The middle ground hasn’t traditionally been the most fertile for developers’ profits, because suitable land isn’t cheap, and mid-market margins aren’t exactly the stuff of dividends.
But in tough times made tougher by a cooling market, the middle ground is where the property play happens. It attracts mainly two kinds of buyer: (1) the first-time middle-class homebuyer who doesn’t qualify for a government-subsidised home but hasn’t had time to save up enough for bigger digs; and, (2) the market speculator (a.k.a. ‘flipper’) attracted by the low-cost of entry and high demand.
Seri Jati Apartments in Setia Alam is an example of such a development. As the first of two mid-market offerings (the other being Seri Baiduri) built by the branded S P Setia group, it attracted a flurry of attention when it launched in 2012. True to form, S P Setia delivered vacant possession ahead of schedule in just over two years instead of the 36 months in the sale and purchase agreement.
Owner-occupiers of Seri Jati have generally been pleased with the standard of workmanship and range of facilities and services offered by the developer, including gym, multi-purpose hall, playground. jogging track, good-sized swimming pool, children’s pool, futsal and badminton courts, BBQ area and reading room, despite Seri Jati not being classified as a condominium. There’s also 24-hour security, which is apparently strictly enforced. All this, for the launch price of around RM180,000 for a 3-bed, 2-bath, 813 sq ft unit with two open-air parking bays.
Flippers who bought early would have sold on the subsale market at around RM310,000 around Dec 2014 for an almost 90% capital appreciation (if originally purchased at a bumiputera discount).
But it’s a different market now, with a high volume of supply coming or soon-to-come on-stream from Seri Jati’s neighbours, Seri Kasturi, and the bigger Seri Baiduri, Seri Mutiara and Seri Intan. Also coming up shortly are 730 units of De Palma, part of the Rumah Selangorku apartments, to be followed by De Kiara (737 units) and De Bayu (723 units). Seri Jati itself already comprises six blocks of 948 units spread over 18.75 acres. This entire she-bang of some 30 blocks of apartments occupies the northeastern-most corner of Setia Alam.
Still, it’s not a bad place to be if you work and live around Shah Alam, and Setia Alam neighbours S P Setia's upper crusty Setia Eco Park to the southeast, and the forest reserve that sits in between it and Bukit Jelutong. There’s plenty of green and hiking for outdoorsy types.
Of course, there’s no free lunch: Seri Jati’s good value and quality of facilities come from its lower land cost and need to maximise yield per acre. Upside? A freehold title under Bandaraya Shah Alam, a new, young city in which Setia Alam could emerge as a hub. A limited number of developer units were still available as at May 2016.