City & Country: Cover Story - Upside potential for properties

SELAYANG is a mature township that is very different from the likes of Subang Jaya, Puchong and Kajang. Located a mere 15 to 20 minutes from the KL city centre, it is hard to believe how tranquil the area is. Fringing the green belt of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), development here is dispersed and housing is carved out according to the slopes of the hills.

The neighbouring town of Rawang, on the other hand, has seen rapid large-scale development in recent years by big industry players such as Glomac Bhd, GuocoLand (Malaysia) Bhd and Mah Sing Group Bhd. Among the projects are Glomac’s Saujana Rawang, a 345-acre township with a gross development value (GDV) of RM900 million, and Mah Sing’s 480-acre M Residence 3, its third township in the area which will raise its total GDV to RM2.13 billion. Meanwhile, GuocoLand is developing the 1,000-acre Rawang Emerald East and West. Rawang is under the jurisdiction of Majlis Perbandaran Selayang (MPS).

With the surrounding areas such as Kepong already fetching prices of more than RM900,000 per unit, there is upside potential for properties in Selayang. — Foo

It is the township of Bandar Baru Selayang, the developments to the north of Jalan Ipoh, Bukit Idaman, Taman Bidara and the area stretching from Selayang Hospital to Taman Selayang Jaya and Taman Selayang Utama collectively that are more commonly referred to as Selayang.

According to MPS, Selayang Baru had a population of more than 158,000 and a population density of 61.2 persons per hectare as at 2000. Formerly a tin mine, Selayang was developed to cater for the spillover of demand for housing in the city centre in the 1970s. It is located on the fringe of the city.

The first major developer in the area was Shah Alam Properties Sdn Bhd, which built the 708-acre Bandar Baru Selayang township, consisting of primarily terraced houses, low-cost flats and a limited number of semi-detached houses as well as a commercial centre comprising shophouses.

Another player, Bina Puri Holdings Bhd, crafted its own township, called Bukit Idaman, on the other side of Jalan Ipoh in 1986. This development predominantly featured condominiums, which for many years were a minority product in the area.

Pocket developments
Selayang today, although unsaturated in appearance, has very little land left. The clear view of the surroundings can be attributed to the design of the townships. They are primarily flat structures.

Furthermore, according to MPS, of the 54,559 acres under its jurisdiction, the area approved for development is only 50%. And of that 50%, many areas are not approved for residential development because of the steepness of the terrain, and are, therefore, classified as agricultural land.

“There are vacant plots, but very small in size, and most of them measure only two or three acres,” says MPS. This prompted the shift in landscape from low-density developments to high-rise residential developments.

“The shift in terms of products from landed to high-rise was seen here in the last two to three years due to the scarcity of land and rapid development in the Klang Valley,” says Jimmy Ng, project general manager of Twins Realty.

Twins Realty is a property consultant company active in the Selayang area.

Jimmy attributes the change in Selayang’s landscape to the rapid development in the neighbouring towns of Rawang, Kepong and Sungai Buloh.

“The potential of Selayang is tremendous, seeing the rise in property prices in other townships in the Klang Valley. Just to cite an example, the Selayang Point condominiums which were selling for RM250,000 in the secondary market five years ago, are now commanding RM430,000,” he says.

“Compared with the condominiums in neighbouring towns such as Kepong, Bandar Sri Damansara and Kota Damansara, those in Selayang are cheaper. Similar units in those towns are selling for more than RM700,000.

“It will be a good investment option or an ideal place to stay in the future, provided they cash in on the development now when the prices are still moderate. Similar properties in nearby areas are already selling for RM650 psf and upwards, and I foresee the prices will continue to go up.”

Jimmy attributes the appreciation in value to the overall rise in property value in the Greater KL area as well as improvements to infrastructure in the area. The Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor Expressway provides a link to Kuala Selangor, while there is easy access to the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong, New Klang Valley Expressway, Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway and the Middle Ring Road 2. The setting up of Universiti Teknologi Mara’s Faculty of Medicine campus behind Hospital Selayang in 2010 has also boosted demand for properties in the area.

Upscale properties such as Engtex Properties Sdn Bhd’s maiden project in Selayang, Tiara Residences, cashed in on the rise in property value.

“We launched it in end-2010 at RM1.5 million a unit. Now the property is worth RM2.3 million,” says Jessica Ng, business manager of Engtex Properties.

She notes that the entry of bigger players such as Mah Sing has allowed Engtex Properties to command higher prices for its second project in the area. Other high-profile projects such as EcoSky by EcoWorld Development Sdn Bhd, just five minutes away, will further boost property prices in Selayang, she adds.

Mah Sing’s Perdana Residence 1 semi-detached homes, which were sold for RM399,800 at their launch in September 2006, are now going for RM1.4 million. This represents an appreciation of 250% over a period of seven years, and translates into an increase of 35.7% per annum.

Its Perdana Residence 2 homes, launched in March 2010, were sold for RM733,000. Within three years, the price has topped a million, at RM1.25 million. This represents an appreciation of 71%, and translates into an increase of 24% per annum.

As for older landed properties, 2-storey terraced houses with built-ups of 999 to 2,425 sq ft in Taman Selayang Utama and Bandar Baru Selayang are fetching RM320 to RM430 psf, according to Saleha Yusoff, associate director of consulting and research at DTZ Nawawi Tie Leung Property Consultants Sdn Bhd.  

These townships date back to the 1980s and 1990s when the average selling price for a 2-storey terraced house was RM100,000.

DTZ’s research shows that from 2008 to 2013, terraced houses in Taman Selayang Utama had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.9% while those in Bandar Baru Selayang saw a CAGR of 17.8%.

According to Foo Gee Jen, managing director of property consultants C H Williams Talhar & Wong Sdn Bhd (WTW), the asking prices of 2-storey terraced houses in the area are RM500,000 and above, with some reaching RM700,000 to RM800,000 per unit.

“With the surrounding areas such as Kepong already fetching prices of more than RM900,000 per unit, there is upside potential for properties in Selayang. The MRT line, if constructed to serve this area, will definitely boost values further,” he says.

Left: Perdana Residence 2, Middle: Perdana Residence 1, Right: Selayang 18

Successful new launches
Recent launches have seen good response. F3 Capital Sdn Bhd’s Selayang 18 Residences, which started selling in June, saw a 70% take-up rate, with prices of RM421,000 and above for a two-bedroom apartment and RM1.62 million for a penthouse.

Engtex Properties’ four-pronged integrated development, Emerald Avenue, sold 95% of its retail and small office home office (SoHo) units, while its duplexes, which was open for preview four months ago, has already seen a 50% take-up. The duplexes are priced at RM435,000 onwards. The SoHo units, which were initially selling for RM420 psf on average, are now commanding RM600 psf.

Doing even better was Salcon Bhd’s maiden project rés 280, with built-ups ranging from 845 to 890 sq ft and prices averaging RM495 psf — 70% of the units were sold during the launch on Oct 6.

“The change in landscape is for the better as the new developments provide much-needed lifestyle living, catering for the younger generations. Without stepping into the city, they will be able to enjoy all of these upcoming facilities while still preserving the forest reserves like FRIM and Bukit Lagong,” says Twins Realty’s Jimmy.

Engtex’s Jessica says, “I think in terms of demand, there is still plenty in Selayang. There are a lot of people there who can afford this kind of pricing and there are many upgraders as well. For our properties, we didn’t have to go too far off to sell. I can say that about 70% of our customers are from the surrounding areas.”

In 2005, Mah Sing saw a 95% take-up rate for its Perdana Residence 1 within two weeks of its launch, which according to CEO Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum in an email interview, indicated “a pent-up demand for quality landed residential developments in Selayang that offer good concepts”.

He explains, “At that time, garden bungalows were a totally new concept. Selayang is a mature location with mostly older developments. There was a captive market looking to upgrade to new, secured projects featuring modern facades and practical layouts.”

Meanwhile, Engtex Properties is eager to develop in Selayang in the future if it is able to find a good piece of sizeable land.

New products emerging
Engtex Properties will be the first to introduce the concept of hotel suites in Selayang through its duplex units in the Emerald Avenue integrated development. The project will offer hotel services to the occupants.

The developer has signed on four-star international hotel Mercure, managed by the Accor Group, to provide services for the duplex suites located right above it.

Emerald Avenue, with a GDV of RM250 million, features an indoor street mall, four storeys of retail units, 188 units of SoHo suites, 122 duplex units and a hotel. The development covers 3.55 acres of freehold land and is expected to be completed by 2015.

Another upcoming project is Selayang Star City by Sierra Delima Development Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Leadmont Development Sdn Bhd, which developed CentreStage and Avenue D’Vogue in Section 13, Petaling Jaya. Selayang Star City will be an integrated development sitting on seven acres in the north of Jalan Ipoh and will feature luxury designer suites and serviced suites on top of a shopping mall. While the GDV has not been disclosed, the development is due for a soft launch next month.

“While no official announcement has been made on the MRT 2 and 3 lines, MRT Corp has told us that at least one of them is expected to serve the Selayang area because it has a large population,” says WTW’s Foo.

“Although the MRT stations are not expected to be located within walking distance, Selayang commuters will be served by feeder buses. Several stations are said to be planned along Jalan Kepong, with one expected to be Kepong Sentral Station.

“If the line comes to fruition, we can expect house prices, especially those in the affordable range, to see a significant improvement as the reduced travelling time to the city makes these areas more attractive and, therefore,  command higher rents.

“For high-end residences, unless they are located within walking distance from the MRT station, there will only be a marginal improvement. This is because the majority of middle and upper income earners own one or more cars and are likely to drive rather than take the feeder buses.”

Nonetheless, he says, this won’t be a deterrent. “Occupancy prospects are good as the area is developing into a desirable address for many middle-to-upper middle income earners.”

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on December 2, 2013.


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