Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's global, the slow down

Just got back from a trip to London. While I was there, news about Caroline Flint, the UK housing minister with shocking notes revealing the downturn in the property market made the front pages... (http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/may/18/property.housingmarket) You got to respect the British journalists. The poor minister was going to meet British PM Gordon Brown and the journalists photographed her handwritten notes from afar.

During the stopover in Bangkok however, news reported that property developers were preparing for up to 5% price hike to cover for increase in material costs (http://www.nationmultimedia.com/search/page.news.php?clid=6&id=30073374). As I am familiar with the real estate market in Thailand, I can tell you that it is not so hot at the moment. While the rental market remains steady, subsale has slowed down tremendously. Prime units on sale since September last year is still in the market looking for that elusive buyer.

My opinion is, no matter how much property has appreciated, the appreciation means nothing if there are no buyers. Few months ago, I was dismissed as a doom-sayer. Today I have the satisfaction of being witness to high premium units such as Meritz, Hampshire, Stonor etc. entering the market after apparently appreciated to almost RM2000psf, many speculators are sweating as they struggle to flip their units.... mortgage interests payments are starting to kick in. While some may argue that most of these buyers are foreign cash, still a sizeable chunk are local speculators with little fundamentals to back them up. Get ready for a cheap sale...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kampung Warisan, Jalan Jelatek, Setiawangsa

Kampung Warisan is probably one of its' kind in Kuala Lumpur. It's a condominium in a resort-like environment and extremely low density - only 275 units within 15 acres. Some people have argued with me before that there are other similar greenery themed condos such as Riana Green at Tropicana and Bukit Gita Bayu but hello... these are in Selangor, not KL. The fact is Kampung Warisan is located 6km from KLCC and it is also located right in front of Setiawangsa LRT station which is 6 stations or 15 minutes away from KLCC - Setiawangsa, Jelatek, Datuk Keramat, Damai, Ampang Park and whoops bang.... KLCC!

Here are some pics of this lovely place. Starting with the fish pond.

Free form Swimming pool

Block Nipah from the visitors car park. One thing I really love about this place... there are ample car parks. You won't find residents parking illegally outside the condo in the evenings... something which we are beginning to see happen at Seri Maya next door.

This is my unit. A one bedroom 755sf. There are only 24 such units in Kampung Warisan.

The restaurant.... my opinion? the food here sucks and expensive. Better take the LRT to Sri Rampai and eat at Jusco.

The thick foliage off my balcony...

More greenery off my balcony... I swear I saw a squirrel!

This is the said balcony...

Back to the pool. This block consists of the most desired units, all 3 and 4 bedroom units facing the swimming pool.

Now for the interior... since this place is so "kampung", I decided to go Kampung with the interior. I think the cream wall goes very well with the white ceiling skirting and lots of wood. If you like modern furniture, this is not the place. One of the neighbours had modern ikea furniture with vertical blinds for the windows.

As you walk in through the main door, there is this teak wood cabinet on your left. I would use it as a shoe rack but I think not many people have as many shoes as I do.

Over across the hall, I hung a matching mirror window. I made a mahjong cum dining table with teakwood legs and Iranian Perlatino marble. Later you will see a matching marble top on the dresser and work table. You may comment that this marble top matches the floor and I frankly only just realized this - the floor is also from Iranian Perlatino! So, in hindsight, I might like to use a darker tone marble such as Dark Emperador....

This "ancient" work table was just being neglected at a corner of my house until I decided to put a marble top on and revarnish it.

I never liked nyatoh wood. And still don't. Unfortunately, the huge built-in wardrobe cum dresser is made of nyatoh wood. So, save from tearing it off and spending a bomb on a new wardrobe, I revarnished it and put a piece of marble top on the dresser. Hopefully, the marble (...and I love marble) will distract people from the nyatoh wardrobe. Another piece of marble to the rescue... "Oh my God! Nyat...oh what a lovely piece of marble on the dresser..."

The kitchen... in my opinion is a bit old fashion and dark looking... I like a bright modern kitchen but what's the only way to save the kampung feeling? maybe if I added in some modern appliances?
The bedroom used to be painted green... sort of turquoisy, bluey green.... So I "creamed" it... and I think it matches the teakwood ming style bed and of course the lovely piece of marble on the dresser...

Before anyone start accusing me of doing some marketing for Kampung Warisan and it's developer, Eastern and Oriental, I would like to add some negative points:

1. Termites - some of the common areas badly infected and the management don't seem to be doing anything about it as it has been there since November last year when I first noticed it

2. Traffic Jam - The Jalan Jelatek/Ampang access to Kampung Warisan can be very slow during peak hours. The LRT is jam pack like sardines as well. The trick is to get on the train to the opposite direction till you reach the last station and change the train. This might add hours to your travel

3. Mosquitoes and other creepy insects - oh my god, plenty of it!

4. It's almost 10 years old - stuffs are falling apart. Being a 2nd hand buyer, you also need to pay people to rip old built-ins apart and cart furnitures/fittings away

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Subang Jaya SS15?

How's SS15 for an investment? Watch this space for comments and pics - coming soon!

I've been busy....

I took possession of my new pride and joy last Friday morning. In the afternoon, my first potential tenant came to view it. Later that afternoon, before the next viewing had a chance, he confirmed and deposit paid within 24 hours. I then have less than 3 days to get an old beaten up one bedroom apartment into a habitable abode. Imagine, the tenant saw an unfurnished apartment, where everything from the aircon, to the kitchen hood are not working. And the previous tenant left cooking stains all over the kitchen walls and cabinets. How did this place sell? Mind you, I'm fetching double digit returns!

Nobody I know has any hate for Kampung Warisan. Everyone talks about the charming gardens and the greenery, the swimming pool, fish pond..... With only 275 units sitting in 15 acres of "forest", it is one of the lowest density development within a striking distance of KLCC.

In my opinion, Kampung Warisan is closer proximity to KLCC compared to Ampang Hilir. The reason is, the short crawl from Ampang Hilir to the Jalan Ampang/Tun Razak junction can take a looooong time. The only public transport you are going to get are buses or taxis. They would get stuck in this crawl. From Kampung Warisan, you can cross the road and jump into the LRT which will whizz you into KLCC in less than 15 minutes, including waiting time.

The only problem is, walking from your apartment through the thick vegetation, fauna and flora of Kampung Warisan to the main gate may be distracting and may take up most of the travel time...

The new Tun Razak

Goldhill Gardens just VP-ed. Asking price is RM850psf - RM900psf but agents tell me the going is a bit slow... Goldhill has the potential to be blocked of it's view of KLCC when the car parks and bungalows around it are developed. But that's not the reason why it's moving slowly. I say it's the economy.
Just a few steps from Goldhill, 231TR seems to be moving along quite well. I've never seen a project so divisive. In some forums of discussions, 231TR is the project everyone loves to hate and in some forums, people love it so much as to get so emotional defending it. I'll reserve my comments for now... but please don't reserve yours

The P Ramlee area

A few years back, I missed some opportunities to purchase a 3 bedroom unit in Crown Regency. Back then, it only cost about RM450psf i.e. RM675,000 for a unit circa 1500sf. Now the same unit is selling above RM1.2 million. How many units actually get transacted at that price? Especially the rental yield is so low. At RM6500per month i.e. 6.5% returns (I know some of you saying, wow! so good > 6%!).

picture above: Crown Regency

But apparently, Crown Regency is hot cake in the rental market because of it's old age, it's still possible to rent a 3 bedroom unit for less than 8k a month. Loads of people in neighbouring Parkview and Marc Residence complain about the noise from the P Ramlee entertainment zone featuring Thai Club, Run Jungle, Beach Club etc until 3am in the morning all weekends. How true is this? Anyone can comment?

A quick check with estate agents and Star classifieds reveals many units available for rent in Marc and Parkview. But it seems UBN apartment, further from the noise is full house!