Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bukit Ceylon



My first focus will be on Bukit Ceylon. Partly because I live here and partly also because I made my 1st investment here 10 years ago. In my opinion, there has been too much hype on the 1km radius of KLCC. Bukit Ceylon is not KLCC, in fact it is just outside the 1km radius ring. It is a hidden jewel and for this reason, many investors here still talk about 10% returns on rental yield. But I don't think this is for long... Until recently (I am talking 2007), one can get prime 5-star property in Bukit Ceylon for just over RM600psf. Now it is hitting almost RM900psf and there is talk that the to be launched project by Wing Tai Asia along Jalan Ceylon will be peddled for nothing less than RM1000psf. Why this sudden surge? What makes Bukit Ceylon so attractive?

I'll post my opinions later but would also appreciate to hear what all of you say.

Before we go any further, I would like to introduce more of Bukit Ceylon. Referring to the google map above (click on the map to get a larger view), Bukit Ceylon is actually a hill bordered by Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Raja Chulan, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Pudu. It fringes on the glamourous and prestigious (Sultan Ismail/Bukit Bintang/Raja Chulan) and the notorious (Pudu). Within this enclave, you will find a very very diverse demographic from the rich and famous (the Sultan of Pahang has his palace here), the expatriates right down to the immigrant workers. There are premium condominiums, 5 star hotels and also ghetto-style walk-up flats. Even tenants in the same condominium can consist of senior executives of MNCs, right down to the tens of restaurant workers cramming into a single bedroom unit. I have personally seen this.
When investing in Bukit Ceylon, one has to be very selective. Not all the properties, even the supposedly high-end ones are in demand. Most long term investors, including myself would prefer freehold rather than leasehold properties. The leasehold ones here probably have less than 70 years of lease left in them... (well in the range of one's lifespan if starting young). City Gardens, Angkasa Impian 1 and Angkasa Impian 2 are the only 3 blocks that are leasehold.

City Gardens would probably serve well for own stay as it is located right on the quiet part of the hill and the low density spread. However, a fatal case where a lady fell from the only highrise block in the complex has not been very good publicity for the place. There is even word that she was thrown off her balcony by her estranged husband... just a rumour...



picture above: City Gardens

The 2 Angkasa Impians would probably do well for investors still hunting for that elusive double digit returns, if one doesn't mind the leasehold ownership. A one-bedroom unit here can fetch a minimum RM2000 rental and as high as RM3500/month. Generally for buyers, it costs 30% - 40% less than the neighbouring freehold properties. But there is an exception. Angkasa's immediate neighbour is freehold Mutiara Villa. It is still possible to get a smallish unit here for less than RM250,000 and earn almost RM2000/month rental despite the so-so quality of maintenance. There is much demand here and very difficult to find a seller. But some units perform better than others. Much depends on the unit's view, layout etc... with those facing KLCC and Menara KL (Telecom Tower) doing better. The reason for Mutiara Villa's success and hence lack of sellers is the fact that there are few condos now in this prime area at such relatively low rentals. In fact everything else in this area, we are talking about RM3k and up.

Right in the center of it all are the 2 competitors, Menara Bukit Ceylon and Seri Raja Chulan. Both offers 3 bedroom units with minimum size circa 1500sf and literally at the doorsteps of expats drinking holes and feeding ground of Changkat Bukit Bintang. The 2 buildings are surprisingly well maintained despite their age. The minimum rental here is at an affordable RM3500/month and can even fetch RM5000/month for those well done up ones. Asking and transacted prices are no less than RM600k and I heard of one transacted at RM750k recently. Seri Raja Chulan is lower density with only 4 units per floor while Menara Bukit Ceylon has 6 units per floor. Menara Bukit Ceylon is better positioned and those selling at a premium are facing KLCC and Menara KL. Avoid those facing Menara Bolton as there are plans to demolish the building and you'll be facing a construction site soon. For Seri Raja Chulan, avoid the units facing the walls of neighbouring Somerset Seri Bukit Ceylon and Downtown condomonium as you will hardly get any natural sunlight. Being built in the 80s also mean that they have very low ceiling despite their large sizes which makes one feel claustrophobic. I could literally touch the ceiling if standing on tip toe. Despite that, you will hardly find any sellers. And hardly anyone advertises for rent too as it goes by word of mouth and gone within days.

For those with a much lower budget, yearning for a low density freehold property in this location can either go for Mutiara Villa or Downtown condo. The latter is situated right beside Seri Raja Chulan but it does not compete. In fact, unlike Mutiara Villa, Downtown condo is in a slippery slope to failure. 2 sides of it's wall is litterally face to face with other buildings while the third which is currently facing a parking lot will see a huge construction. The maintenance is also very bad, I think a little worse than Mutiara Villa. It's facilties are no longer functionable except for the very tub they call a swimming pool.

At the top of the pecking order is Seri Bukit Ceylon. For a small development, it certainly multi-functions. The ground floor to the 3rd floor is commercial but some owners of the duplex offices have converted their units into chic lofts for residential use. 4th floor have some really good facilities, albeit a small-ish swimming pool but very under-utilized... which is good. 5th to 11th floor houses the 4-star serviced apartments owned by Somerset, a Singaporean hospitality group which also runs Ascott and Citadel brands throughout the world. The rest of the building consists of 4 exclusive duplex units sorrounding a roof top garden on the 23rd floor and 132 privately owned units of 2 bedrooms and 1 bedroom units. Some of the private owners furnish and let out their units to Somerset for a guaranteed return. Since it's launch in 2002, private owners have enjoyed a 110% capital appreciation and these first time buyers are getting almost 20% in rental yield. Even sub-sale buyers today can still enjoy double digit rental returns with 2-bedroom units most in demand and I know of at least one unit fetching RM8000 rental per month. Seri Bukit Ceylon is expected to maintain it's pole position until the completion of One Residency later this year 2008. The developer of Seri Bukit Ceylon, UMLand also owns the plot opposite and promises a project to rival all in the future.

picture above: Seri Bukit Ceylon
Besides Seri Bukit Ceylon, the other commercial titled residential property in Bukit Ceylon is Bidara 38. Unfortunately for Bidara, it has never really taken off. Partly due to it's unfortunate location which is facing the aircond compressors of Istana Hotel. Bidara also suffers from poor workmanship, bad layout designs and bad feng shui. It also comes with no parking - on top of the expensive maintenance fee, one has to pay RM150/month for a parking lot. However, the most desirable units here in my opinion are the 2 corners - one just above the swimming pool and the other corner facing KLCC. Go for the high floors or else the smell of the rubbish dump below and the noise from Istana's massive air conds may get to you.

picture above: Bidara 38 suffers from parking problem

Lastly, deserves mention is Menara Antara. Probably the highest condo in the city center. It is located almost at the top of Bukit Ceylon. Unfortunately, there is little I can write about this property as there has been no opportunity for me to view it from the inside due to hardly any sellers. The last 2 opportunities, the units were hardly in the market for 2 weeks before being snapped up. If one is willing to pay RM380k for a 1 bedroom unit which gives you only RM2000/month must speak some wonders about this place. I am very curious and would appreciate any readers' comments about it.

84 comments:

Helmy said...

Hi!

Enjoyed your reviews on the properties. I'm interested to purchase properties in Bukit Ceylon for investment purpose. Was scouting for Downtown until I saw your article & read your review that it is, 'in a slippery slope to failure'. Do you mean that literally as in, since it's located on a hill & so, susceptible to collapse, or just figuratively speaking?

sinleong said...

sorry if i have misled. it's not a slope problem. just bad management

Helmy said...

ok. tq for the clarification

Just want to ask for your opinion. Is RM400k for 1500sf at Downtown a good buy?

Where do you live anyway in Bukit Ceylon, and how much did you buy it for, and what's the built-up?

TQ

sinleong said...

there are basically 2 types of layouts in downtown condo. Layout 1 has either the Seri Bukit Ceylon building view or the Changkat Raja Chulan road view. Layout 2 faces KLCC and also a huge parking lot which will one day become a construction site for a commercial building. As such, I would say the only layout viable to be purchased is the one facing Changkat - but one of its' bedroom and kitchen faces Sri Raja Chulan and hence a bit dim. 2 years ago, one of such unit was available for sale at RM420k and later the owner agreed to lower to RM380k. It was tenanted at RM2400, hence not a very good investment. I doubt in today's market that any unit in Downtown will be able to fetch anything higher than RM2500 rent. Note that the maintenance fees is also high since the units are large... circa 1500sf...

Helmy said...

Hi again,

Thanks for the insights. It's surprising to know that for such a prime location, rental can only be RM2400. KLCC ones with that built-up can go up to RM10,000 isn't it? Guess the age of the property plays a big part too. The problem is, you can't find new properties of that size (1500sf) at RM400K nowadays. Sigh..

Helmy said...

Hi sinleong,

Is it possible for you to contact me? Just wanna ask for some more information regarding property investment at Bukit Ceylon. My e-mail add is helmy77@gmail.com

Tq

Helmy said...

Hi sinleong,

What are your views on new properties like 231TR, One Residency etc for investments? Do you have plans to buy them in the near future?

Also, how do you advertise for your property for rental? Do u use real estate agent or do you advertise in paper?

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Hi Sin Leong,
Tks alot for the interesting and informative article.

1. May I know when do you think is a good time to buy?

2. Is time square a better investment than Bukit Ceylon...

tks and have a great year

thim

sinleong said...

actually any time is a good time to buy as log as you've got a good deal. i think if you can calculate a 10% yield, that is a good deal - and that's only possible if sellers are willing to drop their prices below pre-2006 level. Take for example a 3 bedroom unit at Menara Bukit Ceylon which is usually transacted at RM600k. Recently one unit was transacted at RM480k. The rent is between RM3500 to RM4000... So, this is good deal or better still if it could be negotiated down to RM450k.

some people like times square... some don't. the units all come fully furnished and it can be managed by times square, meaning they will find tenants for you albeit mostly short term. However, i wondered if the furniture are now quite old and how much it would cost to refurbish. It is also very high density.. too many units to compete with.

eveonline said...

Nice blog. Seems you have a good grasp of the Bukit Ceylon area.

Just a query: how much would a studio or 1-bedroom unit in Angkasa Impian 1 or 2 cost nowadays? I think they are about 700+ sqft right? You mentioned a Mutiara Villa studio would be 250k but their sizes?

thanks

sinleong said...

i'm not sure there are any studio units in angkasa impian. certainly there are 1 bedroom units. there are 2 variants of the mutiara villa studio, one each in block A and B. would be around 600 to 700sf. I do not think there is much difference in price between angkasa and mutiara nowadays although angkasa is slightly newer and better maintained. angkasa is leasehold while mutiara villa is freehold.

SL

Anonymous said...

Helo Sin Leong,

what do you think of the potential / upside of wing tai project in Bkt Ceylon.?? Tq

sinleong said...

wing tai's project will bring up the profile of bukit ceylon a notch higher... currently that end of bukit ceylon only has 3 star quality condos (i.e. city gardens and regency tower). Wing tai will be 5 stars and rumored to launch at RM1000+ psf. A good execution will draw the fire away from KLCC area.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sin Leong,

I agreed with a price tag at RM 1000 psf it will give bukit ceylon neighbourhood a fresh look. But is Wing Tai being ambitious by placing a high end condo in a "secluded" place (Bkt Ceylon).?? As ever city dweller had a "lower" expectation of properties in Bkt Ceylon. Will St Mary rival Wing Tai project.?? Is St Mary on the same league with Wing Tai project.?? As both development are located within 1km from each other. Pls advice.!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, SinLeong,
is your TR231 ready for move-in ?
Jason

sinleong said...

yes n it was sold

gary said...

I purchased an apartment at Menara Bukit Ceylon in 1999 at RM375,000. Apart from being freehold, the other reasons for choosing MBC over others (1) workmanship of the original construction, far better than Seri Raja Chulan for example (2) all units 3-bedrooms thus more settled and committed community, not singles or crash pads, and (3) well maintained with good security. These days the proximity to the Changkat restaurants and bars is a nuisance, rather than a blessing, due to noise, traffic and litter but still, no regrets.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sin Leong,
do you happen to know who the developer was at Downtown apartments?
many thanks
James

sinleong said...

i believe it is UDA or one of their subsidiaries. why is this important? the MC should now be under the owners.

john said...

Hi Leong,

I'm deciding to take Angkas impian for investing ? what do you think. It is a fully renovated unit currently tenated . price 560k
thanks.
john
johnteknik@gmail.com

sinleong said...

Angkasa Impian is generally well managed. But it is leasehold and the design is very old fashioned. I don't know how this will stand in the long term. The smaller units, especially the one bedroom however is very popular.

john said...

Hi Leong,

Another one, i just visited Downtown condo recently , newly fully furnish. The room looks really nice after all, facing sommerset swimming pool. How good is it for a long term?
i heard from a friend the condo have water problem most of the time?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review Leong. Well written IMO.

My office near Bkt Ceylon. Would like to add One Residency IMO not a good investment.

Firstly, buyers should check out their narrow and 1.9m max height carpark. Imagine how a SUV going to park there.

2nd, too much glass, going to be a green house.

3rd, design looks more like an office block. Do you like to work in the office and stay in the office 24hr a day?

Noted the occupancy rate is very low. I walk pass the area every night. Looks like less than 10% occupied.

Any good old condos for sale pls do let us know. Am looking for a place near office. Any recommendation? Budget ~600k, 3 rooms.

sinleong said...

for your budget, or less, u shud be able to get something in menara bukit ceylon, menara antara, mutiara villa and seri raja chulan. keep an eye in the classifieds...

Anonymous said...

Hi SL,

Price has been inflated very high. Angkasa Impian II asking >600k ~650k. Menara Bukit Ceylon >700k. Gross ROI same as bank BLR. Think we have missed the boat. Still worth to invest in this area?

sinleong said...

yes, the older buildings in bukit ceylon do not justify their prices with that kind of rental. there are some newer buildings coming up in bkt ceylon with even higher prices. they will set a new benchmark and the risk is they won't make it. if that happens, then the price will crash and we can try to catch the boat again.

Anonymous said...

Thks SL. Being eyeing this area for some time. Friend of mine snapped up not 1 but 2 units of Vipod! Conservative me prefer to stay put and look at older ones. You know the agent Ricky of Bkt Ceylon? Sound very lansi on the phone. Wonder how is the real person.

sinleong said...

yes, i come across this chap before. without defaming him on my blog, i'd say he comes across as someone terribly impatient and considers everyone who don't buy from him as wasting his time. nevertheless he is an old timer and he knows the area well. other potential buyers have complained that he often advertises using the pictures of other units but quoting prices of cheaper units.

Anonymous said...

Ok, leave the agent aside. Good agent bad agent we are buying house not agent .. hehe.

Anyway, visited City Garden recently. Understand only left 69 yrs. Some of the lower units experience termites problem. But, what impress me was the land area, the largest in BC. Understand the developer even keeping some low units as stores. Impression that I got is they are waiting for takeover redevelopment.

Impian 1 is well maintain except the 2 entrances not so strategically located. Agent claimed still have at least 85 yrs title, wonder how accurate. Return also not so attractive barely cover BLR. Yup, the architectural really old fashion, like Spore HDB flat really put me off but come to think of it if tenant does mind why you mind :P.

sinleong said...

hi,
City gardens and angkasa impian are attractive to tenants because their rent is cheap. The rent is cheap because the entry cost is low and the entry cost is low because they are leasedhold. so, if you don't mind leasedhold, go for it. I agree with you that going for older apartments and renovating the interior is probably better than paying sky high for the new ones. location is the same. I have done the same for my unit in Mutiara Villa which is a 20 year old building. I have also seen some really good work done in older units in Downtown and Seri Raja Chulan. Mutiara Villa, Downtown and SRC are freehold btw.

Anonymous said...

Hi
I might be the odd one here that quite like Bidara,as it has 2br and 2 bth for a 700sf size.
Do you think rm500k is a good buy for the high floor?How is the occupancy rate and is this condo in high demand for rental?I understand that the current rental is around 2.3-2.8k? Please kindly share your wise comments on this.
Thanks

sinleong said...

actually bidara is OK la... my problem with it is the expensive car park rental. the location is good depending on which side you are facing. problem is the 2br/2b 700sf units are facing istana hotel's big aircon compressor which can be noisy and hot while the other side is the afternoon sun. but high floor should be OK if it elevates you to the istana hotel pool view. the price depends on how you perceive as good returns. if rental is only 2.5k (maintenance fee here expensive), then it's not so good if you also have to rent the car park. car park's in this area is worth almost RM100k.

Edith said...

Hi again SinLeong,

I have a new question about Bidara 38: There is a unit /w pool view, 704sf, simple but nicely furnished going for 510K. Do you think it would be easy to rent out, and if so, for how much? How much is the maintenance fee exactly? Worth the price in your opinion?
Many thanks, always.

sinleong said...

Edith,
The 704sf units in Bidara are intermediate units. The 2nd bedroom has little natural light as it's facing the back air-well. Although Bidara looks nice from the outside, the inside lift and terrace feels like a low cost flat, dark and with low ceiling. Another thing to note is the floor and the view. If you are facing Istana hotel, make sure you are above the swimming pool floor of the hotel or else you are facing a wall. Also make sure the unit is away from the hotel's aircon compressor or you will get this humming sound all the time. If facing the other side, you get the hot afternoon sun. Bidara is also commercial titled, maintenance fee if I remember is RM0.50psf and car park is extra. This unit is however can be easily rented at RM3000/month

Edith said...

Thanks, SinLeong,

I'm considering between 2 units in Bidara; one is on the top floor, overlooking the Bidara pool, but someone told me that in the future, all the low-cost flats in back will be replaced by high-rise buildings, so it's better to stay away from that side. The other unit is on the 11th floor, corner unit, with view of Hotel Istana pool. It's also a bigger unit. Price is almost the same. Which would you recommend? Thanks always.

sinleong said...

edith,
It will be unlikely that the walk-up flats will be replaced by high-rise. almost impossible because they are individually owned. and we dont have en bloc laws in malaysia. nevertheless, the unit facing bidara pool also faces the afternoon sun which is less desirable by tenants. which corner are u talking about? the 2-br unit or the 3br unit?

Edith said...

Hi SinLeong,

The top floor unit is only 706st, overlooking Bidara pool, not a corner unit, but nicely done up. The 899sf corner unit is on the 10th floor, facing One Residency, with a view of the Hotel Istana pool from the right corner of the balcony only, not looking directly at it. This unit needs some reno, but the size is bigger. Do you think a unit with view of KLCC/Lot 10 would be more desirable to tenants? Do you feel the market is a bit inflated at the moment and it might be better to wait, or do you think 500+K is reasonable for Bidara units if they can only fetch 2500~2800/mo? I see a lot of ads for nice units for rent in this price range. Seem to be a lot of units on the market for sale & rental. Not sure what to do. Many thanks.

sinleong said...

This 899sf is actually a 3 bedroom unit. So, you can imagine the bedrooms are extremely small, the apartment is really compact.

Yes, the prices are inflated at the moment. Better to wait.

Edith said...

Hi again SinLeong,

Actually, I've seen the floor plan for the 899sf unit, and it looks like only 2 bdrms, not so cramped from the photos, either. Of all the units in Bidara
(706/756/783/899sf), which has the best layout in your opinion? I know they're all shaped a bit funny. Would you be more likely to go for 899sf on the 10th floor, or 706sf on the top floor, if both had more or less the same view & cost the same price? Sorry to keep picking your brain!

sinleong said...

hi,
If the corner unit has one side facing hotel istana pool and another side facing one residency, then it's a 3 bedroom. if it has one side facing one residency, and the other side facing changkat bukit bintang (radius hotel), then it's a 2br unit. the 2 br unit has a large balcony that almost wraps around the unit. it faces the afternoon sun too but it should be more marketable than the 706sf. it's more spacious but also need to pay more maintenance fees which is calculated on sf.

Edith said...

Thanks, I guess I was looking at the wrong floor plan. So there are 2 units @899sf but with different layout? The one with the wraparound balcony has a good layout; it's just that afternoon sun that bothered me. I suppose the only thing for me to do is come to Malaysia to view all the units firsthand and choose the one I like best. Really appreciate all your advice. Just one more question: If I could still get a 640sf unit in Seri Bukit Ceylon for 540K, even on a lower floor, do you think tht would be a wiser investment than Bidara? Thanks so much.

sinleong said...

i don't have good memory of floor size. i believe the 3br unit is about the same size but should not be the same as 899sf.
personally, i think for the same price, seri bukit ceylon is a better buy because it's better managed, it's sharing the same building as somerset and hence it's easier to rent. maintenance fees are cheaper (RM0.36psf) and you get 1 free car park. the 640sf has klcc view too..

Edith said...

Hi again, SinLeong,

Can you please tell me what you would consider a good price for a 570sf unit in Seri Bukit Ceylon on a lower floor? There's one I'm interested in, but don't know what it's really worth. Nice interior, tenanted at 2800/mo. Please advise. Many thanks.

sinleong said...

the 570sf are very hard to come by...only about 12 units in total. they are the easiest to rent out because they r the cheapest in somerset. they shud be worth about RM480k. if u can get any cheaper, buy... don't think

Edith said...

Actually, they are asking 530K. I guess this is overpriced, then, even though there are so few units? Another 640sf unit going for 540K would probably be a better deal, then? Also, 989sf going for 600K. What to do? Thanks.

sinleong said...

u can get a 989sf unit in Seri Bukit Ceylon for RM600k? really?

Edith said...

That's a SOHO unit. The agent says the rental can fetch 3500. But he seemed to think residential units were better, because the SOHO had no view. What do you think? And what's your opinion of the other two I mentioned?
Thanks so much.

sinleong said...

yeah..u dont get a car park with the SOHO unit, the maintenance fees also very high at RM0.50psf compared with the residential units at RM0.36psf. RM540k for the 640sf is reasonable since its got the best views,....of KLCC. i was offered this price 2 years ago but i decided later on not to sell

Edith said...

Hi, oh, thanks, I didn't know that about the parking space. So, do you think the 640sf is still preferable to the 570sf, even if I can negotiate the price down on the smaller unit? You did say that these units are harder to come by, and that they have a window in the bathroom (corner unit?).
I assume your unit is bigger than 640sf. and probably on a higher floor. This one's on the lowest, so not sure what the KLCC view is like. Trouble is, it's tenanted and I can't get in to see it. I've only seen a couple of pics. Bit risky to buy something without proper viewing first, right?

sinleong said...

Edith, mine is a 640sf facing KLCC. The lowest floor is the 13th floor which still has unblocked views. IN any case, you should never buy any property without viewing. You should meet the tenant too because u r buying the property with tenancy.

Edith said...

Hi SinLeong,

Thanks for your comments. I'm still on the fence between Bidara and SBC. Someone told me that the maintenance fee at SBC is now up to 42sen/sf. Is that true? You told me just recently that it's 36psf, so you must be right. Please confirm.
If I could just get in to see that 640sf unit selling at 540K, I'd probably take it. But I do like Bidara's big wraparound balcony and nice view of One Residency's pool.
Do you think the view of KLCC from SBC's 640sf units will remain unblocked? Aren't there a lot of other buildings in close proximity to SBC? Is there sufficient privacy in the units? No feeling of claustrophobia?
Sorry for all the questions.

sinleong said...

SBC just had an AGM 2 weeks ago. i am not aware if the mtce fees have gone up. i hope not. the KLCC view may one day be blocked. next to SBC is menara PMI which is about 11-12 floors. next to it is a temple parking lot. this may give way to future development. but whatever goes up here will definitely be iconic considering the cost of the land. if you crave for privacy, you should avoid both SBC and Bidara. both have long corridors with at least 10 - 12 units per floor. you should go for menara bukit ceylon (6 units per floor), Seri raja chulan and downtown both have 4 units per floor. i advice you to view the unit in SBC and meet the tenant before you decide to buy.

Edith said...

Hi Sinleong,

Thanks again for your prompt reply. No worries, I will not buy before viewing. In terms of privacy, I was referring more to people being able to look right in your windows from neighboring buildings/office blocks. In Bidara, the unit I'm considering is right at the far end of the long corridor, so I would have to walk past several units to get to mine, which could be a nuisance, but I doubt I'd be bothered by any neighbours coming near my door, other than in the one unit directly opposite. There is sufficient breathing space between Bidara and One Residency, but how about between SBC and the buildings currently facing those 640sf units?
I decided not to go for the unit in Downtown b/c of the likelihood of construction in the vacant parking lot in the near future, also the lack of privacy, being so close to SBC. I haven't seen anything in the 500K range in Menara Bukit Ceylon, and I think Seri Raja Chulan is also not that cheap, when you add in the cost of necessary renovations. What I'm thinking is that, if I buy this Bidara unit @500K, I can invest about 30-40K in reno/new furnishings and end up with a nice place that I can hopefully rent out for 3500+, considering the larger size, fairly good view, corner unit & long balcony, also no afternoon sun. What do you think?

sinleong said...

the unit with wrap around balcony in bidara is afternoon sun. the 640sf unit in sbc is in fact, morning sun. privacy level is the same. no one is close enough to look into the 640sf unit window anyway. you will often find it difficult to rent out your unit if there is no car park. bidara car park rental is not cheap. in fact, if u r really keen to buy a unit in sbc, i can get you in touch directly with an owner from whom u can negotiate directly without involving an estate agent. u would be able to squeeze out at least 2% to 4% more discount. u can appoint a lawyer to act in your interests, instead of using an agent.

sinleong said...

also, bigger unit means higher maintenance cost. your nett returns will be lower. imho sbc is better managed than bidara due to the intervention of ascott who owns somerset. they form the majority. i'm not biased about sbc but the fact is such.

Edith said...

Hi SinLeong,

Thanks. I had a friend from Penang inspect a few units in KL for me this past week, and he also said SBC was a much nicer bldg than Bidara. But the unit he saw was the smallest, and I didn't particularly like the pictures I saw. I am more interested in buying a 640sf unit after hearing what you and others had to say about view, layout, etc. I have been inquiring with one agent about such a unit on level 12A, but he is slow in responding to my email and telephone requests for photos, and as I said, the tenant is unwilling to allow a viewing. So yes, I would appreciate it if you could put me in direct contact with an owner who is selling a 640sf unit. The asking price of the other unit is 540K, and I would like to buy around this price or slightly lower, if at all possible. I will send you an email so that you can contact me directly with the owner's contact details, if you don't mind. Much appreciated. One more question: what do you think of Bintang Goldhill these days? I read your blog on the subject, but it's been a while since then. I've seen a 775sf unit selling for 550K. I believe the construction going on nearby must be almost finished by now. The building is new, the unit is nice (from the photos) and it comes with parking. Really appreciate all your advice more than you can imagine!

sinleong said...

I think the 1br units in Bintang Goldhill is very claustrophopic with or without the new office block next door... you see, the 1br unit is at the bottom of the U shape so the only views its gonna get is the courtyard below and the other units flanking its left and right. also, the location of BG is not too good... it's more than 1km walk from pavilion and almost 2km from the nearest LRT or monorail. there is no MNC nearby except for Technip who supplies most of the tenants. nevertheless, the units have nice layouts, building is well managed, good facilities, density is relatively much lower than those in the CBD and there are always Iranian students willing to pay the RM3k rent.

Edith said...

Hi SinLeong,

Well, I don't intend to live there myself, so my claustrophobia is not an issue this time. Yes, the inconvenient location means that the tenant pool is limited, as you say, but if there is always a ready tenant regardless, do you think it would be a worthwhile investment if I could get it for 530K? Once the construction is completed (however long that will take), noise should no longer be an issue, I think. And if it's on a higher floor, it should still get some sunlight. But maintenance fees are something like 0.44/sf. Yikes!

sinleong said...

i dont think so...

Edith said...

I think you're right. I've given up on this building. Thanks again.

Vincent Khor said...

Hi Sin Leong,

Somerset Rental vs Bidara Stay

I accidentally discovered your blog and I find your insights to Bkt Ceylon property to be very refreshing and excellent. Thanks.

I would like to seek your kind advice as I have been struggling to decide on which condo to buy.. between SBC Somerset and Bidara.

SBC Somerset - I have viewed 4 units ranging from 640sf with RM3,800 monthly rental to 740sf with RM4k monthly rental. They are really hotel-like - with many foreigners/expats.


I personally would not like to stay at Somerset as it's not "homely" enough for me. Too much "hotel" like to stay. However, I guess it's good to rent.

However, the asking price for a 640sf unit has become RM640k which is RM100k more than in Jan (based on another user comment in your blog earlier). Do you think this is speculative? I am very worried to pay more than I should. Very difficult to decide.


I also viewed 2 units of Bidara - 1 841sf corner unit with balcony facing StandChart and another 914sf fully furnished unit with branded fixtures and fittings and wood flooring. It's so nicely decorated that I fall in love with it. :)It's very homely too. Actually, it is very well maintained too at common area like swimming pool, gym, etc.

However, I read setback in your blog about Bidara - extra parking, low rental, etc.

In your opinion, if I were to buy it as my second home and I don't mind paying RM150/m for car park, is it still worth a buy? Do you think there is still an upside to capital appreciation to Bidara in future with all other newer, more established condos at Bkt Ceylon (One Residency, Verticas, Bolton, Somerset, etc)?

Thanks a million for your kind advice.

Vincent

sinleong said...

hi Vincent, when One Residency was completed we expected rental and sale to drop at Somerset but instead, rental held on and sale prices went up. I think this is due to all the newer condos in this area being launched close to RM1000psf. The area is also upgrading and Changkat BB has never been more vibrant. RM640k for a 640sf unit in Somerset sounds speculative considering the returns. Personally I dont think it's worth it but checking on the market now, it's the only 1br unit for sale. Another owner of a 2br unit is asking for RM1.2m. It's a 1100sf. There are no buyers yet. It's been a while. Both Somerset and Bidara are serviced apartments. If you don't mind the cost and you like Bidara, go for it, since it is for own stay. If it's for rental investments, I would try to nego the 640sf Somerset unit down below RM600k. Somerset is much easier to rent. Occupancy is close to 100% mainly due to the Ascott branding.

Vincent Khor said...

Thank you very much Sin Leong for your advice. Your insights indeed has helped me to see things clearer. Appreciate it very much.

Somerset - I'll try to negotiate below RM600k. Last I heard that the owner was offered RM580k but he was not willing to sell. So if it's below RM920psf (max RM590k), is it then worth the investment?

Bidara - currently I think it's about 650psf. Any further capital appreciation you foresee?

Thanks again.

sinleong said...

question is, at 590k is it worth it for you or not considering the returns?

anything freehold , well managed are always expected to appreciate...

in which case, somerset is better than bidara because the majority of units in somerset are owned by Ascott.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sin Leong.
Current rental is RM3,800/m. It will be 7.7%/year rental yield if at RM590k. Should be ok, right? I hope it's easy to rent out since you mentioned occupancy is close to 100%.

Anyway, probably owner doesn't want to sell.

Ok - I will go for Somerset. But I will take up your advise. I won't rush. Only if the price is right..... :)

thanks again. You are truly an expert in Bukit Ceylon!!

sinleong said...

ermmm.. not everyone can rent out at 3800... some even let go at 3000 or 3200. it depends on luck too

JK said...

Dear Sin Leong
My family and I recently viewed a 1700 sf unit at City Gardesn (Low rise of 4 storey)which we intend to invest. The asking price is RM570K. Looking at the unit it needs refurbishment before being tenable. Can we have your views and comments pleas. TQ

sinleong said...

how much do you want to spend on your renovations? at the very high end, i don't think you can get any higher than RM5000 rent for it. and it's not easy to rent out... so you should decide. city gardens is leased hold, no?

JK said...

Dear Sin Leong
TQ for your prompt reply. We were told that it is freehold. Will cfm with them. Anyway, do you have any prop.to recommend for returns which will be better than those given by banks. Tks again.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sin Leong
What's your view on one@bukit ceylon and suasana bukit ceylon for investment? Both have hit 1000psf. Still worthwhile considering that quite a bit of future developments such as the 100 storey Merdeka tower and nearby MRT stations at Bukit Bintang?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I was about to rent a unit in Downtown Condo until I read your reviews. My budget is about RM3k. Has the management changed recently as what the agents say?

sinleong said...

i think they've improved slightly... 3k is cheap

Anonymous said...

Hi Sin Leong
I went to the exhibition for Verticas Residensi and price is 1450 psf for a 2 bedroom of 1500 sqft coming up to 2.1m.
The price seems expensive. You think the price is sustainable?

sinleong said...

RM2m is a lot to pay for a 1500sf 2-br apartment. but everything else seems to be in this price range nowadays. whether or not it's sustainable? For about RM2m, you can get a 2-br apartment in Melbourne, although a lot smaller 800sf to 1000sf. But spending RM2m in Australia is like us spending RM600k in Malaysia. If market forces dictate the RM2m price tag in Malaysia, then so be it. However, I don't think so. Another factor is, our money is really getting smaller. For example, a RM1m condo is nothing these days.

JS said...

Hi Sin Leong
I am looking at buying sub-sale properties for investment in bukit Ceylon. Comparing the new launches at more than RM1000psf, with the older ones eg. Menara Bukit Ceylon or Sri Raja Chulan, with average asking price of RM450 to RM500 psf, what do you think would be the upside for these older ones in 2-3 years when the new projects are completed?
Is rental market range between RM4K to RM5K sustainable for these older properties?
Appreciate your thots.

Thanks.

sinleong said...

it largely depends on how the economy performs. the newer condos have created an oversupply at the moment as we are drained of expats, the target for this range of properties. personally at the going prices now, i would buy the older condos now IF there is a good deal. but many owners are not realistic. certainly most tenants would choose the new condos over the older ones. so, you'll need to ensure you can renovate and furnish the old condo to a high standard as well as drop the rent 10 to 20% below the new ones. if you can afford to do this, then go for it

JS said...

Thank you for the advice.
I have viewed a couple of units in City Garden, however its leasehold with 60+ years left. My concern is, the appreciation will be slow and may have issues selling it later as many purchasers are not keen to buy leasehold properties especially with short lease.

Would you recommend Menara Bukit Ceylon and Sri Raja Chulan? and which other older ones have more potential?
Cheers

sinleong said...

Menara has better facilities. So, i'd go for menara. But Seri is lower density. Also, avoid the units facing changkat due to the noise. you can also try Mutiara Villa. Once touted as a low class brothel, now with the new change in management the place is getting better.

Kelvin Wong said...

i am looking for investment purpose in bukit ceylon area. any good recommendation. thanks

sinleong said...

depending on your budget. if not that much then u might like to consider mutiara villa. apparently one of my blog readers here have 2 units in mutiara villa for sale...

Anonymous said...

Mr ShinLeong,

now 2012 still can get under 650k for >850sft (not studio) in mutiara, seri raja chulan, mbc etc?

sinleong said...

can..i think lower also can...

Anonymous said...

Mr ShinLeong,

you have or know at least 3bedroom, >100sqt in mutiara, src, mbc below 650k?


thank you

sinleong said...

u shud check the classified ads... plenty there