City & Country: Cover Story - Ensuring long-term value for buyers

We look at ourselves as a value developer rather than a property developer,” says Tan Gay Beng, general manager and director of BTHomestead Development Sdn Bhd (BTH).

The company, which has been in the business for 22 years but keeps a low profile, was one of the early developers in Mont’Kiara. Its first project, Angkupuri, is in Jalan Kiara, next to Mont’Kiara International School. The 210-unit condominium was launched in 1993 and completed in 1996. Next to it is the 132-unit Almaspuri, which was completed in 2000. BTH also developed the 246-unit condominium Anggunpuri in Dutamas in 2008.

We will go for developments that offer practicality and are sustainable in terms of rent and capital appreciation — Tan

Tan runs the business with his sister, Wong Wai Pin, who is the building/property manager. The two were working in the family business when the opportunity came knocking. The family company owned the Angkupuri land, and at that time, Mont’Kiara was starting to be developed.

“We realised that was an opportunity for us to venture into property development. The returns on building a property were better than selling the land, so with family support, we gave it a go,” says Tan.

Angkupuri , he says, is an example of the company’s position as a value developer.

“We always make sure the property is properly taken care of and is able to give our buyers long-term value in terms of rent and capital appreciation.”

According to Tan, Angkupuri was launched at an average RM198 psf, and is currently commanding between RM480 and RM614 psf. A real estate agent specialising in the area says rents start at RM2,900, depending on the size of the units.

According to Wong, Angkupuri has an occupancy rate of 87%, while Anggunpuri and Almaspuri have a rate of 96% and 86% respectively.

“Our occupancy rates have always been high. Even during recession, they were around 70%.”

While all the condominiums are run by their respective management corporations, BTH provides assistance and consultancy to ensure they are run smoothly.

BTH is currently working with the owners of Angkupuri to refurbish the 17-year-old condominium.

“Our completed condominiums still have upside potential. They are in prime locations with international schools, shopping centres and amenities nearby. The refurbishment of Angkupuri will help the property gain more upside potential,” says Tan.  

BTH plans to carry out similar upgrading of its other condominiums, depending on the consent of the owners.

Design also plays a part, says Tan. In Angkupuri, every condo is a corner unit.

“Corner units give optimal views, natural ventilation and light. It’s nothing fancy but it’s practical. We want the place to have a homely atmosphere so that the occupants feel comfortable.

“We have continued with this concept till today. It is the main feature of all of our developments. It has been tested, it’s reliable and practical,” he adds.

Above: An artist’s impression of 28 Dutamas with a GDV of RM238 million

28 Dutamas
BTH is now using this concept in its latest project, 28 Dutamas. The freehold 3.213-acre project in Jalan Dutamas Raya, Dutamas, has a gross development value of RM238 million.

The development comprises two 23-storey blocks housing 250 condos. Tower A has 130 units and Tower B, 120 units. There are three layout designs with at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The condos are 1,253 to 1,719 sq ft in size while the penthouses are 1,854 to 2,378 sq ft. There are also two family units with built-ups of 2,604 and 2,608 sq ft. The development’s average selling price is RM600 psf and its exclusive agent is Property Hub.

Tan believes the tagline of 28 Dutamas, “A condominium where lives flourish and families bloom”, summarises its concept.  

“The name 28 Dutamas came from the address, which is 28 Jalan Dutamas Raya. We thought it was a nice address and we capitalised on it. The number ‘8’ symbolises infinity and carries a powerful value. Hence, we have an infinity pool, which complements the name well.

“The pool is positioned to face the main entrance of the condominium to give maximum aesthetic value and at the same time, the seemingly infinite flow of water symbolises blessings of wealth, luck and fortune for the owners and occupants,” he says.

Among the facilities are a squash court, Jacuzzi and sunken deck, swimming pool, gym, sheltered patio and open kitchen, pavilion, games room, children’s wet and dry play areas, and function rooms.

Apart from the standard facilities, BTH will also offer building management and maintenance, a centralised water filtration system, themed landscaped garden, centralised satellite reception and security access control on every floor, says Tan.

He adds that the children’s wet play area and the landscaped garden can be considered as a mini ecopark.

“The facilities are designed to cater for the target market, that is young families with children. The landscape takes up about 10% of the site, making it ideal for those who want a peaceful environment.”

BTH is also targeting upgraders, newly married couples, white-collar professionals and entrepreneurs with total monthly household income of RM8,000 to RM15,000 and are interested in a smart lifestyle, says Tan.

“To a smaller extent, we are also targeting those who want to own a condo in the vicinity but could not afford the Mont’Kiara prices, long-term investors buying in anticipation of capital appreciation and good rent and existing owners in the areas of Dutamas, Segambut, Sri Hartamas, Kepong and Mont’Kiara,” he adds.

“We opened Tower B for sale in early November and the response has been good, with 82% of the units sold. Tower A will be opened for booking on Dec 21,” says Wong.

Tan notes that most of the buyers are upgraders, some of whom are residents of its previous developments.

“We didn’t really publicise 28 Dutamas. Our first announcement was the hoarding at the site. Those who had bought our previous condos have seen the prices of their properties double so they can sell their old units and buy new ones,” he says.

“It has always been our practice to keep our prices reasonable to ensure good capital appreciation for the buyers.”

Tan is confident that the recently announced cooling measures will not impact the sales of 28 Dutamas. “The condominium is being developed with owner-occupiers in mind. They are long-term investors and not out to make quick profits.”

Earthworks have started, and piling and foundation works are set to begin in March next year.

Staying practical
BTH will continue to position itself as a value developer and plans to develop gated projects and landed developments on the outskirts of KL.

“The growth of the company will be driven mainly by its property development business and investment revenue derived from properties it is holding in past developments,” says Tan.

BTH has a landbank of about 50 acres and Tan stresses that it will not venture into developments that are iconic or attention-grabbing, whose values may drop when the novelty fades.  

“Instead we will go for developments that offer practicality and are sustainable in terms of rent and capital appreciation,” he adds.

Tan rules out the possibility that the company will take on larger developments in the immediate future.

“We will stay nimble as this will give us the advantage of responding to problems efficiently. Unless there is an irresistible opportunity, we are happy to be where we are.

“We are a privately owned company and, therefore, do not have a big set-up. We don’t like to overstretch our resources as we are generally conservative. It takes years to get a project going and for a completed project to reach its maturity.

“We give ourselves a few years’ gap between projects to nurture the completed development until it reaches maturity in terms of occupancy and value before we move on to another project.”

BTH is planning to develop a 30-storey condominium in the same area, targeted at young people looking for lifestyle living.

“It will have more than 200 units with built-ups of between 1,000 and 1,400 sq ft. We are looking to launch the project in a few years’ time,” says Tan.

BTH is also planning to build an internationally accredited private coeducational school in Dutamas to serve students from preschool to grade nine initially, and later up to grade 12.

Tan says the school, which will offer class sizes of 22, has a projected enrolment of about 1,500 students. It will have a balanced university preparatory curriculum based on the International Baccalaureate programme. BTH is in the midst of arranging funding for this project.

According to Tan, while it has already obtained a planning permit from the local council, it has yet to get approval from the Ministry of Education.

Among some of the facilities available in 28 Dutamas

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on December 16, 2013.

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