Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Marc Residence @ KLCC

Marc Residence entered the KLCC market around 2004/05, at about the same time as KL Parkview and Meritz. I think it totally changed the property landscape in the KLCC area which was dominated by older apartments such as Kudalari, Crown Regency, Sri Kia Peng, UBN Apartments, Hampshire etc... Marc was launched 2 years earlier at around RM600psf and when completed was transacting heavily at around RM1000psf. The timing is superb, at the very peak of the property boom. Subsequent entrants such as Idaman Residence, Hampshire Residence obviously stood to benefit but unfortunately entered at the wrong time. However, the benchmark has been set.

Having said that, today we have unusual times. Some KLCC owners have been trying to sell at below market price and we have seen units trading or trying to trade at RM800psf or below. How low will it go further, we don't know... but the fact is, most of these low value units are the less desirable units. Marc for example, have a lot of these.
Marc consists of 2 blocks which have a range of units from 493sf studios to more than 3000sf units. These units are facing Kirana serviced apartments, the Frasers Suite, One KL or the Glomac office construction site. The KLCC view has all been blocked by One KL but they are still the more desirable units. Obviously the worst are the ones facing Glomac. While they are currently facing the dilemma of noise from the Jalan P Ramlee entertainment outlets, the Glomac construction will add to their woes once the piling starts. Then, Glomac climbs up to 40 floors which means that these units will be completely blocked of any natural light considering that the distance between Glomac and Marc is very close. Hopefully, this means the Jalan P Ramlee noise will be blocked by the new Glomac tower.
Naturally, these are the worst units in Marc residence and they are trying to trade at below market price today. Those with other views are still stubbornly trading above RM1000psf or else the owners are not selling since they can be easily rented out for RM3000/month for the studios and up to RM8000/month for the 3 bedroom units. However, there are some very oddly shaped layouts being offered slightly below market. Oddly shaped... for example, they've got extremely small master bedrooms and the back room is unusually larger (I would consider the room with the best view and attached bathroom as the master bedroom). I wonder what is going on in the minds of the architects.
I have taken on a keen interests in the 2 bedroom units in Marc and recently been shopping around. But unfortunately, those being offered for below market price currently are those non desirable units facing Glomac and of course those odd layout units. This goes to show that in property investment, it is not just location, location, location... It's also Layout and View! So, I would revise this oft-spoken slogan in property investments to be Location, Location, Layout, View! The 4 most important criteria. For example, you don't want to have a non-functional layout as described and also no bad views such as noisy places, septic tank, grave yard, electric pylon and highways!
Facilities-wise, Marc is probably the best in this area for a mixed development of small, big and commercial units. The density ensures that the facilities and utilities are well-used. There are 2 large swimming pools, one of them is probably the largest in the KLCC area. There is a "hanging jacuzzi" which hangs off the front porch of the building. The gym is well equipped, so is the library and playroom, a well-stocked tuck shop and tennis court. No other apartments in this area can boast of such facilities. There are 2 large lobbies, one for each block and the fittings are luxurious in line with the status of Marc Residence. But of course, with these comes the cost... the maintenance fee per month is RM0.65psf, which means that for a 2 bedroom 867sf unit, it's RM563.55 per month!!
The high maintenance is also due to fact that this is a commercial titled property. My experience with such properties have been a mix of good and bad. The bad of course you are paying commercial rates for everything from TNB to Indah Water rates. Your maintenance fee obviously reflect the commercial status as well. Next door to Marc Residence is the Ascott Kirana serviced apartment. The Ascott group has been doing particularly well here and also at the sister property at Somerset. So, Ascott has also taken some units in Marc. The association with the Ascott group has done well for the associated buildings in KL. Strangely, Suasana Sentral at KL Sentral terminated their association with Ascott and it seems they are going down to worse in terms of value.

I appear to have lost the pictures I took at Marc Residence, so will try to find them and post them in here.

Somewhere in Jalan Gurney

Here are more on niche developments - 6 units of 3-storey link houses in the heart of Kuala Lumpur at Jalan Gurney, 2 of them corner lots. Can't get any more niche than that...
The view from the actual location, i.e. from the 3rd floor of one of the units, you can see that KLCC is not really that far away. In fact, it's just about 2km and one would find it possible to walk there from here. The entrance to this development directly fronts Jalan Yap Kwan Seng which is separated from Jalan Gurney by the busy double decker Jalan Tun Razak.

The back of the houses is the Felda office and a couple of old bungalows belonging to some government departments. There is a possibility that these may be torn down in the future.

Despite being link houses, these are large houses. Each one of them has 7 bedrooms. The ground floor consists of a very large living room with adjoining dining and dry kitchen. There is also a wet kitchen and a maid's room and bathroom. The 2nd level has 3 bedrooms, each one of them with its' own private baths. Level 3 has 3 more rooms with ensuite facilities. The front room from which the top picture was taken has a sliding door and balcony - it would work well also as a kind of office or study.

There is a sky-roof in the middle of each unit. Basically, the rooms up above have these pretty wooden kampung style windows that opens out into the living room down below. It is a very nice concept and it is possible to actually have a little garden or fish pond inside the house in the middle of the living room. We were not allowed to take any interior pictures, so we have to make do with a picture taken from outside one of the corner lots to demonstrate this concept.

Judging from the exterior design (...and interior too), it is very likely this developer is targeting the older generation of buyers. Possibly those who are past retirement and looking for a house big enough for the whole family, grand children and all. The price is also not too steep considering it is freehold and location in the city center. Each of the intermediate costs just above RM1 million. The corner units were sold out when we got there and understandbly since it is only about RM200k more than the intermediates. These 2 corner units are probably the only ones worth having.... more than 1 month after our viewing, about 2-3 intermediate units are still available.

Despite targeting old people, I think the developer would have done better to invest in a better, more modern design. That is to use more glass and natural wood for the facade.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The East Perth Neighbourhood - a picture tour

Picture above: Panoramic view of the waterways in front of East Perth

Picture above: East Perth is not a gated community. There are public parks within the area with barbecue stoves - you just need to bring your meat and power it up. No need to pay.

Pictures above and below: Some of the townhouses at the waterfront up for sale

Pictures above and below: Some waterfront apartments with chic cafes at the ground floor

picture above: Probably the last parcel of empty land in East Perth up for development

picture above: The back alley of the waterfront townhouses with garages

Picture above: Perth city skyline as seen from East Perth