In the period of Jan-Sep 2015, Bandar Springhill was the neighbourhood with the most number of residential property transactions in Negeri Sembilan (NS). Previously known as Lukut, Bandar Springhill is a township located in the Port Dickson district and is approximately 20 minutes away from Seremban.
Dato’ Kevin Woo, Managing Director of KW Associate Architects Sdn Bhd attributes Bandar Springhill’s rising popularity to UCSI Group’s presence in the area. In February 2008, he was the one who fuelled the partnership between Dato’ Peter Ng of USCI Group and Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng of MUI Group which led to a joint venture agreement for the establishment of an educational township in Bandar Springhill.
This township, covering some 200-acres is home to the new UCSI International School and the UCSI University Medical Teaching Hospital, which is currently under construction. The latter will serve as a teaching facility for medical students and provide the services of a full-fledged hospital. Other upcoming projects include the five-star UCSI Resort Hotel and Convention Centre.
This education hub serves as the greatest stimulus for Bandar Springhill’s residential properties, as the statistics show it is one of the most sought after neighbourhoods among property investors and home buyers alike.
Dato’ Kevin explained that good pricing is a contributing factor to Bandar Springhill’s popularity. The properties in the area are very price-sensitive; hence, it is more affordable to purchase properties there as compared to other thriving areas in NS such as Seremban. The average prices for bungalow units in Bandar Springhill currently range from RM380,000-RM420,000.
As the architect in charge of the design of boutique homes at Bandar Springhill, Dato’ Kevin stated that there will be an upcoming project-phase E7, which comprises of boutique double-storey terrace houses.
In the same period, the area that had the highest average price per sq ft for residential properties was Kota Seriemas, a township situated in Nilai. This distinction is largely due to the township’s proximity to the transportation hubs, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2, which are a 20-minute drive away.
Even though it is located quite a distance away from Seremban city centre, Kota Seriemas may be the preferred choice for those who work in KLIA, Putrajaya or Sepang, all of which are within a 30-minute drive away. Also, its network of well-planned roads gives the residents of Kota Seriemas ease of accessibility. These include the Kuala Lumpur – Seremban Highway, ELITE Highway (exit at KLIA), Putrajaya/Cyberjaya – Dengkil Highway and LEKAS Highway.
The area that registered the highest number of residential units sold was Seremban, recording 303 transactions in the first nine months of 2015.
With prices of homes in Klang Valley (KV) on the rise, Seremban is now considered an ideal place for double income professionals/couples and young families. Part of the Greater Klang Valley Conurbation, Seremban has been seeing some exciting developments in the past few years. The notable one being Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd’s flagship development – Bandar Sri Sendayan (BSS), a 5,233-acre township located in western Seremban.
The developer has planned BSS to be a self-contained township with plenty of amenities and facilities including schools, places of worship and parks. Also, in the pipeline for the township are shopping complexes and a specialist hospital.
Dato’ Kevin’s firm was involved in BSS’s master planning and design. He accredits the developer for ensuring that the township promotes sustainable and comfortable living, which is clearly shown through the excellent streetscapes; with wide roads, sufficient pedestrian walkways and green landscaping in between road dividers.
Dato’ Kevin applauds Matrix Concepts’ efforts in going above and beyond to create a spacious and comfortable township. He revealed that the developer has far surpassed the building requirements imposed by the local town council in terms of provision of public amenities. Matrix Concept’s directors, Dato’ Lee Tian Hock and Ho Kong Soon are mindful of their corporate social responsibilities in the development of this township.
Additionally, Matrix Concepts has always guaranteed good capital growth for its first time home buyers. Their loyalty purchasers programme ensures that its property buyers will earn returns after 2 years. The latest development in BSS is Ara Sendayan which is double-storey terrace houses with an expected starting price of RM650,000.
BSS also has an industrial component, namely the Sendayan TechValley, which has already attracted international companies from Japan, France and Germany, among others. The Matrix Global Schools comprising of the Matrix International Pre-School, Matrix International School and Matrix Private School serves as an additional attracting factor.
Another notable developer in Seremban is Mega 3 Group, led by Dato’ Ir Tan Suan Ching where their main focus is in affordable housing and aimed at creating valued and functional residential spaces, which augur well with the community and residents of Negeri Sembilan. Their landmark commercial development is a 2-storey shop office project in Taman Jasper. It received a tremendous response and recorded a capital gain of more than 100% for secondary sales even before the issuance of Certificate of Fitness.
Coming in second is Nilai, with 236 residential properties being bought between January-September 2015. Nilai receives considerable interest as the township has been in existence for 30 years, hence, it has all the necessary infrastructure, besides it being one of the closets towns in NS to KV.
On top of it having a slew of hypermarts including Nilai Square, Mydin, and Tesco Hypermarkets as well as schools and hospitals, Nilai’s main draw is its educational cum medical town status.
Besides housing Malaysia’s first private cancer centre, the NCI Cancer Hospital, Nilai is also home to Nilai University, INTI International University, Manipal International University, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia and the Islamic University College of Malaysia. It is not surprising that Nilai serves as a good population catchment, as there will always be students and teachers looking for places to rent/stay.
Providing a good example, Dato’ Kevin said that the first phase Mesa Hills@Nilai, a high-rise development, received a high take-up rate as it was launched at the right time and catered to the current market sentiment.
Next on the list with 197 transactions is Senawang. Dato’ Kevin affirmed that Senawang is a high growth area as the upcoming LEKAS Highway will connect Senawang to KLIA, shortening travelling time to only 20 minutes. The interchanges will be at Paroi, Senawang, Rasah Jaya, Mambau South, Bukit Nenas and Sepang to KLIA. It is only expected to see the appeal of properties in the area shoot up, as accessibility is a huge catalyst for housing demand.
Seremban 2 by IJM Land Bhd is another favourite among homebuyers, whereby the area saw 176 residential property transactions. Located only 45 minutes from KL city centre and 30 minutes from KLIA, the integrated township is conveniently connected by the North – South (PLUS), ELITE and LEKAS Highways.
According to Dato’ Kevin, Seremban 2 is perceived as an extension of the existing Seremban town and it has evolved into a matured township, with the Mydin Hypermarket and Jaya Jusco shopping centre serving as growth catalysts.
With its variety of amenities such as schools, banks, a sports complex and a 15-acre lake park, Seremban 2 has drawn in the working populace from KV, especially the middle-income earners as it is more viable for them to stay in NS and commute to KL for work. It is also a top choice for young property investors as the township promises of high quality living within a low-density setting.
The total number of transactions for landed properties in NS was 3,025 with an average price per sq ft of RM110.
There was a notable escalation in average price per sq ft after June as during that period there were quite a few residential property launches in the state, especially in Seremban, as shared by Dato’ Kevin.
Seremban is an exciting real estate prospect as it presents a lower entry point for home buyers and property investors as compared to houses in KV. A growing number of discerning buyers are realising that they cannot go wrong in buying landed properties in gated and guarded developments in Seremban/Nilai/Seremban 2, either for their own stay or for investment purpose.
A 2-storey terrace house in Bandar Sri Sendayan could be purchased for RM620,000 per unit; in Seremban 2, the price range is between RM550,000-RM580,000 and in Senawang it roughly costs RM440,000-RM480,000.
Dato’ Kevin noted that areas such as Seremban 2, Nilai, Sendayan, Bandar Enstek and Bangi will continue to see potential growth due to their easy connectivity to KL. Besides that, the Chief Minister of NS is very supportive of any developments that are within the Greater KL Conurbation.
When questioned about the capital appreciation growth in the prime areas (Seremban, Nilai, Senawang) in the next few years, Dato’ Kevin said that those who have been buying properties in these areas in the past 3 years have enjoyed good capital appreciation.
For instance, terrace houses launched in Bandar Sri Sendayan in 2014 at a price of RM380,000 is now roughly worth RM520,000, translating to a capital appreciation of almost 40% in 2 years. He also mentioned that 10 years ago, a double-storey terrace house in Seremban could be rented for RM500 per month and the amount has now increased to RM2,000 per month.
Going forward, Dato’ Kevin foresees a drop in activity in the state’s property market as it is now more challenging for potential purchasers to obtain home loans from banks due to its current restrictive lending policies.
But then again, Dato’ Kevin shared that the property buyers in Seremban differ in thinking as compared to their KV counterparts.
Some developers in Negeri Sembilan will have relatively lower sales on paper as purchasers are more reserved and they are reluctant to purchase before physical construction commences. However, if there is a show unit of the property available, sales will escalate to 45-50% as it illustrates developers commitment to build said properties. More sales usually come in halfway through the development process, after potential buyers have ascertained that the developers are serious about delivering the said properties on time.
In the same period, the number of non-landed property transactions in the state was considerably lower; at 520 transactions, it lags behind landed properties transactions by 5.8 times. The average price per sq ft was slightly higher at RM118.
Dato’ Kevin attributes the lower trend of non-landed properties to the lack of demand for high-rise units as landed homes in NS are still affordable to the masses.
Winds of change will be heading towards NS, though, as Dato’ Kevin shared that there are currently more than 10 applications for stratified property projects submitted by developers for approval by the state.
However, at the moment, applications on high-rise properties are frozen as the housing guidelines are currently under review by the state’s housing committee. Among the proposed guidelines include the supplying of 2.5 car parks for each apartment unit and extension of corridor length to 2.4 metres (In KV, the required length is 1.8m, particularly for SOHO units and serviced apartment developments having commercial land titles with residential connotations).
The proposed guidelines are commendable as they are consumer inclined; for instance, most families have at least 2 cars and will require the recommended slot number. However, Dato’ Kevin notes that it will be more challenging for developers as it translates to extra construction costs for them.
Still, he reckons that there will be a lot of changes in Negeri Sembilan’s property landscape in the next five years where there will be a greater influx of investors and developers as land acquisitions in NS are relatively cheaper than KV.
Dato’ Kevin also feels that NS’s new ruling where 50% of new housing projects will have to fall within a specific price range; 15% must be priced at or below RM80,000; 15% at or below RM250,000 and 20% priced at or below RM400,000 – will work in favour of developers. The remaining 50% will be free float prices as to the discretion of developers.
He believes that developers will be able to obtain more revenue as compared to the old guidelines as the new spread will ensure that a development does not bear the low-cost housing stigma. One other plus point is that the new ruling will prevent the overcrowding of high-end developments in the NS property market.
His advice to developers looking to build in the state is to carve out a niche for gated and guarded developments as buyers are becoming more discerning and demanding in terms of security and lifestyle requirements.
Besides that, Dato’ Kevin believes that concept living is of paramount in meeting the market’s demands for strata-titled properties. This is because most buyers are looking for more than just a roof over their heads; they prefer a home that captures the work, live and play concept, where the development includes facilities that complements the lifestyle of a working professional.
Despite a large number of property projects in the pipeline, he ascertained that property prices in NS are closing rank with its KV’s counterparts. This is because property designs in NS had improved tremendously and are comparable with KV’s developments besides being only at a fraction of the prices in KV.
Disclaimer: The source of data on brickz.my is from the Valuation and Property Services department (JPPH) which officially records a property transaction once the stamp duty for the Sales and Purchase is paid. Analytics are based on the data available at the date of publication and may be subject to revision as and when more data becomes available.
This article was first published in the iProperty.com Malaysia April 2016 Magazine. Get your copy from selected news stands or view the magazine online for free at www.iproperty.com.my/magazine. Better yet, order a discounted subscription by putting in your details in the form below!