Oriental appeal of Jade Hills

Travelling along the SILK highway approaching the town of Kajang, Selangor, one can see numerous property developments. The town famous for its satay is now seeing its vicinity become more vibrant due to improved infrastructure that has increased the investment prospects of the properties in this area.

Gamuda Land, the property development arm of Gamuda Bhd, saw this potential and is developing 366 acres of freehold land into a new township with an oriental flavour, located just 3km from Kajang town.
Christened Jade Hills, the developer hopes to emulate the success of its Valencia residential development in Sungai Buloh by adopting the value-added proposition where facilities and amenities are provided with no additional cost to residents, says Chow Chee Wah, Gamuda Land’s managing director.

An immediate feature that visitors and interested parties will experience is the 2.5km upgraded road which leads towards Jade Hills. The road was previously a single carriageway, full of potholes before Gamuda Land pumped in RM12 million to transform it into a landscaped, four-lane dual-carriageway for a more pleasant drive.

As visitors approach the entrance to Jade Hills, they will see the completed Jade Hills Resort Club, a RM20 million clubhouse that sits on six acres. Although modern with an Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts and an all-glass dance room, it has an oriental feel to it, in line with the development’s overall theme, such as open courtyards, curved roofing and moon-shaped entrance portals. The club building currently houses the sales office.

Inside, the model of the entire development showcases undulating terrain with little model houses dotted rather sparingly across it.

“The difference between other gated communities and ours is that we have planned it to be low density — about three houses per acre — so that residents have more access to the green spaces. Also, each section or precinct is kept small to encourage interaction between neighbours. Even the roads are designed to help slow down cars for a much safer environment,” explains Chow.

A sum of RM30 million has been set aside for landscaping, including the three lakes that are fed by a natural stream. All in all, there will be about 800 units developed as gated residential parcels on 258 acres. The remaining 108 acres, which is non-gated, has been set aside for commercial properties.

“We are in the midst of planning for the commercial development, and will expect to launch in another two years when residents have moved in,” says Chow.

With a gross development value (GDV) of RM1.5 billion, Jade Hills has 12 precincts, which will be developed over 8 to 10 years.

Fifty 2-storey bungalows (Phase 1A) were launched in December last year, of which 50% has been sold, while 80% of the 20 linked bungalows in Phase 2A has been sold. The rest are bumiputera units.

There are three types of bungalows — premium, deluxe and mini-bungalows — with built-ups of 4,100 to 5,200 sq ft, going for between RM1.5 million and RM2.6 million. The linked bungalows are priced from RM1.2 million to RM1.3 million, with built-ups of 3,700 sq ft. These units are expected to be completed by June 2010.

To get an idea what the houses will look like, four show houses are located just a stone’s throw from the club house. Each house is structurally unique although all possess spacious interiors. Even with the varying build-up and land size, all have airy and expansive interiors with wide stairs, plenty of windows for natural light and high ceilings.

Clearly, the architectural lines have been designed to embrace the terrain of the tract. The result: homes with character.

While the products are priced 10% to 15% higher than other developments in the area, what buyers get in return more than justifies the higher cost, says Chow.

“We have learnt from our Valencia development to give more to our purchasers,” he adds.

Although the development includes a club house, jogging tracks and greenery, it does not have a golf course like the Valencia as there are many golf courses within the vicinity, he adds.

As a result, Gamuda Land decided to create a township that elevates the standard of living with carefully spaced homes that provide greater privacy as well as pockets of open areas where everyone can interact and form a community.

Investment prospects

With the current economic downturn, Gamuda Land has decided to come up with an investment scheme, which at first glance seems too good to be true. For buyers of Jade Hills, the developer will “pay the purchasers’ instalments — both principal and interest — for up to 12 months after vacant possession”. On top of that, the developer will also service the loan interest during construction and bear the legal fees and stamp duties on the sale and purchase agreement and loan agreements.

This means all the buyer has to do is put down a 10% deposit and wait about three years before servicing their loans.

“The reason we can offer this scheme is that construction costs have dropped, banks are giving us favourable loans and contractors are now more willing to work with us,” explains Chow. The scheme was launched last month.

This investment plan also extends to Horizon Hills in Johor. Situated within Iskandar Malaysia, the township sits on 1,228 acres of freehold land. With a total of 5,786 units, made up of bungalows, semi-detached houses, townhouses, cluster homes and commercial lots, it also comes with a 200-acre, 18-hole designer golf course and a RM25 million clubhouse for residents.

Meanwhile, the developer cannot be faulted for drawing attention to its success story, Valencia. Launched in 2001, the development has seen its property values increase by some 148%, according to Gamuda Land.

The nine-hole, residents-only golf course and the Valencia Club and Square, which has food and beverage outlets as well as speciality stores, make Valencia a popular development.

Gamuda Land is clearly banking on its good track record, commitment to excellence and investment in amenities and landscaping before construction as well as its unique investment incentive plans to hold it in good stead through these challenging times.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 747, March 23-29, 2009.

Looking for properties to buy or rent? With >150,000 exclusive listings, including undervalued properties, from vetted Pro Agents, you can now easily find the right property on Malaysia's leading property portal EdgeProp! You can also get free past transacted data and use our proprietary Edge Reference Price tool, to make an informed purchase.