City&Country: Cover Story-- Desa ParkCity’s neighbours get a boost

The suburbs of Bandar Utama, Mutiara Damansara and Desa ParkCity has seen property values rise steeply over the years. The development of this conurbation in the Klang Valley probably began with Bandar Utama, where a 2-storey terraced home measuring 1,873 sq ft recently sold for RM750,000 — 56% more than its initial price tag of RM480,000 in 2002, transaction data by Landserve Sdn Bhd shows.

After Bandar Utama came Mutiara Damansara, developed by Mutiara Rini Sdn Bhd. And when Ikano Corp Sdn Bhd and Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd set up shop in its commercial precinct in 2000 and 2001 respectively, real estate values there spiked.

The launch of the award-winning Desa ParkCity, a 473-acre freehold high-end master-planned township development, in 2002 brought even greater prominence to the area. Property values here are setting benchmark prices. A renovated 2-storey Zenia link house there sold for RM2.05 million recently, while a 2-storey SouthLake linked house — which sold for RM640,000 in 2008 — has seen its value double.

So with homes in these parts seeing such impressive appreciation, what about the surrounding areas of Kepong, which comprises townships such as Bandar Manjalara, Taman Bukit Maluri and Kepong Baru, as well as those in Segambut like Taman Sri Sinar and Taman Sri Bintang?

Property developers and consultants say residential and commercial property values in the older parts of Kepong have increased substantially over the years as well. The overall robust demand for homes in the Klang Valley and the spillover effect from the newer and higher-end neighbouring townships have contributed to their growth. According to Landserve managing director Chen King Hoaw, Kepong — which includes Bandar Manjalara, Kepong Baru and Medan Putra Business Centre ­— covers about 3,800 acres (excluding Desa ParkCity).

He says the real estate in the surrounding areas, including those that lie on the other side of the hills to the east of Desa ParkCity that are adjacent to Taman Sri Bintang and Taman Sri Sinar in Segambut, have seen their values rise over the years.

City & Country recently visited Bandar Manjalara, located across the road from Desa ParkCity. The almost fully developed township is accessible via the LDP into Jalan Burung Hantu that divides Desa ParkCity and Sunway SPK Damansara from the older Bandar Manjalara and Medan Putra Business Centre. The difference in character and atmosphere between the two areas are rather apparent.

Bandar Manjalara, Taman Bukit Maluri, Taman Sri Bintang, Kepong Baru, Taman Sri Sinar, Segambut Dalam and Jinjang Selatan have existed side by side for decades and are all interconnected.

This entire stretch from Bandar Manjalara to Segambut Dalam houses mainly medium-cost terraced houses and shophouses, new villages, squatter settlements, factories and warehouses that are either temporary or semi-permanent structures.

Before the development of Mutiara Damansara, Desa ParkCity and Sunway SPK Damansara, this stretch was known as the Sungai Penchala Malay settlement, with large tracts of undeveloped land covered with trees and thick undergrowth.

According to real estate agents familiar with the area, current demand for landed housing here is rather strong, and the limited supply of medium to medium high-end residential properties in recent times.

There is also an overall shortage of land for landed home development in the vicinity, with most new projects being high-rises, as evident from the number of upcoming condominium projects.

Chen points out that a 2-storey terraced home measuring 1,650 sq ft in Bandar Manjalara, which went for RM280,000 in 2000, appreciated 10.7% to RM310,000 in 2002 when Desa ParkCity was launched. Two years later, a similar unit saw an appreciation of 16.1% while yet another unit sold for RM460,000 this year, translating to a 48% rise in capital appreciation over eight years (see charts).

(For comparison, the Nadia homes at the gated and guarded Desa ParkCity have enjoyed more than 100% appreciation in eight years.)

IJM Land also developed a project called Bayu Sri Bintang, adjacent to Desa ParkCity. Consisting of bungalows and semi-detached homes, this freehold development is fully sold.

Not too far away from Bandar Manjalara, a fully furnished 2½-storey terraced house in the leasehold Laman Rimbunan project is now on the market for RM800,000. The project was launched at end-2004 with prices starting from RM385,000.

The gated and guarded Laman Rimbunan is a joint venture between Faber Group Bhd and Metro Kajang Bhd. The RM600 million project, which sits on 100 acres of land, comprises six phases and is now in the third phase of development, having recorded almost full take-up rates for the previous two.

Once completed, Laman Rimbunan will comprise 150 units of 3-storey shopoffices, 584 units of 3-storey terraced houses, 160 units of 3-storey semi-detached homes, 88 medium-cost apartments and 360 low-cost apartments.

As for commercial properties, CBD Properties managing director Adrian Wang says there is a slight over-supply of commercial property, especially along Jalan Kepong, with the completion of numerous shoplots in this area.

A secondary school, SMJK(C) Kepong 3, is being built there while Tesco Hypermart recently opened for business in Bandar Manjalara. Road-widening works are also being carried out in Jalan Kepong to ease congestion.

Besides Tesco, there is a Jusco department store in Metro Prima and a Carrefour hypermart at the Kepong Entrepreneurs Park, as well as shops in Metro Prima, Kepong Entrepreneurs Park, Laman Rimbunan, Taman Fadason, Medan Putra in Bandar Manjalara and M Avenue in Sri Sinar.

“The commercial properties and shoplots in Jalan Kepong benefit from their proximity to the hypermarkets and accessibility to major highways. Shoplots in Jalan Kepong are now selling at RM1.5 million onwards, compared with their launch price of about RM900,000 for a standard unit,” says Wang.

Landserve’s Chen says that in the past, one had to access the Manjalara/Kepong area via Jalan Kepong or Jalan Segambut. Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP) was only opened in 1999.
“More often than not, the roads were congested. Kepong was considered far from Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Damansara or SS2 in Petaling Jaya. Not many would have thought of its potential for high-end living. To have expatriates living here was unheard of.

“Today, the landscape has changed. Many defunct factories and warehouses, wooden houses and shops have been demolished to make way for newer developments. Many commercial developments, including the hypermarkets, have been completed in Kepong, Jinjang and Segambut. Roads have been widened and upgraded into highways. Modern residential developments are now built for the middle to upper-middle-income bracket,” he says.

Spillover effect
Desa ParkCity has, without doubt, played a part in elevating Kepong into a higher-end area, and there is no denying that some of the excitement from the “hot” market there has spilled over to its other neighbours as well.

Chen notes that Sunway SPK Homes Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Sharikat Permodalan Kebangsaan Bhd and Sunway City Bhd, was the first developer to ride the Mutiara Damansara/Desa ParkCity developments when it launched the 63-acre freehold Sunway SPK Damansara in 2004. This was followed by Villa Manja @ Sunway SPK Damansara in 2007 and Sunway SPK 3 Harmoni in 2010. The high-end 2 and 2½-storey terraced houses, 2-storey semidees and townhouses there achieved brisk sales.

According to CBD Properties’ Wang, a 2½ -storey intermediate terraced house, with a built-up of 2,477 sq ft, in Sunway SPK Damansara is going for about RM1.2 million to RM1.25 million, compared with the developer’s price of RM638,000 in September 2004.

“At Villa Manja, a standard semidee with a land area of 4,050 sq ft and built-up of 3,948 sq ft, is going for RM2.3 million to RM2.7 million when the developer’s price was RM1.5 million in August 2007,” he tells City & Country.

Sunway SPK 3 Harmoni was launched in March, with prices starting from RM832,000. The project consists of 3-storey townhouses, with sizes of 2,336 to 2,583 sq ft.

Bandar Sri Damansara
Across the LDP from Sunway SPK Damansara is the freehold township of Bandar Sri Damansara by Land & General Bhd (L&G). Property prices there have been trending upwards steadily. Wang notes that a basic unit has increased 30% to 40% over the past two years, from RM350,000 to RM550,000.

A series of launches has been lined up over the next five years in the township. Early next year, a RM1.5 billion condominium project, which lies within a 40-acre park, will be launched by L&G. It will feature a total of 2,800 units and be developed in four phases over eight years.

The developer will save the trees in the park and put in boardwalks and jogging tracks for residents to enjoy the open space. Phase 1 of the project will comprise 928 units in four towers. L&G has yet to fix the selling price, but is looking at RM500,000 onwards.

TA Global Bhd is also developing a project in Bandar Sri Damansara called Damansara Avenue, a RM3.8 billion mixed-use development formerly known as Seri Suria. The site, over 48 acres of commercial land, was acquired in February 2006 for RM95 psf.

The developer launched the first phase — the RM205 million Ativo Plaza — in August at RM460 psf onwards. To date, 90% of the project has been taken up. This phase comprises 198 office suites and 43 lifestyle retail units in an 8-storey building on a 5.73-acre site but only the office suites were for sale. The office suites range from 547 to 4,094 sq ft and were priced from RM266,000 to RM2 million. The sizes of the retail units are between 1,415 and 2,692 sq ft.

TA Global aims to launch the first residential phase, comprising 250 units of high and low-rise residences with sizes of 600 to 3,400 sq ft, next quarter through a balloting process as more than 4,500 registrants have signed up.

Going forward
Chen is positive about the growth prospects of  Desa ParkCity and the surrounding areas and believes there is a growing pool of homebuyers and investors looking to upgrade. Demand for new products such as quality homes and well-located retail shops, he adds, will remain strong here.

“This is because undeveloped land suitable for residential developments for the medium to high income group is scarce. Supply is limited, hence prices are expected to trend upwards,” he says.

Chen hopes the redevelopment of the older parts of the Kepong/Jinjang/Segambut area will continue, and include transforming old factories and warehouses into modern industrial parks. He also hopes that the large squatter settlements in Segambut Dalam will be replaced by new projects and amenities or the full potential of this locality will not be realised.

CBD Properties’ Wang expects the completion of the Desa ParkCity International School by end-2011 to generate more demand for homes among foreigners and expatriates in Desa ParkCity, as well as the surrounding areas of Bandar Manjalara and Bandar Sri Damansara.

“Values will increase as demand for properties, both residential and commercial, increases,” he say

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 837, Dec 20-26, 2010

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