By Hakim Hassan
Central Kuala Lumpur is not only a tourism hotspot but also a viable investment zone.
According to Full Homes Realty Sdn Bhd group director CY Hon, the area has attracted foreign investment into the country due to competitive pricing for luxury properties when compared to other Southeast Asian cities.
“For example, the Ritz-Carlton Residence in KL is selling for about RM2,500 per square foot (psf), compared with Ritz-Carlton Residence in Singapore, which is priced at S$3,500psf,” he said.
“It is a foreigners’ market. Investors buy and sell for foreigners. Many of those living in the KLCC area are expatriates employed by oil and gas companies or working in embassies.
“Most of the tenants (70% to 80%) are expatriates who can afford to pay more than RM10,000 a month for a condo unit.
“The Central KL property market is very sensitive to the ups and downs of the economy. Take the case of the oil and gas industry; when the oil price rises, companies here hire more expatriates. This creates demand for rental. When there is demand, occupancy rates are high and, of course, the prices will increase,” said Hon.
“Locals buying to stay in this area will look for bigger space but at a lower per square foot price. Foreigners will go for luxury properties priced above RM2,500psf,” he added.
Another reason why Central KL has been attracting foreign investment is the added value given to buyers. Jacky Han, Affirm+ Properties head of project sales, explains that in terms of price psf and living expenses, foreigners consider Malaysia affordable.
“Although we can’t get a fully furnished home, we are getting good facilities here compared to other countries where they don’t have that much. In China, for instance, the property may not come with proper toilet fixtures.
“But the price is higher than in KL, around five to 10 times more, like in Hong Kong.”
Han said that renovation costs in China could take up to 50% of the total unit price. “That means when you buy a house for RM1mil, you have to fork out at least RM500,000 for renovations. So you need a lot more money to buy a house overseas,” he added.