicana”) launching their developments here in Kota Damansara.
Expected End Date
Average Price psf (RM)
800 - 1,100
Melati Ehsan Holdings Berhad
Tropicana Corporation Berhad
998 - 1,207
Sources: Various Developers
The group’s Tropicana Gardens is an award-winning, mixed-use Transitoriented Development (TOD) located in the heart of Kota Damansara. The 17-acre development features four residential towers and capitalises on greenery and sustainability. In addition, the serviced residences situated within Tropicana Gardens are the epitome of luxury with over 30 recreational facilities spread over two levels; named the Recreational Promenade and the Sky Sanctuary. Tropicana Gardens feature elements of modern spatial designs following an organic and nature-inspired feel. The development has been accorded with a Green Building Index (GBI) gold rating
that is usually awarded to buildings that have added sustainability features. Metroworld Realty Sdn Bhd Team Manager C.K. Lau acknowledges the potential of Kota Damansara. “It is a vibrant, verdant, fast-growing and self-sustaining mature township within the Klang valley region,” he says. Lau points out easy accessibility as being one of Kota Damansara’s key features, with the location being connected to excellent intercity highway systems serviced by public transportation. The township includes residential, commercial, educational and recreational components. With the completion of Kwasa Land’s developments and the mass rapid transit (MRT) project, Kota Damansara is envisioned to easily be the future home for entrepreneurial and economic activities in 10 years’ time. NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE HEART OF THE TOWNSHIP SCland Group Sales Manager Charles Leong says the company is currently developing Emporis, a mixed-use development project spanning 6.9 acres of commercial land fronting Persiaran Surian. The development comprises duplex suites, serviced residences and shop lot units. Incidentally, Emporis
was specifically designed to differentiate itself with its offering of affordably-priced products to give value added propositions to buyers. The development is now priced from RM730,000 - RM790,000. SCland aims to achieve Gold Status in its GreenRE certification for Emporis. GreenRE is a green rated certification which was initiated by REHDA Malaysia (Real Estate Housing Developers’ Association) for developers. The project also follows the Industrialised Building System (IBS) concept which utilises aluminium foam work in construction to achieve greater construction speed while resulting in lesser construction waste. “Our past business space project called OMNI was completed in 2013. Its initial launch price of RM4.5 million has appreciated to RM7.5 million in the years since,” says Leong. The leasehold project comprise 15 units with built-up sizes ranging from 8,746 sq ft—13,642 sq ft. Leong says that prices of units in mixed-use developments vary across different neighbourhoods. According to him, it is important to understand the intrinsic value attributed to different places. Units at Kota Damansara he says, can command prices around the range of RM800 psf - RM1,100 psf. “Generally, Kota Damansara is a very July 2017 I 37
Hotel: Tune Hotel, Sun-Inns Hotel, i-Hotel, My Home Hotel, JJ Boutique Hotel Hospital: Alpha Specialist Centre, Tropicana Medical Centre, Pusat Rawatan Islam KD, Hospital Bersalin dan Poliklinik Eateries: Unique Seafood, 3 Bags Full, Little Yum Yum, Big Brother Restaurant & Grill, Restoran Love Health Vegetarian, Restoran Arab Ta’if, Kai’s Plato Seafood, Macha & Co Malls: Sunway Giza Mall, Encorp The Strand Government Offices: Selangor Research Centre, MBPJ Local Government Office, National Registration Department Schools: Integrated Islamic School, SK Seksyen 7, Sri KDU Schools, St. Joseph’s Institution International School Malaysia University: SEGi University Office Lots: Avenue Business Centre, Sunway Nexis SOHO Religious Institutions: Masjid Kota Damansara, Agape Chapel, Community Baptist Church, Mega Chinese Methodist Church, Kuil Sri Maha Mariamman
sought-after address for people who want to either buy for own residence or investment purposes,” adds Leong. AREA ANALYSIS Nawawi Tie Leung Property Consultants Sdn Bhd has come up with an area analysis on average transacted price psf for selected residential areas, with a twostorey terrace unit in Seksyen 6, Kota Damansara commanding about RM529 psf in 2016 and RM502 psf in 2015, reflecting an appreciation value of 1.8%. Meanwhile, the average transacted price for selected two-storey semidetached units in areas like Seksyen 11 in Kota Damansara would command 38 I July 2017
an average RM523 psf in 2016 as compared to RM592 psf in 2015, reflecting a depreciation value at (-6.8%). These prices reflect transactions for intermediate units, excluding corner or end lots. Terrace units are generally selling at approximately over RM500,000 per unit while semi-detached units are priced at approximately RM800,000 per unit. Overall, there is a declining trend in the average price in Seksyen 11. Palm Spring, which is located in Seksyen 13, Kota Damansara, has selected apartments with transacted prices recorded at above RM420 psf in 2016 as compared to RM435 psf in 2015, recording an increase of 4.1% on average. At the D’Rimba project in Seksyen 13, Kota Damansara, the average transacted selling price is RM475 psf in year 2016 compared to RM442 psf in the year 2015. The firm’s analysis chart shows that high-rise residential properties have shown significant capital appreciation due to strong demand for apartments and mid-range condominiums. Therefore, silently and without much fanfare, Kota Damansara has quietly become a preferred residential location.
This is due to its proximity to Mutiara Damansara. Its easy accessibility to various parts of Kota Damansara is made possible via various highways including the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP) and Penchala Link. This concurs with the report which anticipates that condominiums located along MRT stations will continue to attract home buyers and investors. ANALYSING COMMERCIAL OFFERINGS IN KOTA DAMANSARA An analysis on commercial properties in Kota Damansara reveal that the average transacted prices of selected stratified offices in areas including Cova Square are commanding at least RM450.64 psf in 2016 as compared to RM435.83 psf in 2015. Meanwhile, Taman Sains saw a decline in the prices of the units, recording a price transaction of RM440.42 psf in 2016 as compared to RM615.85 psf in 2015. Hence, the average transacted pricing of selected shop offices at The Strand was RM518 psf in 2016 as compared to RM588 psf in 2015, recording a
- Datuk Muhammad Nawawi Arshad
- Datuk Sr Sidsapesan Sittampalam
- Charles Leong, SCland Group Average transacted price (RM psf) of selected 2-storey terrace in KD
Average transacted price (RM psf) of selected 2-storey semi-detached in KD
Average transacted price (RM psf) of selected condominiums in KD
Palm Spring (Seksyen 13)
D’Rimba (Seksyen 11)
Sources: Nawawi Tie Leung Property Consultants Sdn Bhd
July 2017 I 39
Average transacted price (RM psf) of selected condominiums in KD Area
Average transacted price (RM psf) of selected stratified in KD Area
Average transacted price (RM psf) of selected shop office in KD Area
Recent transacted price (RM psf) of industrial property in KD Area
Sources: Nawawi Tie Leung Property Consultants Sdn Bhd
downward trend average of (-3.8%). Meanwhile, Seksyen 4 saw transactions of about RM419 psf in 2016 as compared to transactions at RM568 psf in 2015 in relation to the negative transaction of (-2.6%). The firm’s analysis also shows the positive transacted prices of industrial properties located in Seksyen 3, especially those related to semi-detached factories. The transacted price in 2016 showed an average transaction price of RM558.26 psf which is lower than that in 2015 whereby units were transacted at RM618.69 psf. Nawawi Tie Leung Chairman Dato’ Muhammad Nawawi Mohd Arshad says, “The most recently launched project in Kota Damansara is Emporis. It is a 6.9acre integrated mixed development that includes retail, duplex suites, 616 units of serviced residences and a marketplace.” He adds that the serviced residences were launched in 2016 at an average price of RM750 psf or approximately at RM590,000 per unit. The project is located between two MRT stations that is Kwasa Damansara and Persiaran Surian, which have strong potential for attracting homebuyers and investors alike. The firm concludes that the retail space is quite challenging to sustain 40 I July 2017
considering there are various shopping centres in close proximity to each other including IKEA, Ikano Power Centre, The Curve in Mutiara Damansara as well as another upcoming mall in the newly developed area of Kwasa Damansara. The site is located within Taman Industri Selangor. Muhammad Nawawi says that Kota Damansara is a mature township with only several parcels of land left to be developed. Most of its developments are nearing completion while major developments for the township would border the developing township of Kwasa Damansara on the south and the northeast side. “We expect the development of Kwasa Development to have positive spill-over effects on Kota Damansara especially with MRT Line 1 expected to be fully operational by end of this year,” he concludes. Chester Properties Sdn Bhd Senior Negotiator Vincent Tan says, “From the negotiator’s point of view, Kota Damansara is always busy, no matter if it is day or night.” Kota Damansara’s road infrastructure system before the MRT line was operational he adds, was previously unable to support residents around the
area. However, some changes occurred in the infrastructure which made the traffic flow smoother. Although most of the properties available here are leasehold, he notes that people are still looking at Kota Damansara as a place to invest in or for their own stay. “Even though it is reaching a mature township status, there are still no iconic shopping malls. Therefore, residents here need to travel out of the neighbourhood to enjoy such amenities,” he sums. EASILY ACCESSIBLE For residents, visitors or office workers, transportation to the Kota Damansara township is easily available as the town is serviced by new MRT lines, major roads and highways. The MRT lines to the township are served by two stations; namely the Kota Damansara MRT and Surian MRT stations. There are also feeder bus services leading to the township areas and the neighbouring Kwasa Damansara township. There are also feeder buses from the Kwasa Sentral MRT that goes directly to Section 6, 7 and 8 in Kota Damansara. Rapid KL Bus (780) and BET1 travel to Pasar Seni, Kuala Lumpur while Rapid KL Bus (802) connects to the Kelana Jaya light rail transit (LRT) station (KJ24) via the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP) Federal Route 15, NKVE before heading to Mont’ Kiara in KL. In addition, Kota Damansara is connected to major roads and highways such as Persiaran Surian, Persiaran Damansara Indah, Jalan Sungai Buloh, the NKVE and the LDP. Tropicana’s project Tropicana Gardens boasts a direct link from the shopping mall to the Surian MRT Station which is now operational. Leong says Kota Damansara MRT Station is located a mere 800 metres away from Emporis while the future Provisional Teknologi MRT Station is located adjacent to this commercial precinct. Emporis is also connected to the NKVE and LDP via the Kota Damansara Interchange and Persiaran Surian respectively. Meanwhile, connectivity to KL and Shah Alam will be greatly enhanced upon
Chester Properties Sdn Bhd Senior Negotiator Accessibility from Kota Damansara via highways like NKVE, LDP and Sprint are very convenient but there are too many traffic lights within a very short destination. After 10 years, Kota Damansara will be another standalone area with closeby iconic developments like Kepong, Damansara Utama and Tropicana. Kota Damansara still needs to improve on balanced developments for a better living standard and environment.
Metroworld Realty Sdn Bhd Team Manager
Sources: PPC International Sdn Bhd
the completion of Damansara–Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH) in 2020. Meanwhile, the DASH Interchange for Kota Damansara is located some 500m away from the development. PPC International Sdn Bhd Managing Director Datuk Sr Sidsapesan Sittampalam comments, “The new underpass near Sunway Giza Mall at Persiaran Surian in Kota Damansara will help to alleviate the traffic along Persiaran Surian, especially during peak hours.” He also explains that the LRT Line 3 will commence construction in July 2017 and is expected to be completed by 2020. “This will allow Kota Damansara to be further connected to the south-east and south-west of the Klang Valley,” he concludes. OVERVIEW ON THE TOWNSHIP Siders also implies that within the next three years, Kota Damansara will see
the completion of its other ongoing developments. Future incoming developments hence will be minimal apart from its upcoming neighbouring township; which is Kwasa Damansara @ Sg. Buloh. While details are still scarce, what is known is that the project will be located around Lot 7 and 9, spanning a total of nine acres. The mixed-development project by Paramount Properties is at its preliminary stages of planning. Currently only open for buyer’s registration, the development is expected to be launched within the next two years. This improved connectivity might lead to more developers venturing into the locality with their respective developments - be they residential, commercial or industrial in nature. The locality is expected to benefit from this comprehensive integrated public transportation network.
The township includes residential, commercial, educational and recreational components. From my viewpoint, with the completion of Kwasa Land’s developments and mass rapid transit (MRT) project, Kota Damansara is envisioned to easily be the future home for entrepreneurial and economic activities in 10 years’ time.
July 2017 I 41
Area Focus Food Trail
FOUR FOOD GEM DISCOVERIES IN KOTA DAMANSARA July kicks-off the inaugural scrumptious Food Trail to accompany the usual Area Focus analysis. The team hit the road and discovered four eatery gems - all mouthwatering in their own right situated in the heart of Kota Damansara. Here’s the good food guide rating for the area:-
SHELL OUT SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
NASI PAK MAN Kelantanese specialities such as Nasi Kerabu, Nasi Dagang (Fish and Chicken) and Laksam were familiar to the taste buds and yet different, given their cuisine came with a tinge of sweetness. Nasi Kerabu proved to be a burst of flavours with crunchy ulam balanced by savoury servings of blue-coloured aromatic rice. Owners Dato’ Leonard and Datin Jane Lee say the spices and condiments are ordered directly from Kelantan. Nasi Dagang won our cameraman’s vote, providing a bit of spice with every bite. Laksam was an unusual combination, drenched in thick, soggy minced fish gravy and doused in coconut milk. Titab bread, also known as Roti Goyang came with a runny egg yoke that seemed to do a dance of its own. Sweet and savoury indeed! Average Team Rating Score: 7/10
This is one place you could be forgiven for getting your fingers downright dirty. Seafood lovers can feast on a smorgasbord of cooked King crabs, mussels, crawfishes and baby octopuses laid out on the table - minus the plates, forks and spoons. Half the fun was in donning an apron and gloves before the feast began. Rice was equally nice in accompanying the seafood feast. The spread featured tantalising sauces to choose from such as Butter Garlic, Lemon Pepper, CurryCurry and Black Pepper.
Average Team Rating Score: 8/10
MAKAN TIME Makan Time’s beautiful rustic ambiance is a sight to behold. Service came with a smile and despite the lunch crowd, we were attentively served. The team found the overall pricing to be very reasonable. Worthy of note was the slurp worthy and very tender beef tendon drenched in savoury kway teow broth. The mee rebus also had the right tinge of spices with its spicy and tangy sweet gravy. The sambal prawns rice set proved zesty to the taste while the Siamese Laksa was a unique mix of creamy santan and delicate greens, generously seasoned with fish brine.
COOKIE NATION Cookie Nation’s soft-baked cookies come in 16 options of delicious flavours. Satisfying to the last crunch are the “Classics” while the “Volcano” series are cookies that come with filling. A box of twelve is perfect for those with sweet
42 I July 2017
We opted for the Shell Bang flavour. Half the fun was in hammering the claws to get to the succulent crabmeat encased within. Founded by Derick Yap and Candy Kwok, this is the only eatery in Malaysia that serves Cajun delicacies. The first restaurant opened in Kota Damansara in 2014 followed by the second outlet in Setia Alam in 2015. Another outlet is scheduled to open in Publika, Kuala Lumpur soon.
Dessert earned our high praises with kueh ubi bengkang being a hit. In all, a great place to drop by for a hearty lunch indeed! Average Team Rating Score: 8.5/10
tooths. Try their ice cream flavours signature and pecan imported from New Zealand - and you’ll want more! Customers can pick two cookies and create an ice cream sandwich for an extra RM5. Yummy! Average Team Rating Score: 7.5/10
ASIA HALAL BRAND
AWARDS 1 3 th O C T O B E R 2 0 1 7
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Feature Personality of the Month
fish. He also sold scarves and brooches via using flyers as his marketing tool. At the end of each week, he would accumulate the profits earned and deposit about RM400-RM500 into his savings account. By doing so, each month he managed to save RM1500-RM3000. By the seventh month, his bank statements began to show positive transactions. With this, the bank approved a 100% housing loan at the price of RM220,000 for his first property. The property has since appreciated to RM650,000. Following that, his business begins to expand, enabling him to purchase another two properties. He also sold one of the properties whereby the buyer paid him RM40,000 in cash which he used to purchase yet another property. He later continued to purchase more properties. Now, he shares that most of his properties comprise shop lots, apartments and terrace houses. Aliff says he prefers to buy newly built houses while 20% of his portfolio consists sub-sales properties. Considering Vital Factors Aliff says he has never attended any developers’ events nor courses on property buys but looks out for the location factor as a priority whenever he decides to purchase property. BY: Magesany PV Lingam Besides the location, amenities such as schools, banks and shop must property investor and D’Herbs Healthy be located nearby asnterprising these will Sdn Bhd Founder and Managing Director Dato’ complement the property. Aliff Syukri Kamarzaman built his beauty and “I also prefer to invest in health products empire from scratch. His journey started townships with a diverse multi-racial in an informal way. He attended no motivational talks or demographics and mid to high-end seminars at any learning institutions but instead resident profile. These factors willhigher be indulged in part-time work trading scarves, brooches able to create healthy demand for the and even rendered pak andam or wedding make-up artist property,” adds Aliff. services. These factors even motivated owes the secret Aliff to purchaseAliff a whole level of of his successful career path to selfmotivation. During Residensi Suasana developed by MKhis early years, some of his friends and neighbours often poked fun and laughed at his dreams Land and a dozen units of Rafflesia, wanting to own a condominium of project developed byluxurious properties and expensive cars. However, he says he was even more determined to Bintai Kindenko Corporation Bhd in succeed when he took the brickbats and turned them into stepping stones towards achieving his dreams.
ZERO TO PROPERTY HERO E
44 I July 2017
A highly self-motivated drive to succeed in life has resulted in D’Herbs Healthy Sdn Bhd Founder Dato’ Aliff Syukri Kamarzaman’s successful acquisition of a portfolio of properties Although it took him nearly 10 years and a loss of RM3 million in the process, he only started tasting the fruits of his success upon his sixth business attempt. Aliff became a well-known celebrity entrepreneur as the producer of the first collagen lipstick in Malaysia. His name alongside the product was an instant market success, accelerated by the popular tagline Terlajak Laris. Today, Aliff manages his beauty product business, spa, fashion boutique, online business and property development company while also giving talks at local universities. Besides appearing on television reality shows, he also regularly attends events and seminars. Although managing his many businesses demand most of his time, he makes it a priority to spend quality time with his wife and three children. PLANNING AHEAD Being a business figure and owning
numerous properties, he recalls his first challenge when he was 19 years old. He tried to purchase a property priced at RM300,000. However, the loan was rejected so he took the huge disappointment as a challenge to move forward. Currently, he says the house is valued close to RM1million in the market. “My first property was the One Damansara project in Damansara Damai, Selangor which was developed by MK Land Holdings Bhd. My pay was only RM1,600 per month then and I knew the banks would turn down my loan if my bank statement wasn’t healthy,” he says. Armed with steely determination, Aliff became a night market vendor selling salted eggs and dried fish. He also sold scarves and brooches using flyers as his marketing tool. At the end of each week, he would accumulate the profits earned and deposit about RM400 - RM500 into his savings account. By doing so, each month he managed to save
RM1,500 - RM3,000. By the seventh month, his bank statements began to show positive transactions. With this, the bank approved a 100% housing loan at the price of RM220,000 for his first property. The property has since appreciated to RM650,000. Following that, his business begins to expand, enabling him to purchase another two properties. He also sold off one of his properties whereby the buyer paid him RM40,000 in cash which he used to purchase yet another property. He later continued to purchase more properties. These days, he shares that most of his properties comprise shop lots, apartments and terrace houses. Aliff says he prefers to buy newly-built houses while 20% of his portfolio comprise sub-sales properties. CONSIDERING VITAL FACTORS Aliff says he has never attended any developers’ events nor courses on July 2017 I 45
Personality of the Month
My tip for upcoming property investors is to purchase at least one house to begin with. If you own luxury items like handbags and cars but don’t even own a house, then it beats the whole purpose of being rich. Don’t wait forever to buy a dream house- start with a moderate one first” - Dato’ Aliff Syukri bin Kamarzaman
property buys. Instead, he prioritises strategic locations whenever he decides to purchase any property. Besides the location, amenities such as schools, banks and shops must be located nearby as these will complement the property. “I also prefer to invest in townships with diverse multi-racial demographics and mid- to high-end residents’ profile. These factors will be able to create healthy demand for the property,” adds Aliff. These considerations even 46 I July 2017
motivated Aliff to purchase a whole level of Residensi Suasana developed by MK Land. In addition to that, he also bought a dozen units of the Rafflesia in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur condominium project developed by Bintai Kindenko Corporation Bhd. “My tip for upcoming property investors is to purchase at least one house to begin with. If you own luxury items like handbags and cars but don’t even own a house, then it beats the whole purpose of being rich. Don’t wait forever to buy a
dream house - start with a moderate one first,” advises Aliff. He says it is wiser to buy a more affordable property and then aim for a bigger one later. By then, the prices of properties would have appreciated to give more choices for future purchases. He adds that the aim is not to be quick to sell the property but to hold on to it for the long term. According to him, it would be wiser to keep at least one property to pass on to the next generation. “I have a five-year business expansion plan. My aspiration is to become as prominent as Syed Bukhary (Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Shah bin Syed Nor Al-Bukhary) or Mustapha Kamal (Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar),” shares Aliff. This year, he is in the midst of constructing his own property development spanning a four-acre plot that will comprise 88 townhouses with a Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM40 million. Aliff has formidable plans in the pipeline for future property investments and project developments. Despite the uncertain climate of the current property market, Aliff has no plans of slowing down.
HOW TO IDENTIFY GOOD DEALS LIKE A SEASONED VETERAN Property Insight shares five tips to invest like a pro in the property market BY:
hen investing in property, most novice investors would only look at common criteria such as location, infrastructure and the launch of new project developments. While such criteria would adequately serve those intent on purchasing a family home as their own residence, there are many more factors to consider when it comes to investment decisions. Here are a few unorthodox choices for the discerning investor to consider when investing:BANK FORECLOSED 1 BUYING PROPERTIES While some investors cannot stomach the thought of purchasing foreclosed properties at a bank auction, this is an excellent way to purchase properties below market value. Banks which have foreclosed properties would not want to hold on to their new assets as there would be no profit made in doing so. They would want to recoup their losses quickly and the right bid at the right time would allow both the investor and the bank to profit from the property sale. NEGOTIABLE 2 SEEK PACKAGES Frederick Chan, Founder of iwealthglobal.com says that the best deals are the ones that are purchased within your budget. It is an undeniable fact that some project developments do not sell as fast as others. For example, he says that some property developments located on the outskirts of a city appreciate as quickly as developments situated right in the heart
of the city’s capital. It can therefore be beneficial to look at negotiable packages for suburban properties as they would be more or less within an investor’s budget and will gain capital appreciation after some time. Developers of those projects are more likely to negotiate a better package for their developments which would allow purchasers to obtain better deals for their investments.
3 PEOPLE ARE MORE
The best deals are the ones that are purchased within your budget” – Frederick Chan
LOCATION IS OVERRATED.
IMPORTANT MPH’s Number One Bestselling Author Mark Chua has found that many people seem to think that location, infrastructure, schools, transportation networks and shopping malls are essential towards the potential growth of an area. While such conventional wisdom may hold some truth, Chua thinks most investors overlook the “people factor” of an area. “I have spent time evaluating the profile and potential income of residents of a particular area,” says Chua. “Let’s face it, people do not move to an upscale area like Bangsar to be close to Bangsar Shopping Centre. They move there because they want to be surrounded by affluent people,” he adds. NOT BE FOOLED BY NEW 4 DO PROPERTIES Most would-be investors assume that properties under construction are more affordable due to the ease of entry, rebates and discounts given by the developer. While this may be true, an investor must not confuse ease of purchase with investment viability.
An investor should remember that while servicing their new property loans, they would not be able to rent out the property to support their loan repayments during the period of construction. Having said that, an investor with strong earning power would be able to invest in properties under construction without much difficulty. However, it would be advisable for individuals who are starting to invest in property to purchase those that are already completed.
MARGIN OF SAFETY to Chua, it is also important to evaluate an area’s Margin of Safety (MOS) in terms of property investment. For example, Condo A is selling for RM800 psf while Condo B is selling for RM500 psf in the same area. It is therefore worth having a second look at Condo B because Condo B is selling at a better MOS as compared to Condo A. If Condo A appreciates in pricing, a new ceiling price is established and Condo B will have more upside potential. July 2017 I 47
nvesting in properties is not easy, even if it is a great way to make money and accumulate wealth. While many investors start out with the intention of making it big in real estate, only a handful of individuals will successfully benefit from their first investment. Successful investing involves doing a few right things and avoiding major mistakes. Due to general misconceptions about investing, some investors may misjudge and make unwise decisions that will prevent them from achieving their long term financial goals. Secondly, having the right mindset is also important as it will provide investors with a realistic assessment of their properties. KC Lau, Property and Investment Author of kclau.com shares that with due diligence, anyone can learn from the mistakes made by other investors. Here are eight real estate investment tips to take into consideration when buying property.
ADVICE FOR FIRST-TIME INVESTORS Eight Tips for Novice Investors BY:
Successful wealth creation through real estate requires a solid set of goals, focus and long-term planning” – Faizul Ridzuan
An investor should always be learning from industry experts” – Jonathan Quek
48 I July 2017
DON’T JUST FOLLOW THE CROWD Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors in the world once said, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful!” Most investors commonly make the mistake of following trends blindly. It is also not unusual for novice investors to invest without fully understanding the risks involved concerning their investments. Thus, the result can be catastrophic because when the market is saturated, this could result in a property purchase that is priced above its actual market value.
WHEN YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL Far Capital Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Faizul Ridzuan says that attempting to build a successful property portfolio without a plan is like setting out on a road trip without a map where you will end up getting lost. Successful wealth creation through real estate requires a solid set of goals, focus and long term planning. This will allow investors to best manage their cash flow and assets.
There are some who would like to invest in properties but procrastinate. This makes them their own worst enemy. These would-be investors will attend every property seminar and read all available information on investing but do not take action due to indecision and an inability to act. Jonathan Quek, Founder and CEO of Owners Circle shares that an investor should always be learning from industry experts. However, the best way to gain knowledge is to start by investing in properties for firsthand experience.
It is not easy to buy and sell property as there are numerous costs involved such as Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT), Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA), maintenance fees and so on. Property purchases have traditionally proven to yield investment returns. They have the propensity to provide steady long term gains through the compounding of property prices. Investors can use the gains they make from one property to leverage on the purchase of another property. With the combined gains from these two properties for instance, the investor would now be able to expand his portfolio further.
DON’T PLAY THE WAITING GAME FOR TOO LONG
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
LEVERAGE ON GOOD RETURNS
MANAGE YOUR CASH FLOW WISELY
Before investing, an investor should always thoroughly research the property they are buying into instead of allowing their feelings to cloud their judgment. They should ask themselves the following questions… “Will it provide attractive gains and returns? Is the location good enough to attract tenants? Will the property gain capital appreciation in the long term?” By asking and answering these questions, savvy investors could be able to shift their thinking away from personal feelings to an analytical mindset. At the end of the day, investing is all about the economics and not the emotional side of things.
It is easy to fall into the trap of poor cash flow management when first starting out. It is therefore important to understand the costs involved in acquiring and holding on to a property. An investor should seek the advice of a professional accountant familiar with real estate investment to understand the financial risks involved. Secondly, investors must not forget to account for contingencies such as extended vacancy periods or unexpected repair costs. A good rule of thumb is to allocate 10% of the funds gained from investing in properties to be channelled to costs such as taxes, insurance, maintenance and management fees.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Location makes a huge difference when it comes to purchasing property be it for investors or even house buyers. Locations that are easily accessible can increase the value of the property significantly so be on the look out for properties that are located nearby Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations.
SEEK A PROFESSIONAL’S HELP Most investors think managing their portfolios on their own by finding their own tenants and acting as their own property managers will save them cost and give them greater profit. This would be reasonable for those who own a few properties but for those possessing high number of properties, they could eventually find themselves being overwhelmed by the sheer task of managing their properties. Paying a professional to handle incidentals on their behalf would thus be worth the cost. This will give owners added freedom and time.
July 2017 I 49
LEARN HOW TO SELL YOUR PROPERTY THE FASTER WAY Develop Influencing Techniques For Quicker Sale of Properties BY:
50 I July 2017
Mages PV Lingam
ecuring the sale of properties has proven to be a huge challenge especially lately, given the fact that unpredictable economic volatility has hit the global market. In this issue, Property Insight shares tips on how to sell off your properties fast. Residential and commercial properties should be wellmaintained and made to look presentable, weeks or even months before securing a successful deal. The façade and interior walls would also need to be freshened with a new coat of paint complemented by functional fixture and fittings. From a tenant’s perspective, planning in advance would also spare one the hassle of vacating at a moment’s notice. Potential purchasers would also most likely be predisposed to enquire about the property during the first week of advertisement placements appearing on online portals or classified sections of daily newspapers. Therefore, the sale of properties needs to be conducted fast to avoid listings from going unnoticed by prospective buyers. Knowing this, the pricing of properties should be attractive right from the start to benefit both parties. “I’ve always worked using these tips to boost the sale of properties in order to get profits. This is done by discussing with sellers beforehand the need for putting out a reasonable price which is usually lower than the published rate in the market,” says Mapleland Properties Senior Negotiator Juliana Teh. She adds that sellers must be diligent in placing regular advertisement postings on online portals to attract more enquiries for properties they want to sell off. The photos posted should portray a clean and presentable interior and exterior of the properties to attract potential buyers. Information on accessibility and other contact details must also be accurate. Teh says another good idea is to instal banners to get more publicity and faster viewing of the properties on sale. Follow-up messages to potential buyers via WhatsApp or emails should also be encouraged in order to build a steady clientele list for now and the future. According to her, the time span needed in order to achieve successful residential property sales is an average three months, depending on the location factor. Being a buyer’s market now, there are more choices of properties available to choose from. The platforms are also diverse – ranging from online to printed advertisements. Studying clients’ requirements are important as they take into account considerations like their budgets, preferred locations and nearby amenities. She says the same is true for commercial properties. According to her, they take an average of about three months to be sold, depending on the price factor. “The value of commercial property is higher while the decision-making (time) to buy these units tends to be faster, especially when the location is strategic,” adds Teh. The complex part she maintains would be in influencing buyers to accept the selling price offer without any hassle. She says the right way is to update interested buyers about the latest prices being transacted in the market and to help ascertain the calculation on the yield or profit, including the potential capital appreciation in the future. This would encourage the buyers to grab the offer faster. The selling price would also largely be determined by the
property’s location as well as the condition of the property. “For my clients with properties situated within known territories or area locations, their decisions would also be based on trust,” she maintains. Real Estate Tycoon Club Executive Director Sandeep Grewal says, “The seller needs to create a perfect viewing environment. By doing this, the seller will have potential buyers harping on him or her to sell the property to them.” He says that the demand for sales would increase concurrently with the first favourable impression of the property. Therefore, to see a fully furnished unit selling at top dollar, efforts like incorporating chic interior design with attractive colour schemes work wonders, as a favourable first impression can push up the perceived property value considerably. In order to sell fast, he agrees that keeping the units clean would be a plus point. Using mild aromatherapy to create a conducive environment would also enhance the positive first impressions created on potential buyers. It is wise for the seller to be at the location early and book the viewing slot during the day, especially when the climate is conducive. He also advises sellers to enhance the comfort of the space by keeping the area cool and pleasant for the buyers. This is crucial as the buyer needs to experience a cosy home ambiance when he drops by to view the property. Sandeep shares this nugget of wisdom:- “It is always best to buy below the price value of the property in a particular location and also to invest in the type of unit that commands demand. Thereafter, selling the property would be easy.” “The current market is a buyer’s market. Therefore, if the units look prominent or presentable, buyers will see the value added (benefits) of the units. They will also continue to stay focused on the desired units until the right price is struck,” he says. Another question which may arise on how to make the properties stand out is to fully furnish the units attractively. Sandeep says that whenever prospective buyers enquire on the right time to purchase property, his reply would be only to sell when one needs cash. This is because it is better to rent out the property as it will eventually pay for itself. “It is better to wait until the price really appreciates again before selling it off,” he concludes.
The value of commercial property is higher while the decision making to buy tends to be faster, especially when the location is strategic” - Juliana Teh
It is always best to buy below the price value of the property in a particular location and also to invest in the type of unit that commands demand. Thereafter, selling the property would be easy” - Sandeep Grewal
July 2017 I 51
ALPHA AUTOMATION (SELANGOR) SDN BHD:
THE GLOBAL SPECIALIST IN POWER SWITCHES
Celebrating its 21st anniversary in Malaysia this year, this market leader continues to meet the needs of the market with its unique range of offerings for the industrial, commercial and residential sectors BY:
In conjunction with our 21st anniversary, our mission is to create an even stronger demand for China products in Malaysia” – Tey Siang Leng (Executive Director), Teoh Leh Siong (Accounts Manager)
52 I July 2017
or the past 21 years, CHINT, a product range carried by Alpha Automation (Selangor) Sdn Bhd in Malaysia has changed the way electrical products are viewed by consumers. Over the past two decades, the company with a comprehensive range of low voltage electrical products such as circuit breakers, contactors, push buttons, switches, transformers, relays and motor starters for industrial, commercial and residential application have benefited the market in a huge way. Representing the biggest low voltage components manufacturer in China since 1984, the group employs more than 30,000 workers and is the world’s leading supplier of low voltage electrical, power transmission and solar products. Incorporated in 1996, the main activities of the company are to provide more advanced engineering services for its customers. CHINT exceeds market needs by delivering innovative technology to create a safe, sustainable environment. It is also able to help customers achieve high savings in energy, time and cost. The company’s asset are its people whom it invests in to ensure its products and services are top quality. In Malaysia, it has a dedicated workforce of 80 employees working in
the company who are committed to achieving the Alpha Automation vision of providing quality services to the power distribution industry. In terms of staying ahead of the competition, the company has sought to define the needs of its customers by following a systematic work process to ensure their needs are met. These services are delivered in an ethical and highly professional manner. “In conjunction with our 21st anniversary, our mission is to create an even stronger demand for China products in Malaysia,” says Alpha Automation Executive Director Tey Siang Leng. He adds that Alpha Automation will continue to drive industry standards as China’s number one branded specialist in the electrical industry. It also aims to create a stronger demand for China products in Malaysia. There are a lot of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) in the Malaysian market today. “Today, OEMs are manufacturers who resell another company’s products under their own name and branding. The challenge faced by us is that our brand has been ranked the same as these OEM products,” adds Tey. Hence, the company is looking at overcoming the issues facing them by
CHINT Contactor NCI Series
CHINT NEXT Series MCCB
innovating. For instance, the company specialises in providing engineering products and services covering the following areas:• Low Voltage (LV) Switchgears and its components • Medium Voltage (MV) & High Voltage (HV) Switchgears • Cast Resin Transformer • Oil type Transformer • Industrial Control System • Harmonic analysis and Power Quality Management • Energy Monitoring System • Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Modules, Components and Systems including On-Grid, Standalone, Street and Compound Lighting CHINT electrical products can be found operational at various Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rapid Transit (LRT) stations. It can also be found at Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) stations including at the Kajang MRT, Gombak LRT and KTM Seremban. Alternatively, CHINT switches can be found at several project sites including Setia Eco Hill in Semenyih, KL Gateway fronting the Federal Highway and D’Ísland in Puchong, among others. Alpha Automation’s state-of-the-art production lines also supply PV cells from high quality silicon wafers that are assembled into solar modules of varying dimensions. Its range of Astronergy represents the first large-scale producer of high-efficiency thin film PV modules in mainland China and has been a trusted provider of monocrystalline and polycrystalline PV modules since its founding in 2006. Some of these solar projects are located at Top Glove Tower in Setia Alam, EPE Switchgear in Nilai and KL ECO City in Mid Valley City.
CHINT Contactor NCI Series
NEXT SERIES, THE NEXT RELIABLE CHOICE In 2016, CHINT officially launched the NEXT series products developed over a course of three years which include the air circuit breaker (ACB), molded case circuit breaker (MCCB), terminal power distribution as well as motor control and protection series. July 2017 I 53
Distribution Board (PVC/Metal)
54 I July 2017
According to Tey, the launch of the NEXT series products is not only a breakthrough but also an effort by CHINT to encourage the whole industry to return to an age where great importance is attached to product competitiveness. It also aims to create a new chapter for high-quality products. The advantages of the new series is that it can withstand an operating temperature range of between -35˚c and 70˚c. “Reliability is extremely important for end-users and The Next Reliable Choice makes reliability the core feature of CHINT NEXT series products. Research and Development (R&D) is important in ensuring product quality. For instance, the product has powerful applicability despite operating even in severe environments. The product also has reliable operations in service conditions with large fluctuations of grid voltage and higher service life. This will enable it to meet the requirements of end-users in terms of less current leakages and more accurate leakage protection,” says Tey. A total of 150 million yuan has been invested in the CHINT NEXT series products project. More than 400 developers participated in the whole R&D of the new products which has resulted in 360 patents. Over 7,860 reliability tests were conducted to realise the new series products’ high reliability and safety qualities.
ALPHA AUTOMOTION (SELANGOR) SDN BHD: TEL: 03-5569 3698 FAX: 03-5569 4099
July 2017 I 55
A GUIDE TO INVESTING OUTSIDE A NINE TO FIVE JOB A navy instructor shares his journey into property investment BY:
There is a cliché in property investment that says, “the best time to invest was yesterday and the second-best time is now”. The market value of a property will not go down, only the asking price would possibly differ” – Mohd Farhan Dining Area - Amara Residence, Batu Caves
his month, Property Insight caught up with Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Mohd Farhan bin Mohd Nordin from the Royal Malaysian Navy. Currently working as an instructor in KD Pelandok in Lumut, Perak, he alternates his time between his career and family in Kuala Lumpur. In a rare moment of freedom, we spent some time learning what drove him to property investing. Property Insight (PI): Please share with us your journey into property investment Mohd Farhan (MF): My journey to property investment was purely by luck. Back in 2012, at the recommendation of a friend, I purchased my first condominium. It was meant for my own personal residence. Instead, I rented out the property and sold it a year later and made a profit of RM130,000. That was when I realised that property investment was a great idea to supplement my income. I think I entered the property market at the right time. Slowly, I started doing my own research by attending seminars, buying books and learning about the property market. Once I felt confident, I bought my second property. I am still buying and investing to this day.
PI: What does your wife think about your investments?
MF: As a married man, it is important to understand that my wife and I are a team. As a team, we need to mutually agree and understand each other before we proceed 56 I July 2017
Bedroom - Amara Residence, Batu Caves
This depends on a variety of factors such as my Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) rating, ability to finance a loan coupled with repayment plans. As an investor, I focus mainly on properties around the Klang Valley region that have easy access to transportation. I only invest in condominiums, apartments or service apartments. I chose high-rise properties because in addition to investing, I need to maximise my rental yields to cover my monthly loan repayments. There is a significant difference if you look at the rental rates between condominiums and landed properties. A high-rise property generally commands better rental rates than a landed property, even if both are fully furnished. There is a prevailing sentiment among renters that it would be better to buy a landed property outright instead of renting it. Therefore, a landlord would not be able to lease his property at a higher rate even though the area footage of the property is larger than a high-rise property. When I rent out my properties, I focus on the younger generation who tend to be more mobile.These younger executives prefer having modern living amenities and transportation nearby which benefit them. Also, there are not many landed properties that would be able to provide the security and comfort of condominium living and be affordable to the young.
PI: What do you think of the current market sentiment?
Living Room - Amara Residence, Batu Caves
MF: There is a clichĂŠ in property investment that says, â€œthe best time to invest was yesterday and the second-best time is nowâ€?. The market value of a property will not go down, only the asking price would possibly differ. Having said that, you must do your research thoroughly before purchasing. Property prices have increased rapidly in the last 10 years. I think prices would only soar in the future. In a few years, I am certain you would not be able to find as good a deal as you would right now.
PI: What is your strategy to finding a good deal? with any decisions. Buying a property is a risky endeavour and is something that requires long term planning. If something unfortunate happens, the other party would still be able to continue to safeguard our investments. For example, if I were to rent out one of our properties with a negative cash flow, I will still be able to obtain extra money from her to pay off whatever housing instalments that I have left on the property. We move forward together as a team because it is our investment and not mine or hers alone.
PI: As a navy and family man, how do you balance your work, life and investments together?
MF: These days, I am working on land with fixed office hours instead of being at sea. In my spare time during the week, I will read up on market trends and search online for the latest property and deals that are available now. When I am back in KL during the weekends, I spend three to four hours viewing the properties that I have researched online.
PI: What do you look for when you are expanding your portfolio?
MF: I am mainly interested in projects that are still under construction. Such projects provide low price entry and deposit bookings for a unit. This way, I will not lose too much money if I wish to pull out of the project before signing the contract. I also have a threshold, a maximum price that I do not exceed.
MF: Firstly, you need to ascertain the market price of a property. Find out the average selling and asking price of properties in the area you are interested in. You need to remember that you are making money not only when you sell the property, but also when you are buying it. The profit on paper is just as important as the profit in hand, even if you are selling the property later. Secondly, you need to have long term planning. There are plenty of properties under construction these days that are selling between RM400,000 and RM500,000. This is the price range that I would buy at. Personally, as a government civil servant, I am able to obtain housing loans of up to RM650,000. In addition, there are many civil servants in the country and because of the loan threshold, they would be able to obtain loans from the government with relative ease and even given the price appreciation.
PI: Any advice for those who wish to start investing?
MF: I would advise those who wish to start investing to not go into it blindly. If they have the time and means, they should read and attend property seminars. You need to know what you are doing before making your first purchase. It is important to have knowledge of the area, study the market sentiments and work out other pertinent details. If you do purchase unknowingly, there is a risk that you could invest in the wrong property. Learn and seek the advice of friends who know the industry and then start buying. July 2017 I 57
TAPPING INTO THE FASHION FORWARD DIGITAL AGE This young entrepreneur has found her business niche in design by leveraging on a digital platform BY:
he halal industry is an emerging global market that a growing number of multinational corporations (MNCs) and entrepreneurs are keen to invest in. In 2016, an estimated USD2 trillion (RM8.56 trillion) was traded and experts agree that this figure will further increase as the Muslim population grows larger. The term halal denotes “an accordance to religious law” and encompasses everything from food preparation to goods and services. Fashion, while often not thought of as halal, could also be categorised under the umbrella term. Intersecting this large virtually untapped market via a digitalbased platform is young entrepreneur Yap Sue Yii, owner and founder of Royale Demure with her unique approach to the business. Royale Demure is a crowdfunding based fashion startup leveraging on the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a group of people. This approach facilitates the start-up of smaller scale projects that would normally not be funded to be financed. Yap learnt the ropes of starting a business from start-up incubator Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, which also provided training and seed money for her to kickstart her own business. Here, she shares with Property Insight the nature of her business and the challenges of going digital. Property Insight (PI): Share with us your journey into the
Yap Sue Yii (SY): As the daughter of a businessman, I grew up observing his way of conducting business. From his teachings, I learnt how to observe a competitor and the way he or she runs the business while taking into account the overhead and costs associated. From a young age, I was inculcated with a business mindset and my interest in business was nurtured accordingly.
PI: How did you get started in this business?
SY: I am an artsy person. Although my parents were initially insistent that I work as a professional, I have always found joy in the creative arts. I found the inspiration for starting my own business while on a trip to Vietnam with my dad. From our trips around the country, we noticed that the Vietnamese are capitalising on the global “modest wear market” themselves. They are creating apparel specifically catered to Muslim tourists and the thought struck me why we are not doing the same. That was how Royale Demure came about.
PI: How did you decide upon your company’s niche?
SY: I discovered my company’s niche from my observations of my Muslim friends shopping around big brand outlet stores in 58 I July 2017
This is an interesting niche that we’ve tapped into and the potential for growth is tremendous” – Yap Sue Yii
the mall. While the designs were undoubtedly beautiful, some of the pieces were unsuitable for them. By allowing them to design the pieces themselves, they would be able to produce a fashion line that is not only beautiful, modern and chic, but also appropriate for them to wear without appearing immodest. The idea is that if they want to wear it, the community at large would be receptive as well. The second problem I’ve encountered is that many talented young men and women who wish to create their own fashion line as a side business simply do not have the time to run their own businesses with a full-time job. My platform offers them that flexibility without the hassles involved. From these observations, I found the perfect opportunity to carve my own niche while helping others to create their own fashion labels as well.
PI: As a young entrepreneur, give us some insights on how you run your business. SY: My business is really what I would call a “chicken and egg situation”. For the business to survive, I need both (elements). I have created a platform for key social influencers to showcase their designs and customers would then bid (pledge) upon it on a crowdfunding site for the design to come to life. The company then takes a percentage of the sales while the designers are given royalty fees for their creations. I made it through the initial stages without any funding by collaborating with the designers. As social influencers, they
12 OGOS 2017
RAHSIA YANG BAKAL ANDA KETAHUI “Eh! Boleh ke?” Perniagaan pasar malam ke syarikat tersenarai awam di Bursa Malaysia. Portfolio Unggul: Mampukah saya bersaing dengan bakat yang terbaik? Tahniah! Belajar cara sempoi untuk penutupan perjanjian jualan maksimum! Focus 2017! Strategi “Walk the Talk” pemasaran melalui penggunaan bajet terhad. Rahsia Terbongkar!! Jom dengar tips-tips bisnes bagi peniaga baru.
already have a sizeable online following which made my initial marketing much less taxing. By offering my platform as a place to market their respective fashion lines, they would be able to showcase their wares. I am now partnering with larger brands for collaborations. The collaboration allows me to showcase my clothes worn by various celebrities and enables me to attract a bigger target audience than before.
DATUK WIRA DR HJ AMEER ALI MYDIN Pengarah Urusan Mydin Mohamed Holdings
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PI: How do you hope to grow your brand in the future? SY: Royale Demure has always made women’s clothing our top priority but we are looking to expand the line to include fashion accessories like bags, shoes and more, to make it more appealing to all. We also like the idea of expectant mothers’ crowdfunding designs which they want to see their children wearing. And, if other parents like their designs, the product can then be manufactured. This is an interesting niche that we’ve tapped into and the potential for growth is tremendous.
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July 2017 I 59
Investor Next Door
GOOD PLANNING YIELDS PROFIT IN PROPERTY INVESTMENT Jenson Liew shares on the fundamentals of making smart property buys BY:
Mages PV Lingam
enson Liew, Founder of Dreams Nation, tendered his resignation in 2004 after he realised that he needed more out of work and life. His low pay bracket troubled him although he has a Civil Engineering qualification after studying at INTI International College in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan. Deciding not to let the meagre pay limit his dreams, he decided to call it quits after the third month on the job to pursue his life’s calling. That decision proved to be right and Liew has not looked back since then. Now at 34, he has all the makings of a successful property investor, with 30 properties and counting, to his name. He relates how at the age of 21, he managed to purchase his first property, a double-storey landed house in Klang for less than RM200,000 for his own occupancy after having saved enough money from his direct sales business. His income then was supplemented by many other odd jobs including selling unit trusts, properties and being involved 60 I July 2017
in direct sales. However in 2006, at 23 years of age, he yearned to have more flexible time and opted to become a full-time tuition teacher specialising in mathematics and additional mathematics. The second property he purchased was introduced by his friend who was a property agent with a developer. In 2006, Liew went on to buy an auctioned house in Kajang for RM70,000 and later sold it for RM150,000 in 2013. He trusted the advice of his friend who pointed out the positive points of the area which prompted him to purchase the unit. Liew received close to RM80,000 from the sales of the property in Kajang. From 2014, the money from the sales of this unit in Kajang was used to buy other properties, especially under-construction units from developers. This encouraged him to purchase other under-construction properties. He was able to receive close to 15% rebate from some developers while putting down a booking fee of only RM3,000.
DISPENSING SOUND ADVICE He advises first-time property buyers to purchase sub-sale property since “What you see is what you get”. Buyers would thus be able to ascertain the current selling price, rental yields and be able to compare a few other units for the best price before committing to the purchase. Secondly, he advises first-time buyers to search for auctioned properties available in the market. “It is safer for experienced investors to buy under-construction property from developers as they would have studied the market’s volatility. However, for novice investors, the best investment choice would be in sub-sale property,” he says. Liew adds that usually, developers would mark up the property price two times more than sub-sale prices or those priced below market values, with attractive packages extended to new or first-time buyers. According to him, the best move would be to study the market and equip oneself with relevant knowledge by attending seminars and talks given by industry experts. Liew also believes in acquiring properties by considering pertinent factors such as location, price and project description. COUNTERING CHALLENGES Liew has a team which conducts research and studies the challenges facing the market. He consults them before deciding to purchase any property. Liew says that developers used to hike up property prices by 20% above the market rate, making it tough for purchasers. However, since this year, prices have come down due to the uncertain market coupled with a situation whereby supply exceeds demand. Furthermore, he says that in Malaysia,
income levels have not really increased despite the increase in prices for overall household items. Therefore, the rental yields of properties have also remained stagnant. “As for me, I predict that in the next decade, property prices would continue to boom but rental yields would stay stagnant,” he adds. Liew opines that it would be wiser not to procrastinate but to start purchasing properties during this current market situation. He says that nowadays, new graduates and young investors tend to procrastinate before buying their first home. By the time they are ready, with RM400,000 or RM500,000 in savings, it would still be insufficient to purchase their home. “During a period of time, with approximately RM100,000, I was able to buy many more properties for investment instead of being able to afford only one dream house,” says Liew. FUNDAMENTALS FOR GOOD BUYS Liew says one should not be ashamed of purchasing a small, affordable property albeit it being slightly unattractive. He says easily, the capital appreciation of these types of properties can fetch a higher rental yield in due time. From 2014 – 2015, he started buying properties with some trusted buyers in order to receive extra rebates from certain developers. And now, with the properties all rented out, he enjoys receiving good rental yields. He quotes Warren Buffet’s Rule No.1: Never lose money principle and Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1 as guiding him to his success in acquiring over 30 properties in a span of less than five years. This strategy has made him work smart with his team of investors’ buying alongside him. Liew says he plans his purchases based on current market standing instead of blindly following empty future promises which have yet to materialise, especially after a new project has been launched. He would look at under-construction projects which are located close to subsale properties or within easy accessibility and nearby amenities that are readily available and already in use. Hence, he prefers primary market sales
and opts to hold on to properties for the longer term instead of flipping them after each purchase. Liew has not ventured into buying commercial properties like hotels, warehouses or office lots yet, although it is in his future investment plans. He also prefers average-priced properties valued between RM300,000 and RM600,000 as they tend to have higher potential in terms of being rented out. On the other hand, expensive or high-end property tends to have lesser demand and follow the market uptrend instead. Liew says he handles his tenants by hiring property management companies like Subhomes Hospitality and Maxi Homes in the Klang Valley. His wife also helps to manage tenants for him. In the southern part of the country in Johor, Liew has engaged VF Management and Core Home Management to oversee his property management and to look into the needs of his tenants. Liew says he prefers to hunt for properties instead of overseeing the tenant management aspect. “I can buy properties anywhere, but I search for good deals online and from property fairs,” he says. His team of close-knit investor friends also advise him on where to hunt or seek properties. Now, he has a reliable group of 15 team members - seven investors in the Klang Valley, five in Johor and three in Penang, who collaborate by visiting more than eight to ten properties per day. He counts Michael Tan, Sandeep Grewal and Sen Tan as mentors he looks up to for advice and their outlook when it comes to property purchases, especially when it pertains to making hard decisions. Pointing out Malaysia’s key advantage, Liew predicts that the market boom happens every two years after a slow down as seen during the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-1998, followed by the downturn of 2007-2008 and the current slowdown of 2017-2018. Therefore, he plans and researches his property purchases according to this cycle. However, he advises those looking into purchasing property at this time to be cautious. The silver lining he concludes would be when the market eventually picks up after this downturn.
It is safer for experienced investors to buy underconstruction property from developers as they would have studied the market’s volatility but for novice investors, the best investment choice would be sub-sale property” - Jenson Liew
PROPERTY 1: KIARA EAST Location: Jalan Ipoh Property Type: Serviced Apartment Size: 698 sq ft Purchase Value: RM351,559 Price psf: RM504 psf Market Value: RM500,000 Price psf: RM716 psf Rental per month current: RM1,600 Rental Yield: 5.5% Loan Margin: 90% Loan Tenure: 30 years
PROPERTY 2: VISTA ALAM SOHO Location: Shah Alam City Center Property Type: Soho Dual-Key Size: 896 sq ft Purchase Value: RM403,200 Price psf: RM450 psf Market Value: RM540,000 Price psf: RM600 psf Rental per month current: RM2,000 Rental Yield: 6.0% Loan Margin: 90% Loan Tenure: 30 years
July 2017 I 61
LEGACY OF LUXURY CONTINUES IN REAL ESTATE Renowned auction house Sotheby’s recently established its Singapore realty office targeted at promoting bespoke international properties globally BY:
Mages PV Lingam
enowned auction house Sotheby’s which started its operations in 1744 in London has certainly come a long way. After a 250-year history of auctioning luxury items including paintings, wines, vineyards and gems, it made a landmark move in 1976 by including realty or property listings to cater to its network of rich clientele. Seeing positive prospects in 1996, Sotheby’s International Realty® considered global expansion in Europe and US. Later in 2004, Sotheby’s entered a long term strategic alliance with Realogy Holdings - a real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Its legacy of luxury continues in 80 locations in 40 countries, with its main presence being in New York, London and Hong Kong. Sotheby’s conducts some 250 auctions annually with global sales reaching US10 billion (RM42.8 billion) in sales volume. Today, this legacy continues with Sotheby’s presence in key cities around the world namely London, New York and Hong Kong. Recently, List Sotheby’s International Realty, Singapore joined 880 Sotheby’s International Realty® offices with 20,000 sales associates across nearly 70 countries to become one of the region’s leading luxury residential brokerages with an international network and digital marketing capabilities. Property Insight spoke to List Sotheby’s International Realty, Singapore Chief Operating Officer Leong Boon Hoe on his take on the luxury property market given the current weak market sentiments and more.
properties across the world. The Project Marketing team markets luxury projects locally and across borders. PI: How does Sotheby’s International Realty® in the US support List Sotheby’s International Realty, Singapore’s objectives? LBH: Sotheby’s International Realty® will support List Sotheby’s International Realty, Singapore’s efforts with a host of operational, marketing, training and business development resources. In particular, its advanced digital marketing capabilities and global media partnerships will change the way luxury homes are marketed in Singapore and the region. PI: How does Malaysia complement List Sotheby’s International Realty, Singapore? LBH: Undoubtedly, now being close by to Singapore, (it is) easier to do business as clients travel directly to Singapore, and are always updated on sales and purchasing options. List Sotheby’s International Realty, Singapore can be the focal point for Malaysian investors looking to invest in luxury residential properties in Singapore or globally. PI: How does technology figure in List Sotheby’s International Realty, Singapore’s marketing?
Property Insight (PI): Can you share about your appointment as the COO in Nov 2016 and what the job entails?
LBH: List Sotheby’s International Realty, Singapore operates the best online platform to list its properties globally on sothebyrealty.com and its 140 affiliates’ websites. Its global media partners include New York Times, Financial Times and Juwai.com. Using mobile or virtual reality applications also create opportunities for referrals from other affiliates and our auction house.
(Leong Boon Hoe) LBH: I am solely responsible for the management and development of the core business, brokerage, project marketing, investment advisory, research and consulting services. An investment team was set up to advise and broker cross-border transactions in South East Asia to market luxurious
PI: How does the digital platform operate? LBH: Sotheby’s International Realty® partners a wide array of global media, using traditional and advanced digital marketing tools. This adds to the reach and grants affiliates easy access to
62 I July 2017
potential clients. Through the virtual reality (platform), clients from Singapore can experience viewing their desired properties and gain global access to properties located in the United States and vice versa. This combined digitalisation and media partnerships paid off handsomely when Sotheby’s International Realty® achieved S$134 billion in global sales volume and 120,000 transactions for the year 2016 – a record in the history of the brand. Outside the United States, it achieved S$14 billion in sales volume after expanding into Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. PI: Have you sold any projects since your office set-up in Singapore? LBH: For a start, we have been appointed exclusively to sell a S$20.8 million seafront bungalow on Sentosa island. We are also closing deals to exclusively sell several super-penthouses and iconic overseas properties. PI: How do you identify hotspots? LBH: We don’t focus on price tags but on prime locations. In Malaysia, such prime locations will include but are not limited to Bangsar, Bukit Bintang, Mont Kiara, Damansara Heights and the Petronas KLCC Twin Towers. In Singapore, our area focus will be the Central Regions (both the core and the rest of the Central Regions). PI: Share with us your clientele’s average portfolio. LBH: Luxury residential properties, locally and regionally, usually form part of ultra high-net-worth (UHNW)individuals’ investment portfolio. Such properties offer them luxury, pride of ownership and yields. We are able to provide access to a wide array of such luxury properties around the globe - from vineyards, seaside mansions, ski-resorts, apartments in metropolitan cities and even private islands. PI: Which locations are mostly sought after by Malaysian and Singaporean buyers? LBH: Our clients invest for various reasons - for use, growth, legacy planning and yields, among others. UK, Australia and parts of the United States regularly tops the wish list for their children’s education and legacy planning. Investing in holiday homes in regional destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia could be for their growth potential, yields and personal use. PI: Any plans to set up an office here? LBH: Malaysia is an important market for us and we are certainly looking forward to operating in Malaysia when the opportunities arise.
The Sotheby’s brand name
is synonymous with prestige and discernment. This gives us access and insights to ultra-high net worth clients of the world. And because of our reach, properties listed exclusively with us will be exposed to all our affiliate offices and their clients globally, which creates a very strong marketing proposition for these same clients” - Leong Boon Hoe
Most Recent Milestones * In 2014, List Sotheby’s International Realty, Japan Realty, Japan completed one of the largest transactions for a 6,620 sq ft semi-detached house at Bishopsgate Residences in Singapore’s District 10. It was transacted at S$25.8m to a Sotheby’s Auction House client, with the transacted price setting a record then, despite cooling measures and the implementation of the total debt service ratio framework. * Sotheby’s International Realty® brand was the number one real estate company represented in two of the six categories that comprised the 2016 REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal “Top Thousand” report. * In January 2017, Sotheby’s International Realty® was recognised as the “Most Trusted Residential Real Estate Brokerage” in the United States by a Lifestory Research report.
Source: Sotheby’s International Realty®
July 2017 I 63
CBRE RESEARCH ASIA PACIFIC INVESTOR INTENTIONS SURVEY 2017
Fewer investors intend to deploy more capital this year
lobal real estate adviser CBRE shared its fourth annual CBRE Investor Intentions Survey focusing on the forward looking views of real estate investors in Asia Pacific. The survey was carried out online between Dec 8, 2016 and Jan 25, 2017. A total of 504 responses were received., an increase from the 341 responses received in 2016. 80% of respondents were companies domiciled in Asia Pacific while the other 20% were domiciled primarily in Western Europe, the Middle East and North America. Here are the findings below: • • • • •
Investment motivations are increasingly being driven by yield spread. The emphasis on capital appreciation has weakened due to the current market cycle. An increasing number of investors view potential interest rate hikes as a major concern. Australia retained its status as the preferred crossborder investment destination, increasing its lead over second place held by Japan. Outbound investment is set to remain robust but Asia has overtaken Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) as investors’ preferred destination. Investors are moving up the risk curve in order to achieve their target returns.
% of investors intending to buy more
Economic worries are still the main concern but there is more apprehension around the rate cycle
GLOBAL ECONOMIC SHOCK
FASTER THAN EXPECTED INTEREST RATE HIKES
64 I July 2017
More investors are motivated by yield spread
INVESTOR MOTIVATION DIVERGES
(Real estate funds)
*SWIPe include sovereign wealth funds, insurance firms and pension funds
Major markets remain the primary focus but interest in Vietnam rises significantly*
KEY INVESTMENT DRIVER
Attractive risk / Return profile Stronger economic fundamentals driving rental growth
*Results are based on cross border investors. Cross-border refers to respondents domiciled in a different country to the most attractive destination selected *Results are based on the cross border investors. Cross border refers to repon
July 2017 I 65
Who Moved Our
The Impact of Technology Disruptors on Real Estate and Everyday Life 66 I July 2017
About The Contributor
hen we entered 2017, there were plenty of uncertainties and changes - economically, politically and also climate-wise. Brexit, as reflected in a June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the European Union (EU) and the victory of President Donald Trump are merely two factors added to many other issues. And, as the saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them”. Embrace technology and change. It’s time to either be Sniff or Scurry as seen in the bestseller, “Who Moved My Cheese” written by Spenser Johnson. Sniff out the changes earlier on, and scurry into action. Denying, defying and resisting change will only bring sorrow, as experienced by Hem. So, whatever the cheese you desire to have in life - whether it is a job, relationship, money, luxurious house, freedom, health, recognition, peace or even an activity like jogging or golf, let’s not be victims of technology disruptions. With the dawning of the Internet of Things (IoT), our daily lives are rapidly enmeshed by technology, from waking up in the morning to laying our heads down for the night. It’s becoming impossible to ignore it, even for those who may not want to fully embrace its promised utopia. The younger generation may have found the adoption easier, having grown up in tune with technologically advanced gadgets and having a mosaic mindset so that is attuned to Information Technology (IT). All thanks to the late Steve Jobs for making technology so interactive and effective. Technology as a disruptor of the old and the cause of creative destruction of long-established industries is already
here and now. With the rise of mobile phones, we saw the demise of fixed-line telephones and smartphones eclipsing their analogue versions. Skype and WhatsApp have replaced traditional phone calls, and Telcos are scrambling to create new business models out of old. Otherwise, like dinosaurs, they would die out soon or become obsolete. In the Banking industry, Fintech is coming, with Bitcoin and crowdfunding being part of this emerging financial landscape. The same is true of GRAB and UBER which have replaced the way traditional cabs fetch customers. TECHNOLOGY MOVES PROPERTY In the property industry, technology and democratisation of information have already been adopted by estate agents and media providers in terms of property listing websites, advertising, property launches, mass mailing and videos. Classified advertisements have also almost all migrated online. With access to infomation at the fingertips of consumers, the value proposition of intermediaries will definitely come down. Buyers (and sellers) will be as aware of market pricing and availability as their agents, thus eroding any business advantages agents and advisers can offer. There will be impact on fees, irrespective of any statutory fee scale that the licensing board may propose - not just for agents but also professionals such as valuers. Neighbouring Singapore is a good case study. Hotels are now also facing competition from the shared economy as seen in Airbnb taking off. Scalability at little cost is the key, and no hospitality operator can match this growth or resist its emergence, an idea of which its time has arrived. Technology has attracted and made entrepreneurs out of passive property owners and homemakers. More so in instances when it is hard to get long term tenants.
Brian Koh is Executive Director of property consultancy and valuers, Nawawi Tie Leung Real Estate Consultants Sdn Bhd and a keen observer of the property market.
Thus, owners can now enjoy the option of hosting daily guests or long term tenants, with little intermediary costs. Indeed, it is now possible to market to the entire planet as potential prospects. Online sales is slowly but surely biting off market shares from physical shops and malls. Think of the Amazons and Alibabas of the world. The online sales of books to groceries, and shopping at one’s fingertips is no longer a dream but a daily reality for some. Buying is no longer restricted to traditional catchment areas that are bound by limitations of travelling time and distance. This is because global logistics have made products easily available to be delivered to one’s doorstep. Even for US sellers which do not ship offshore, thanks to Pos Malaysia’s EZiPoz, buyers can now engage them by having goods facilitated via a US hub address. How this will play out in a bricks-cumclick equilibrium remains to be seen. Serviced offices, centralised shared services offices and offshoring are mere symptoms of the changing office-scape arising from technology. Operating 24/7, key multinationals are already servicing their clients at locations that offer the cheapest unit cost. Before long, even some of these people staffing them will be replaced by machines but this may take yet some time with artificial intelligence becoming the next big thing. Working from home and hot desking are technology enabled phenomenon, with the tables at local kopitiams and Starbucks being the work desks for Millennials. Thus, the need for fixed expensive office spaces will decline as companies downsize and economise. July 2017 I 67
To Buy or To Rent?
urchasing a house is a big deal, especially if it is your first property. This may be the biggest purchase decision you will make and therefore, it is advisable to make the right decision before committing to that huge purchase. The first question to ask yourself is whether it is necessary to own a house or is the option to rent more feasible. BUYING VERSUS RENTING Owning your own home can give you a sense of pride and accomplishment as well as the security of having a roof over your head. When you buy a house, you increase your net worth as you pay off the loan. Each monthly payment you make reduces the outstanding balance and increases the equity on your house. Paying off your housing loan will also allow you to refinance your house if you have a need for cash in the future. Refinancing should only be considered if you have sufficient equity on your house backed by good reasons and a need for taking that additional loan. Similarly, rental rates can increase from year to year. The
68 I July 2017
principal amount of your housing loan will be reduced with each payment you make. In addition, as the housing market grows, the value of the house will appreciate with time, especially if it is in a good location. Although buying a house sounds great, it may not be affordable for everyone. These are some other added commitments and issues that may come along with a house purchase:• Owning a house may take up a lot of your time as you have to handle repairs and the general upkeep of the house • Small improvements you make to your house can add up to your expenses • Being tied down to monthly loans might affect your other financial commitments • Even if you are not happy with your new neighbourhood, you cannot simply move out until the value of your house appreciates before you can sell it • Unexpected events can bring down the value of your house. For instance, the area may be prone to floods or the access road to your house may be affected by a new housing development.
WHEN YOU SHOULD RENT Owning a house gives you a sense of security but renting a house can equip you with greater freedom. Below are some guidelines to follow when considering if you should rent, rather than buy:• When you cannot afford the monthly instalment payments or initial down payment • When you expect the property market to soften • When you are scouting for a suitable location to buy a house • When you do not want to worry about maintenance and repair costs BUYING FOR INVESTMENT If this is not your first house and you wish to buy for investment purposes, below are some questions you could consider before making a decision:• What type of property will increase my financial worth? • How much rental income can I expect from my property? Is it sufficient to cover my financing cost? • Will I be able to handle long-term ownership and maintenance of the property especially in the event my cash flow is not consistent or if my property is not tenanted? Since properties are not liquid (assets) and cannot be sold quickly, will this be a problem for me when there is a need for cash? Investing in property can be a powerful wealth-building tool but in order to become a landlord, you must be willing to deal with the responsibilities below:• Personally collect rental monthly knowing there may be instances when the rent is delayed or not even paid • Possibility of having to deal with tenants who fail to pay the monthly rental whereby you may have to end up evicting them • Follow up with repair and maintenance works • Entering into a tenancy agreement with the tenant • Ensuring rental income submission for tax • Paying the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) on the gains from the sale of your property Incidentally, you can engage professionals to take care of the above but their services will come at a cost. FIVE FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING PROPERTY Many factors need to be considered and factored in when purchasing property. Here are five pointers to consider in order to ascertain the property is right for you:-
NON-FINANCIAL AND FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS There are two aspects to consider before buying a house which can be classified as non-financial and financial considerations. In terms of non-financial aspects, the most important consideration for buying a property for investment or residential purpose is location. You may want to ascertain where you would like to live
and the kind of neighborhood that suits your needs. Ideally, your residence should be situated nearby grocery shops, banks, post office, schools, hospitals, recreational parks and so on. Other considerations include feasible travel distance to your work place and whether public transportation is available.
IS THE PROPERTY LANDED OR HIGH-RISE? You would also need to determine whether the property type is landed or high-rise. In general, landed property costs more. This is especially true of property located nearer to the city centre. High-rise condominiums and apartments on the other hand, provide more facilities and are generally more affordable than landed properties.
IS THE PROPERTY FREEHOLD OR LEASEHOLD? The type of ownership would either be freehold or leasehold. When you buy a freehold property, you get to own the unit for an indefinite period. A leasehold property meanwhile lets you own the property for the lease period which is normally up to a period of 99 years. After the lease period is over, the property reverts to the state authority. This is unless the lease is renewed (for which a premium is payable to the state authority). Due to this, a freehold property tends to command a higher price over a leasehold property.
DOES THE PROPERTY HAVE AN INDIVIDUAL OR STRATA TITLE? The availability of the title of the property – be it individual or strata is important. Home owners would be issued an individual title for landed properties while a strata title will be given for condominiums or apartments. You will need to check if there are encumbrances or restrictions in interest on the property you are buying. These restrictions may affect the transferability or saleability of the property hence, it is best to get a lawyer to advise you before paying any deposit for the purchase.
REPUTATION MATTERS Lastly, the reputation of the developer matters as most developers of newly launched projects tend to adopt a sell-thenbuild approach. Therefore, if you are buying a new house, you will initially not be able to see what you are paying for. A good idea would be to check on the track record of the developer and assess their projects to see if they keep to their promises. You may want to ascertain the developer’s track record by asking the following questions:July 2017 I 69
• • • •
In the past, have the developers delivered their properties on time? What is the quality of their work? Have they provided all the amenities as listed in their marketing brochures? Do they have any abandoned projects? Please bear in mind that you are liable for all disbursements made by the lender although you do not get delivery of the house.
About The Contributor
FINANCIAL ASSESSMENTS You should assess your cash flow and net worth to determine your financial standing. These statements serve as your financial scorecard that could be used as a reference later when you make other money-related decisions. Basically, there are two main affordability issues to consider down payment and other related costs. A good estimate for the down payment on a house would be about 10% to 20% of the purchase price. You would also need to set aside another 5% to 10% for related costs such as legal fees and stamp duties. HOW TO PAY FOR THE ABOVE COSTS ? You can consider the following options to obtain funds towards your house purchase:1. Personal savings (a higher down payment will lower your cost of borrowing) 2. Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Savings account to make the initial down payment but subject to your withdrawal eligibility 3. Applying for loan facility FACTORS TO CONSIDER FOR LOAN FACILITY Firstly, check on your debt-to-income ratio and ensure all your other loans including credit cards, car loan and so on do not exceed 50% (subject to the bank’s terms and condition) of your net monthly income. In addition, you may want to buy insurance like Mortgage Reducing Term Assurance (MRTA) which provides coverage in the event of death or total permanent disability, for the unpaid portion of the housing loan. Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio is the margin of financing you may get from the bank which is dependent on the type of property, existing loans and repayment capacity of the borrower. Lastly, you may select the type of loan packages that are available in the market that best suits your requirements. Some of the loans include Conventional loans, Islamic financing loan, Flexi loan and so on. CONCLUSION Knowing your capabilities is crucial for embarking on a long term commitment such as buying a house. Before making the decision, know your risks and ask yourself whether you would be able to keep up with your housing loan repayments. Failing to do so may have you ending up losing your house besides all the money you have paid for the house. If the lender decides to auction your house, you will be liable for any shortfall arising from the auction. 70 I July 2017
Dr. Desmond Chong Kok Fei is a Trainer and Head of the Financial Education Department, Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK). He has over 25 years’ working experience in marketing and management, covering both the local and overseas markets. His significant work experience with accountants in delivering comprehensive financial planning services has helped many companies and individuals to achieve their plans. He is a Registered Financial Planner RFP and Shariah RFP. He obtained his Doctorate in Business Administration in 2003.
Checklist before buying a house:•
Have you done a background check on the developer, especially if you are buying a house under construction?
Do you know the encumbrances and restrictions in interest on the title?
Do you have enough money to make the down payment?
Can you afford to pay the monthly instalments comfortably?
Do you know the incidental fees or costs that you have to pay?
Is the interest rate fixed or pegged to the Base Lending Rate (BLR)?
Is there a penalty if you redeem your loan before the tenure expires?
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS
wning a house has always been one of the major goals for Malaysians. No doubt, having a roof over one’s head is one of the few key aspirations in life. However, many first-time homebuyers, especially fresh graduates or individuals under 30 are struggling to be able to buy properties within the Klang Valley. Getting into the property market for the first time is undeniably a huge commitment. And, it seems like the exponential high price to own a house remains out of reach for the common Malaysian. According to the report “Making Housing Affordable” by Khazanah Research Institute in 2015, the overall Malaysian housing market is “seriously unaffordable”. What “affordable housing” means is that besides being able to afford a property purchase, one should also be able to maintain a minimum standard of living after paying off the monthly housing loan instalment. However, with the rising cost of living permeating daily household items including food and other necessities such as petrol coupled with escalating property prices, the average household is finding it more difficult to stretch out their finances to afford their own property purchase. Last year alone, Malaysia hit a household debt of 89.1% or RM1.03 trillion with Bank Negara Malaysia acknowledging that housing affordability is a challenge.
COMMON CHALLENGES One of the most common challenges faced by most first-time homebuyers is the down payment. Most mortgage lenders require first-time buyers to
come up with a 10% down payment for the purchase of the unit. For instance, a RM500,000 residential unit would require a RM50,000 down payment which may be a hefty sum for first-time buyers to come up with. Accumulating the deposit or down payment is indeed a challenge for first-time homebuyers. This is because it may take some time to obtain the amount needed, especially when there are so many other living costs to attend to. Furthermore, many first-time homebuyers now have to find areas they can afford to live in rather than purchase property in the areas they want to live in. In addition, most new property prices exclude desirable locations as most of the housing projects will either be outside or on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Although there may be setbacks and challenges for first-time homebuyers, the key to owning a property is to do some research and homework first.
FIRST THINGS FIRST Firstly, carry out research on developers selling the properties. It is generally wise to buy from established developers with good track records who have consistently delivered high quality homes on time. Since many developers are now getting increasingly competitive by offering more attractive unique selling propositions and better price points to entice sales, one can be on the lookout for good buys and special promotion packages. This will be a great opportunity to take advantage of the attractive packages, discounts and other incentives that are being offered. First-time homebuyers are more likely to find their dream home as developers are launching more affordable units. Secondly, the search for properties that are surrounded by good infrastructure and connectivity is made easier now as many locations are equipped with mass rapid transit (MRT) stations and highways linked to many areas. Thus, distance will not be an issue in this case. And, if you are thinking for the long-term, look for properties within well-planned townships that come with amenities and facilities such as hospitals, supermarkets and schools. Living in KL city may be great for your work but may not be ideal for a nuclear family in which some may
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Dato’ KK Chua is the Strategic Adviser and Managing Director of Armani Media. He is also a registered Real Estate Agent and an investor with more than 10 years experience in the industry. He can be contacted at email@example.com
prefer living in the suburban areas. Thirdly, you can consider purchasing your first home under the (1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme) PR1MA scheme. PR1MA’s aim is to build affordable homes that are priced at least 20% less than the market value. It is one of the most popular affordable housing projects that is aimed to benefit the lower and middle-income households. Houses under this project come in various types and sizes and are located in urban areas. These units are priced between RM100,000 and RM400,000. The programme is designed to suit different household’s needs. As of January 2017, PR1MA has 231 approved projects comprising 266,400 units nationwide. Moreover, in Budget 2017, the government announced measures to help the property market such as allocating more funds to build affordable homes and increasing the stamp duty exemption from 50% to 100% for houses costing up to RM300,000. The moratorium period will be reduced from 10 years to five years. This means you can rent or sell your property after the fifth year. The monthly income eligibility to purchase PR1MA houses has been increased from RM10,000 to RM15,000. The properties are offered via an open ballot represented in the drawing of lots. To become a qualified candidate, you will need to complete a registration process and get a number. Thereafter, you can submit an application for balloting to the PR1MA property of your choice. July 2017 I 71
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