Sunday, June 16, 2013

Investing In Offices - Vertical Suites @ Bangsar South

Lately, I've written much about Bangsar South here (SouthView) and here (KL Gateway). It might seem I am a bit gung-ho about this new enclave but I am also cautious that we might have an over-built situation. If we are taking a quick and fast calculation at the back of an envelope, it looks like we're going to see about 10,000 additional residential units in this area. 

Pantai Panorama +600 units
Pantai Hill Park Phase 1-5 and including Centrio about +2,500 units
Vista Angkasa +400 units

KL Gateway +800 units
Southview +1,200 units
Park Residences +2,100 units
Camelia +720 units
Upcoming YNH Project +1,000 units

Can the population support this? 

I estimate there are going to be about 22 blocks of offices in Bangsar South, which includes the existing Horizon and future KL Gateway tower etc... Estimating a full capacity block housing about 2,000 people, we will have about 40,000 to 50,000 work force in Bangsar South at its peak. Say 10% of them are going to be out-station and expat workers, that's 4,000 and assuming half of them will reside in Bangsar South, that means.... 2,000 people vying for 10,000 properties... 

Although we cannot assume all 10,000 of these are open for tenancies or they may house residents working in other locations in KL or PJ, the figures are still worrying... especially when a big chunk of these are going to be studio units - which all go after a certain segment of the market. 

Yes, Bangsar South does seem like it's going towards a glut...

Yet, it may seem contradictory about my sentiments of Bangsar South in my earlier writings but I never denied there is going to be a glut in RESIDENTIAL properties in this area. It all depends on the unique proposition of each property - for example, I think KL Gateway is attractive because it is closest to the LRT Station which may appeal to people working in as well as away from Bangsar South. 

A lot of reports I have seen are also talking about a glut in office space. Again, it all depends on the uniqueness of the office or commercial buildings in the competition for tenants and in this case, Bangsar South has a strong position in being one of the MSC Zones - which means that companies who want to enjoy benefits of the MSC which includes lucrative tax breaks, they have to be situated in one of these zones.

I classify them into the following zones and the reasons for their inferiority against Bangsar South:

1) KL City and KL Sentral - although central, they are too expensive

2) Cyberjaya, PJ and Bandar Utama - bad public transport for now and far for employees from other parts of the Klang Valley

3) Bangsar South - a balance of the 2 above

So, seriously I do think the offices in Bangsar South are really worth considering - especially Vertical Suites where there are smaller sized units which can serve as a start-up incubation or sub-contractors and suppliers who serve as supporting casts to the larger corporations in the Horizons.

Developer UOA first launched the Vertical I last year with sizes starting from about 700sf. They all went very quickly. Now comes the 2nd block of the trio with units starting from 878sf - priced from RM720k onwards i.e. about RM820psf up from just under RM700psf for Vertical I. The 3rd block on this podium is going to be a hotel.

Having experience running a start-up IT company, my confidence lies in the lack of small GRADE A office units in the Klang Valley - especially one that comes with MSC status. So, the smallest type B units are expected to go very quickly. At today's benchmark, I believe the rental will be no less than RM4,000/month and offices are often rented out bare i.e. you save on expensive renovations and furnishings.

I am not selling for UOA or any developer in Bangsar South for that matter. Nor am I an estate agent. But as a purchaser of Vertical Suites II, I am entitled to a finders fee if any of you identifies me as your introducer. Not doing so will not do anything to increase your early bird purchase discount which today stands at 5% + 2%. So, if I get the finders fees, I'll split it half with you... what say you?

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