Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Good Quality Affordable Homes

Nowadays, it is hard to find any property in an acceptable location which is below RM500k. It is even harder to find anything below RM300k. By acceptable location, I mean places like PJ, Setapak, Cheras... not Semenyih, Sungai Besar etc... But I'm sure even those far-flung outskirts of the Klang Valley will soon see prices unimaginable by today's standards. Look at Klang and Kajang. They are not near at all to KL city but property prices there are almost as high as PJ and Subang Jaya.

And another thing you see these days, most property launches are either very high density or if not, they are very "luxurious". The fact is, most people's income have not really gone up but property prices have increased out of reach. So, every time you see there is a government effort to build affordable homes, they turn out to be these huge highly densed construction such as PR1MA and those low cost housing projects. Many of these, like what you see in the PPR (Projek Perumahan Rakyat) so-called people's housing turn out to be huge slums with all sorts of social issues.

So, I am taking upon myself to develop small low density and quality housing - to prove that it can be done. We are talking about 2-3 bedroom units at prices below RM300k, or RM400k at better locations. There will be studio apartments for the young guys and girls who are just taking out their 1st pay-cheque. Starting pay is around RM2000/month these days, so what can they afford? Definitely RM160k and below... watch this space!

Density will be from 10 units up to 80 units per project. They are not going to be too small either. The 2/3 bedroom units will be no less than 800sf and the studios are 500sf and up. Nothing fancy. No swimming pool, no gym, no sauna... no gimmick. Just basic, no frills quality homes with car parks and security.

How are we going to make it?

The answer lies in our local councils and city hall. It's up to them to approve such projects and also decide on the plot ratio and density allowed. What we have seen is a lot of approvals for luxury bungalow, semi-D and gated community developments. This does not go towards solving the nation's housing problem but the issue usually is the objections from the local community. Nobody will like it if a medium cost apartment project suddenly comes up in their posh Bangsar or Damansara Heights. There has been some precedents however...

I take a lot of inspiration by looking at neighbouring Thailand and also our own Penang Island, looking around the Pulau Tikus and Gurney area. Here, there are many small apartments built on formerly bungalow lands. There are a few in KL as well, such as One Mesraria in OUG, Old Klang Road which has only 20 units 1,300sf apartments. Just over a year ago, you can get a 3-bedroom unit here for around RM350k. Today, the price tag is RM580k. If you can find a seller, that is.

I am going to start by introducing you to a small project of studio apartments. This will be at Sentul, about 2km from the Sentul LRT station... so the location is not really that bad. The land is freehold and it is only 4000sf. Normally, the council will require you to have a 10ft barrier from the border of the land up to the built-up area. For a 4000sf piece, it means you will lose almost 1600sf, so your built up will end being just 2,400sf. But the interesting part of this land is, you can build from border to border, so it's possible to use up almost the entire 4,000sf. The next thing is the approval from city hall. The most they will allow is a plot ratio of 1 to 5. Take away 1,000sf for common areas and infrastructure such as lifts, lobby and stair case, a plot ratio of 1:5 means you can have 3,000sf x 5 = 15,000sf.

Therefore, if we are going to offer 600sf studio apartments, that means we can build 25 units. But building 25 apartments means providing at least 25 car parks.... that will make the building too tall or if we are doing basement car parks, it will be too expensive. So, to cut the story short, we are just having 12 studio apartments and 1 special 2 bedroom unit.

This is how the maths work out...

Cost of land RM560,000
Cost of construction RM1,000,000
Miscellanous and statutory costs RM80,000

Total cost RM1,640,000

Total sellable square feet... 12 x 600sf and 1 x 1,200sf = 8,400sf

Cost per sf... RM196

The cost for 600sf studio is RM117,600 each

The cost of 1,200sf 2-bedroom unit is RM235,200

So, if we are selling the studios at RM160k each and the 2-bedroom unit at RM350k, we are looking at a gross yield of 38%

It may sound too simplistic to some of you but may I remind you in this case we are only building 13 units in less than 4,000sf of land. When we look at other examples later, it becomes even more interesting...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

For Sale - 1br Unit at Seri Bukit Ceylon

A friend has put up this unit for sale. It is a 1-bedroom serviced apartment, on a mid floor - 14th floor to be exact with an unblocked view of the KLCC Twin Towers.

His asking price is RM670,000 full-furnished as is. Comes with 1-car park.

Please contact me for viewing sinleongng@yahoo.com

Friday, September 5, 2014

Endah Villa - For Sale as a Good Home

If you are looking for a HOME, a nice place to raise a family, do consider this lovely little apartment. It is a 3-bedroom and 2 bathroom corner unit with a nice balcony over-looking the Bukit Jalil sports complex. You will never miss out on any concerts anymore...

Location is in Sri Petaling, approximately 1.2km from the Bukit Jalil LRT station. It is also accessible via the MRRII, the KESAS Highway and the North-South Expressway.  

Endah Villa calls itself a condo. To be brutally honest, it has been badly managed, with facilities falling apart, it's far from being a condominium. The pricing reflects this. However, in the past couple of months, a new management has taken over and they are starting to put things in order. A tender has been issued and will be awarded soon to paint all the 8 blocks in this complex.
The buildings are close to 20 years old now. Being leasedhold, this is not an encouraging fact. As with many leasedhold properties, especially a mismanaged one, the price hasn't increased much and therefore, I say this is a great place to start a home because the purchase price is inexpensive.

A home it is... as you can see from the picture above, Endah Villa is probably one of the few apartments in Kuala Lumpur with such generous grounds. You do not feel like you are cooped up in a dense community. It's a great place to raise kids, as you can see them having lots of space to run around and grow. There is also a lively community hall with badminton and squash enthusiasts converging every evening.

You are also not far from amenities. Conveniently, there is a hypermarket literally across the road and banks and other public utilities not far away.

This is a rare corner unit, with a nice number for an address with liberal dashes of 8's, which is auspicious for the Chinese community. The unit is very bright and windy.

The bedrooms, dining as well as the kitchen windows open out to a great view, with fresh air flow unlike those intermediate units facing an air-well. 

This unit was put up for sale over a year ago and was successfully sold within days. Unfortunately, the paper work was not proper. Therefore, the buyer withdrew and we had to go through processes with the developer and lawyers. Finally, the matter has been settled and a strata title is now being issued. During the whole process, the unit was rented out to a young family.

I know many punters are going to ask me how much is the rent as they want to buy it for investments. Although rental here can go as high as RM2,000/month and some fully-furnished units fetch RM2,200/month, I discourage the notion that this is an investment. The opportunity to purchase this should go to a young family who wants a great place for to raise their kids and live. My sister lived here with her husband and after they migrated overseas, it was rented out to a foreign family with 2 children. Their 2 children were in elementary school when they lived there up till the elder daughter graduated from medical school. The family subsequently moved to Canada.

The current tenant is a dentistry professor at nearby IMU. He and his wife moved in a year ago with their young son and recently they have just given birth to a baby girl. This is the story of this place called HOME :)  

Contact me for viewing... sinleongng@yahoo.com