Friday, October 19, 2007

Top grade Malaysian properties relatively more affordable

Top grade Malaysian properties relatively more affordable

WHAT? A 500 sq ft apartment priced at RM5mil?

Thankfully, it is still not what you have to pay in Malaysia but is what you have to pay for many properties in tiny Hong Kong.

In land scarce Hong Kong where tall apartments fight for space everywhere, property prices are astronomical even by Hong Kong standards. Yet, people are prepared to invest their hard-earned money to buy a home even if it is a “rabbit hutch”.

This is partly because they are so used to living on the island or in the New Territories and have nowhere to go. Although some have migrated to Australia, Canada and the United States, others choose to find their “pot of gold” in Hong Kong.

A Malaysian woman who has been living in Hong Kong for the past seven or eight years boasted: “I have several properties in Hong Kong including a nice apartment with a good view of the sea. It is one of the top 10 condos in Hong Kong. The 2,400 sq ft unit was priced just below HK$10,000 per square foot (psf) when I bought it several years ago. Today, it is worth about HK$13,000 psf.” (HK$100=RM45.3)

Why doesn't she sell it and buy a few high-end condominiums in Kuala Lumpur instead? Well, the woman who is married to a Hong Kong man, said she is used to her “interesting” lifestyle in Hong Kong but more importantly, she feels safe.

C. C. Pan (right) with guests and buyers at the BRDB exhibition cum first overseas customers' appreciation dinner held at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong on Sept 22.
However, in recent years with our property developers building more quality high-end residential properties, foreigners are snapping up local properties.

The main reason is that Malaysian properties are very affordable. Some consider it “dirt-cheap”.

They probably realise that they can buy several five-star condominiums in Malaysia for the price of a three-star condominium in Hong Kong.

According to Colliers International (Hong Kong) latest market review, the average luxury residential price rose 4.3%, quarter to quarter, to HK$10,333 psf as at the end of May 2007.

“With the limited supply situation and sustained market sentiment, the luxury residential price is expected to forge ahead 11% Y-on-Y (year-on-year) in the next 12 months while the luxury residential rental is forecast to grow upward 8% Y-on-Y,” it added.

The writer recently visited their Bel-Air No 8 (eight towers designed by Foster and Partners) and liked the nice designs and massive clubhouse facilities but was shocked by the high prices - HK$10,000 to HK$14,000 psf on the average!

Bel-Air No 8 is part of the US$2bil Cyberport project comprising four modern office buildings, a retail complex and a 173-room international hotel. Since the first launch of Bel-Air in February 2003, over 2,300 of its luxury residences have been sold, generating total revenue of close to US$3.7bil.

The completed Bel-Air at the Peak (by a different architect), looks more like medium cost apartments but their prices are in the millions of Hong Kong dollars.

It's just as expensive elsewhere in Hong Kong.

BRDB's high-end project, The Troika in the KLCC area.
A Branksome Crest penthouse with 7,088 sq ft and 2,800 sq ft roof garden including a private swimming pool is asking for HK300mil! A 3,639 sq ft condominium in the Central area is asking for HK$45mil while a 3,798 sq ft Tregunter Tower 3 unit is asking for HK$60mil!

Indeed, Malaysians are so lucky to be able to buy properties that are a fraction of the price in London, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Malaysian expatriates working in Hong Kong and those who have Hong Kong spouses have also bought some of the local properties.

Hence, it was not surprising to find a steady stream of people, including many Malaysian expatriates working in Hong Kong, visiting the recent Bandar Raya Developments Bhd property exhibition at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. Nine units of The Troika and three units of the One Menerung were sold and more buyers are said to be signing up soon.

The Troika's average selling price is RM4.2mil and in terms of per square foot, is around RM1,800. One Menerung's average price for a 3,300 sq ft unit is RM2.9mil onwards or an average of RM950 psf.

A young couple who wished to be known only as Mr & Mrs Tan (husband is a Malaysian from Penang. He is the managing director of the hedge fund division of a renowned financial institution while his Hong Kong wife is vice-president of a financial institution), said they bought a 2,505 sq ft unit in The Troika at about RM1,000 psf when it was launched.

They were pleased when told that the unit has appreciated in value to RM1,800 psf.

“We bought it because of the BRDB and Foster and Partners names and its excellent location,” said Dr Tan, 36. The couple said they preferred not to buy properties that were “too cheap” and would always go for good quality products at market price.

“We're very happy with the waiving of the RPGT. We hope the stamp duty could be waived as well as we are considering buying another Troika unit,” said Mrs Tan, adding that many Hong Kong people were still unaware of Malaysian properties.

For latest Bursa Malaysia indices, charts and other information click here

No comments: