City&Country: My Space-- A sellout in Sentul, almost

Intermittent downpours brought some relief from the scorching heat recently but by the look of things, they did nothing to lower the temperature of property enthusiasts in the Klang Valley.

For those who missed the news, investors turned out in full force for the preview of YTL Land and Development’s The Capers in Kuala Lumpur Sentul East on March 25 and 26. At the end of the two days, all the 338 tower units of the freehold project, with a gross development value of RM350 million, had been snapped up.

There was so much of excitement at the sales gallery that one of those present compared it to a fish market!

In a quick response, the pleasantly surprised developer partially released another component of the project — two 5-storey blocks of 128 low-rise suites. At press time, all of the smaller, 999 sq ft 2+1 single suites had been taken up, leaving sixteen 4+1+1 duplex units of 1,965 sq ft, which the developer said it would unveil on April 1.

Also unsold were six penthouses and eight “bridge units”, as the developer called them, measuring 3,264 sq ft.

That notwithstanding, the success of The Capers is noteworthy, coming at a time when sentiment is weighed down by economic uncertainties stemming from the unrest in the Middle East and the impact of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11.

While the strong sales may give one the impression that the local property market is resilient, not many projects will see the tremendous interest that The Capers has attracted.

What are the reasons for the huge demand? The winning ingredients are there: strategic location and accessibility, pricing, the developer’s reputation and credibility and unique design.

Still, the developer admitted to being pleasantly surprised by the positive market response. Though 7,000 potential buyers had registered their interest, YTL Land would know there is no guarantee that an expression of interest means a sale.

Could this be why it decided to offer eligible purchasers early-bird discounts and a Developer Interest Bearing Scheme?

Discounts of 3% and 5% were dangled, depending on the size of the units, ranging from 695 to 1,567 sq ft for the high-rises. Discounts were also offered for the 999 sq ft single suites, but at press time, the developer could not confirm whether there would be early-bird discounts for the duplex suites.

Not stopping there, YTL Land worked with the banks to introduce a Developer Interest Bearing Scheme incentive of 10%+90% (for those eligible) or 30%+70% (for those who own three properties).

People familiar with the planning of The Capers recall that the developer had considered, at one point, a price tag of RM800 psf onwards. But as it turned out — and in a sure sign of cautious market sentiment — the average price of The Capers is now RM550 to RM600 psf. The duplex suites are priced at RM700 to RM800 psf.

Still, at an average of RM550 to RM600 psf, The Capers has set a new price benchmark for Sentul real estate.

The Saffron, also in Sentul, was launched in 2006 at RM220 psf but today, says YTL Land, values have more than doubled to between RM450 and RM500 psf. Yet another of the developer’s projects in Sentul, The Maple, is now tagged at an average of RM500 psf — double the price at its launch in 2003.

Price aside, a stand-out feature of The Capers must be its out-of-the-box design. Both towers — one oriented south towards the KLCC and the other north facing the highlands — are positioned to shield the units from the afternoon sun and from each other so that they do not look into each other.

An artist’s impression depicts wave-like sculptural forms that soar majestically into the sky. Space optimisation in the internal layout is also said to be a plus point.

The attention showered on The Capers not only drives home the point that there is ample liquidity in the market but also that Malaysians continue to believe in investing in real estate for the long term.

Au Foong Yee sees a market that is alive and kicking and believes developers must work harder to stand above the competition. She wonders how long it will take for YTL Land to sell the bigger units at The Capers, the most expensive of which is priced at RM3.28 million.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 852, Apr 4-10, 2011

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