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City&Country: Prime KLCC spot at developer’s price

A few years ago, developers with prime land in the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) were aggressively launching high-end condominiums, with views of the Petronas Twin Towers as their major selling point. It was reported that some units were going for more than RM1,800 psf. Since the market slowdown due to the global financial crisis, prices have become more realistic.

Developer GuocoLand (M) Bhd’s RM700 million condominium, Oval Kuala Lumpur, located smack in the middle of KLCC (beside Desa Kuda Lari Apartments on Jalan Binjai), was completed in April this year. Prices for the units start from RM850 psf. Although it has not been officially launched, it is 40% sold.

“Oval’s prices have been holding quite steady over the last few months. It has always been GuocoLand’s intention to market Oval after it is completed with CF [certification of fitness]. This way, purchasers can literally view what they are purchasing and move in straight away,” says K C Chong, GuocoLand’s director of marketing and sales.

The project has direct access to the 50-acre KLCC Park. With no official launching, interested purchasers are invited on a personalised tour of the project.

GuocoLand managing director Paul Poh tells City & Country that the group is proud of Oval. “We may have limited clientele due to the price, but I believe that aside from our good reputation and brand, the product will sell itself. It is probably the first residential development in the area that offers 16 full-floor homes in a single development.”

Oval is made up of two 41-storey towers featuring 140 units. Each tower houses 62 Sky Villas and eight Mansionary Villas. The Mansionary Villas are full-floor homes. Built-ups are 7,600 sq ft for the full-floor units and 3,750 sq ft for the half-floor ones.

Units are either the entire floor or half, complete with columnless interiors and unobstructed views of the cityscape.

Poh says it is a good time to invest in property in a premier location, given the low interest rates offered by banks. “Units in Oval are now going for an average RM1,100 psf from a peak of RM1,500 psf [2007 pricing]. So in terms of capital appreciation, it is an investment opportunity for the long term,” says Poh. Rents for fully-furnished units are estimated at RM15,000 to RM20,000 a month.

“With this price, we are expecting about 27% capital gain,” he adds.

According to Chong, most of the other condos in the KLCC area had been launched earlier and completed. “Intending buyers will need to purchase these units from the second-tier market, but units in good locations will be difficult to obtain. Their selling price will not be low despite the market slowdown. Oval offers purchasers the opportunity to buy brand-new units at developer’s prices,” he says.

Chong believes the KLCC condo market will continue to offer the very best of condo living in Kuala Lumpur. “Being premier real estate, it commands high values. The current selling prices represent tremendous value to both local and foreign investors. In fact, we are witnessing the transformation of KLCC into a huge prime real estate, akin to those found in major world capitals such as New York, London and Paris,” he says.

The developer’s other big projects include Emerald in Rawang, Selangor, and the upcoming mixed development Damansara City in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur. Its investment portfolio, through Tower REIT (real estate investment trust), includes Menara HLA, HP Towers and Menara ING in Kuala Lumpur. GuocoLand also owns two hotels managed by Thistle — Thistle Port Dickson Resort and Thistle Johor Baru.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 785, Dec 14-20, 2009.

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