City&Country: Sime Darby offering high-end niche homes

Sime Darby Property Bhd is looking to launch two luxury niche products in Kuala Lumpur next month — Turnberry Villas in the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) grounds off Jalan Bukit Kiara and Kenny Hills Residence in Bukit Tunku.

These upmarket developments, with homes that start at RM3 million, are targeting high net worth individuals.

Sime Darby Property managing director Datuk Tunku Putra Badlishah Tunku Annuar tells City & Country that the developments cater for different needs.

“Turnberry Villas is ideal for upgraders while the Kenny Hills Residence condos are aimed at empty nesters living in Kenny Hills who want to downsize,” he says, adding that there is demand for high-end products in the market judging from the good sales.

“The high-end market has been increasing in size over the years as the Malaysian population gets more affluent,” Tunku Badlishah explains. “Given the increase in the prices of existing homes, you now have the option to upgrade.”

High-end niche developments would be sustainable for Sime Darby Property, although only a small portion of the population would be able to buy such homes. However, to ensure that all strata of society are catered for, Sime Darby Property remains committed to providing products in every price range.

“As part of our strategy, our launches in our townships range from medium to high-end products,” Tunku Badlishah says. “This enables us to cater for various types of potential buyers in the market and maximise our market share.”

Turnberry Villas
Turnberry Villas is a 128-unit town villa project with a gross development value (GDV) of RM550 million. The homes are neatly arranged in three rows on terraced terrain within the KLGCC grounds and face the East Course’s 12th fairway.

Named after a famous Scottish golf course, Turnberry Villas comprises 120 units of 4-storey town villas and eight units of 5-storey resort villas. One unit has already been booked by celebrity lady golfer Michelle Wie.

The project is nearly complete and will be open for sale in May. According to Tunku Badlishah, Sime Darby Property is still waiting for the renewal of leases to 99 years before launching the villas, which makes the project somewhat of a build-then-sell scheme.

The 10-acre leasehold development is low in density with 12 units per acre. The built-ups range from 4,422 to 6,300 sq ft while the prices are between RM3.8 million and RM6.9 million or RM922 psf on average.

The project is ideal for avid golfers because a club membership worth RM250,000 comes with each home apart from a lift. Each unit also has ample car park space to accommodate three to four cars and an airwell, which means abundant natural light and good ventilation.

Turnberry Villas is the first residential development within the KLGCC. Some other tracts have also been earmarked for development but the details have yet to be finalised.

Kenny Hills Residence
Kenny Hills Residence consists of four blocks of 5-storey condominium villas housing 63 units. Sitting on 4.75 acres of freehold land, the low-rise condos have a density of 13 units per acre, built-ups that range from 3,677 to 5,102 sq ft, a GDV of RM250 million and prices that are between RM3.3 million and RM5.2 million, or RM982 psf on average. The project is slated for completion in 2014.

The condos come with 24-hour security incorporating CCTVs, security patrol, lifts activated by access cards, home alarm system and panic button. The facilities provided include a jogging tract, swimming pool, children’s area as well as a clubhouse that houses a gym and kindergarten.
Sime Darby Property had owned the site with four dilapidated bungalows on it for many years. The bungalows were eventually demolished to make way for the condo project.

“We were able to save the 30 full-grown trees on the property,” says Tunku Badlishah.

Turnberry Villas and Kenny Hills Residence are among 15 project launches with a GDV of RM1.6 billion scheduled in the developer’s FY2011 ending June 30. Its launches so far have received good response. The December 2010 launch of 26 superlink houses, called Casa Rimba in Melawati, were fully taken up in the first two weeks. In January, the launch of Indigo in USJ Heights (comprising 35 zero-lot bungalows) saw 86% sales; Mulberry Grove in Denai Alam, Shah Alam (consisting of 130 superlink homes) notched up 55% sales; and Avani in Bandar Bukit Raja, Klang (with 194 terraced houses) was 90% sold.

Tunku Badlishah says there are plans to develop land in Jalan U-Thant (1.16 acres) and Ara Damansara (762 acres) but nothing has been finalised yet.

Affordable housing
Tunku Badlishah says he is aware of the country’s need for affordable housing and feels that the authorities have to come up with a win-win solution. He notes that most of the low-cost housing schemes are situated in locations with no proper transport. Moreover, with the ceiling price of low-cost homes at RM42,000 (now revised to RM50,400), it often means that building them is a losing venture for developers in the Klang Valley.

Tunku Badlishah suggests building higher-density affordable housing around public transport nodes. “For example, in our Putra Heights township in Subang Jaya, we will have an LRT station. So we are discussing with the authorities the possibility of building high-density affordable housing there.

“The authorities have been very open to the idea of having RM120,000 homes next to an LRT station, which makes sense to the low-income group.”

This will lead to a population that can sustain commercial activities such as retail and food and beverage, thus creating a vibrant community in these areas, he adds.

Tunku Badlishah stresses the need for the government to work with developers to build affordable homes in areas where people want to live, which will allow the latter to make money.

Sime Darby Property aims to increase its portfolio of affordable homes, priced below RM220,000, by 1,000 units by 2013. “At the same time, we would be creating value for the buyers as the price of their property would appreciate,” says Tunku Badlishah.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 855, Apr 25-May 1, 2011

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