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City & Country: Going by the ballot

After the haphazard overnight queuings during the last two launches by I&P Group Sdn Bhd, the developer has resorted to the balloting system in its latest launches in Bandar Kinrara, Puchong, on Oct 10 and 11, respectively.

In August, when I&P launched Temasya Suria @ Glenmarie superlink homes in Shah Alam, some buyers queued for seven days and eight nights, while at the launch of the Sentosa terraced homes in Bandar Kinrara a week later, they camped for 10 nights and 11 days.

Hundreds, too, turned up to register for the balloting of Sapphire terraced homes on Oct 11. Sapphire comprises 104 units of 2-storey houses in Phase 7A13. In the balloting exercise, 448 registrations were received. The houses come in four designs with built-ups of 2,354 to 2,900 sq ft and priced from RM520,888. The gross development value (GDV) is about RM63.75 million.

The launch of the RM46.57 million Oasis, comprising 24 units of 2-storey semidees in Phase 7A24, was more subdued with 39 buyers joining in the balloting on Oct 10. With sizes ranging from 3,390 to 4,544 sq ft, these units front the 18-hole Kinrara Golf Course. They were tagged from RM1.58 million onwards.

I&P Group managing director Datuk Jamaludin Osman tells City & Country the balloting system gives homebuyers a fairer chance at owning a property.

“We observed in our previous launches that there were people who stood in the queue for 10 days. We decided to go for the balloting method to avoid such incidents,” he says.

“As with any method, there will be loopholes. There are advantages and disadvantages to any system. For instance, in a balloting, homebuyers can still get other people to register for them. For instance, one person will get his family members to register, so he has a higher chance of being picked. We cannot stop this practice as long as the buyers sign the sale and purchase agreement. I think what matters most is being transparent,” says Jamaludin.

First buyerThe crowd registering for the balloting exercise during the launch of Sapphire on Oct 11
The lucky No 1 buyer of Oasis, Datuk Mohamed Mokhtar Nadzri, obtained three units costing RM6.4 million after he and his family members registered three names in the balloting system.
“I did my study and I found out that Bandar Kinrara has high potential for capital appreciation due to the track record of the developer, location, product quality and accessibility. As a contractor, I know that this developer is responsible and innovative. I see it has improved [in terms of design] over the years,” Mokhtar, a Kuantan-based contractor, tells City & Country.

An artist's impression of The Sapphire terraced homesMokhtar also bought an intermediate unit in Sapphire for RM484,426 (bumiputera price) the next day. He began investing in properties three years ago and now owns two units in Suasana Sentral Condominium in KL Sentral as well as two bungalows in Bandar Kinrara.

He says he is keen to buy more properties as his wife and three daughters have recently moved to the Klang Valley. He is also eyeing properties in Australia.

“Property is the best investment as it gives higher returns...  It can be kept for our children and also as a sort of a pension scheme. Furthermore, the fundamentals of our economy are strong and the political situation stable.

“For investments, I would go for good developers and properties with more space and good designs. Amenities are important, too. I am looking at Bukit Jelutong in Shah Alam and also the neighbouring areas,” says 50-year-old Mokhtar.

Research is important in buying property, he adds, citing a lesson he learnt when he sold a shophouse in Puchong two years ago without studying the market first. The value of the shophouse appreciated further when more facilities came up after he sold it.

The second person picked in the ballot for Oasis was IT consultant Sheila Thalochan Kaur, who has been staying in a smaller semidee in Bandar Kinrara 4 for more than 10 years, and is looking to upgrade her home.

“We want a high-end property nearby facing a golf course. My husband works from home and so we want to upgrade our home. Also, we are comfortable with the Bandar Kinrara area because it is accessible. Traffic is also lighter than other parts of Puchong,” says Sheila Thalochan.

Tee C A, a real estate valuer, says property is a hedge against inflation when the current bank interest is too low for savings. He bought an intermediate unit for RM2 million. “The value of money is depreciating and it is better to invest in property,” says Tee, 41, who now stays in a 2-storey terraced house in Bandar Kinrara 5.

“An empty land in Bandar Kinrara with a golf course view is selling at RM150 psf, while a basic one [without such scenery] is at least RM120 psf. There are not many commercial developments here, though,” he adds.

Cheers
The registration started at 9am and 9.30am on Oct 10 and 11 respectively. Homebuyers were required to present downpayments of RM30,000 (Sapphire) and RM60,000 (Oasis) via bank cheques before they could qualify for the balloting.

Balloting at the Sapphire launch began at 11am. The crowd cheered and clapped when Jamaludin picked and announced the first bumiputera and non-bumiputera buyers.
Francis Ng, who stays at Old Klang Road, was the first non-bumiputera buyer.

“Our first property was a second-hand terraced house in Bandar Kinrara 2, where we stayed for eight years. Later, we sold it and bought a house in Old Klang Road. Our children are growing up and we need more space. We were looking at houses with more land but unfortunately there were not many,” says Ng, 42, a lawyer.

“We were lucky to be picked in the ballot, so we might as well get a corner lot. We like Bandar Kinrara because this place is developing and the LRT [extension] is coming. The area is freehold, the developer reliable and the title has already been issued,” he adds. He bought a corner unit, with built-up of 2,660 sq ft, for RM957,888.

Future launches
Going forward, I&P Group plans to launch in December eight exclusive 2-storey semidees in Phase 5A3 in Bandar Kinrara 5 on elevated ground. With a GDV of RM15 million, these will start at an indicative price of RM1.78 million.

Next year, the master developer of the 1,904-acre Bandar Kinrara will be launching properties with a combined GDV of RM297 million. They include semidees and bungalows in Phase 7A10A, Phase 9A6 and Phase 9A9C; 2-storey terraced houses in Phase 7A12 and Phase 8A5A; and shopoffices in Phase 4D2 and Phase 6A3.

There is no timeline for these launches.

Commercial potential
Bandar Kinrara is about 70% developed and the commercial centre covers 27.31 acres.
“There is potential for commercial development in Bandar Kinrara. It is a matter of how we will do it and blend it with our residential development. There will be commercial launches in 1Q2010,” says Jamaludin.

He believes buyers of the older phases are enjoying good capital appreciation because Bandar Kinrara is freehold.

“Morever, we priced our properties lower because we want to give buyers an upside. We don’t want to take all the meat and leave the bones to the homebuyers,” he says.

Following the overwhelming response at Temasya Glenmarie in its August launch, Jamaludin says the developer is coming up with new plans for submission to the Shah Alam City Council. The plans include converting more than 200 acres of industrial land into residential land.

“We hope to obtain the approval in April. We want to offer different types of properties such as superlink houses, semidees and apartments,” says Jamaludin.

He adds that Alam Sari in Kajang and Alam Impian in Shah Alam will also see launches of semidees and terraced houses next year. He expects better capital appreciation for Alam Impian houses when the Kemuning-Shah Alam Highway is completed by this December.

When the highway is in full operation by next April, it will connect Alam Impian to the Federal Highway and the Kesas Highway.


This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 777, Oct 19-25, 2009 

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