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New home pricing benchmark in Mont’Kiara

SHANGHAI: A new home pricing benchmark has been set in the exclusive Kuala Lumpur enclave of Mont'Kiara: the fourth and final block of Bukit Kiara Properties' Verve Suites, which is being snapped up at prices of up to RM1,580 psf.

Within two weeks of a preview on June 4, the 250-unit block called Vox Tower has netted close to 70% sales, the strong market response flooring even the pleasantly surprised developer. Sales have since climbed further to 76%.

"This overwhelming response has caught us all by surprise," said Bukit Kiara Properties (BKP) group managing director N K Tong (pictured right) at the signing of a memorandum of agreement with BSH Home Appliances at Hamburg House in EXPO 2010 here on June 29.

Vox Tower units are pegged at an average price of RM1,250 psf. Themed after what the developer has dubbed as the Versilica living concept, the units come in sizes of 462 sq ft (1-bedroom suite), 926 sq ft (2-bedroom suite) and 1,395 sq ft (3-bedroom suite).

In all, Verve Suites comprise four towers that house a total of 933 units. All air-conditioned, these units are sold fully furnished, down to Bosch home appliances, soft furnishings and furniture. With BKP estimating the furnishing cost at RM300 psf for the Vox Tower, the price of a bare Vox unit works out to as high as RM1,256 psf - a record for the Mont'Kiara housing market.

Prices of Verve Suite units have gone up significantly since the launch of the first block, Viva Tower, back in 2006. Sold at RM570 psf then, the units - handed over late last year - are now changing hands at about RM800 psf on the secondary market.

Viva Tower and Block B (Vibe Tower) are 100% sold while block C (Vogue Tower) is 96% taken up.

Clearly, the strong response to BKP's latest launch in the Vox Tower has brought a breath of fresh air to the Mont'Kiara high-rise housing market, which has been sluggish from the impact of the global financial crisis last year.

The improved sentiments have also come on the heels of recent strong sales registered in certain new launches as well as those on the secondary market with sought-after addresses in the Klang Valley.

BKP's Tong attributed the success to Verve Suites, which has a gross development value of RM592 million, to the developer's selling of themed and innovative living concepts rather than conventional real estate. As it has panned out, the developer's bold bid to convert prime penthouse floors in all the four blocks into themed common areas is paying handsome dividends.

For the Vox Tower, the key attraction lies in the Versilica Sky Beach. At 37 storeys high, this "beach" in the sky been positioned as a resort getaway for residents who will get to enjoy beach activities, sunbathing or swimming under the sky, accompanied by a vista of the Kuala Lumpur skyline. Similar to the three earlier blocks in the project, the maintenance charge-cum-contribution to the sinking fund is 33 sen. Another component of the Verve Suites is a retail area of 60,000 sq ft. This will be for lease only.

Meanwhile Dr Dirk Hoffmann (pictured left), senior vice president for international sales & CEO BSH Home Appliances, said the company has already furnished 428 units of the 933 Verve Suite units with Bosch home appliances that range from microwave oven-cum-ovens, slim-line hoods, electric ceramic hobs to specially designed refrigerator exclusively for BKP.

Under the just-signed memorandum of understanding with BKP, BSH will supply the Vox Tower units with energy-saving washer-cum-dryers. This appliance would also be made available, at a cost, to owners of Blocks B and C of Verve Suites.

The total Bosch retail contract in the Verve Suites works might be just about RM10 million but, Hoffmann said, it was not just about money for BSH.
"We see in BKP a reliable partner; a role model for other markets. BKP is way ahead (of other developers)," Hoffman added.

Going forward, BKP targets the launch of its fully-furnished high-rise units on its 39,000 sq ft tract on Jalan Tun Razak by the first half of next year. Plans for this "innovative" project comprising a retail component beneath a 20-level block with 170 units of about 1,000 sq ft are being finalised, added Tong.

The developer is also scouting for a 50- to 100-acre tract in greater Kuala Lumpur for a strata-titled gated and guarded landed home project.
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