Real estate developers to watch in 2023

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With the many developers now tweaking their projects to suit the new home buyers, there are numerous choices in the market.

With the many developers now tweaking their projects to suit the new home buyers, there are numerous choices in the market.

From affordable homes to luxury living, the choice is yours

By Joseph Wong

The recent Malaysia Developers Awards (MDA) can help serve as an indication as to which company to approach when seeking to buy a property as they have proven to be financially strong and have the capacity to build quality homes. But adding to that list, here are several more reputable developers to consider.

There is no shortage of candidates as every developer is ramping up their activities and streamlining their products in the face of rising material costs, political uncertainty and labour shortage among others.

Nevertheless, many developers have ventured into more affordable products to cater to the general demand from the middle-income group (M40). Into this market target are property developers like Platinum Victory, Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) and PR1MA.

Among Platinum Victory’s latest projects is PSV 1 Residences @ Platinum South Valley which has many features that would appeal to the M40. Located in the mature neighbourhood of Sungai Besi, PSV 1 Residences is a residential strata apartment development with the primary appeal of its coveted location, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Surrounded by well-established amenities, infrastructure and lush greenery, the project spans just over two acres and is comprehensively equipped with recreational facilities of all varieties.

The latest highrise residential project by PKNS occupies 2.82 acres of leasehold land in Seksyen 7, Bandar Baru Bangi. Smacked in the centre of a mature neighbourhood with public facilities, recreation, as well as vibrant commercial all at arms’ reach, Intana Ria 3 has only one apartment block that comprises 200 residential units distributed across 14 storeys.

The low-density plot ratio is what most people yearned for in a suburban area. Living in an intimate community also gives the residents a sense of privacy and allows more social interactions with their neighbours. 

What people often overlook is the excellent value and quality of PR1MA homes, built by Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia. While the general public tends to underestimate mass market developments, PR1MA took it upon themselves to ensure that PR1MA developments are not just on par, if not better than what is offered in the market, albeit at a more affordable price.

Residensi Larkin Indah is a high-rise development offering a variety of facilities to make life easier for the residents.

Residensi Larkin Indah is a high-rise development offering a variety of facilities to make life easier for the residents.

With about 70 projects nationwide, there is a wide variety of choices and strategic locations offered from the northern states to the southern tip of Johor, and over the South China Sea to East Malaysia.

Also in the market is OSK Property which has also been consistent in their delivery of quality homes.

On the other end of the pendulum, The Cedar at Damansara Heights is a fitting addition to this lively and aspirational neighbourhood, providing luxury, elegance and security compared to the best anywhere in the region or even globally. With new bars, restaurants, gyms and cafés springing up with frenetic regularity in Damansara Heights, The Cedar is certain to live up to its luxury living image.

For those seeking to live in landed property in bigger townships, developers like Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd (Matrix Concepts) and SP Setia Bhd are certainly the big boys with a variety of homes. As these developers are also community developers, they will provide facilities to cater to their developments and their residents. With Matrix Concepts, it built its own d'Tempat Country Club, which is also conveniently located near its Lifestyle Hub. The country club is spread across 6.33 acres of space amidst a lush undulating landscape and features an aquagym, bowling alley, children wading pool with water slides, Olympic-size swimming pool, indoor badminton and table tennis facilities, squash courts, a gymnasium and jacuzzis.

In addition, d'Tempat Country Club is bringing back the highly-demanded Magical Christmas event every weekend from Dec 10 to 25. The festivities will feature a Christmas musical, a circus show, a percussion performance, a Christmas dance performance, fireworks (on Christmas Eve), a snowfall session, a Christmas market, as well as game booths and Christmas workshops.

SP Setia also looks after its developments through the creation of facilities and amenities that would benefit the residents and the surrounding neighbourhood. A prime example of this is its D’Network @ Setia Eco Park. Standing on 3.16 acres of land, D’Network brings communities from Setia Alam and surrounding neighbourhoods together with its welcoming spaces to dine, shop and play. It hosts a curated collection of restaurants and cafés, a grocer, communal spaces for outdoor activities and amenities that meet lifestyle needs.

The master planning of D’Network took into consideration those factors of sustainability by utilising a renewable energy source like solar energy which is more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It provides power not only to the F&B hub and musical fountain but also to the event lawn, summer garden, petanque court, playground and pet-friendly park. 

Two other developers to consider are GuacoLAnd Malaysia and AYER Holdings, both of which also have landed property.

D’Network serves Setia Eco Park and the surrounding Setia Alam.

D’Network serves Setia Eco Park and the surrounding Setia Alam.

Due diligence

However, at the end of the day, it is always advisable to do the right thing that many home buyers fail to properly do and that is to do their due diligence. Instead of being caught up with the moment and impulse to buy a property, it will do well to find out more about the developer, the project itself and its surroundings.

By undertaking the process of due diligence, potential buyers would also give themselves a cool-down period which would enable them to make a clearer decision on whether to buy or not.

Having a list of reputable property developers is a good start but at the same time, buyers should not limit their choice but seek out other developers who might have the product they truly seek. 

Placemakers like the up-and-coming SplashMania theme park in Gamuda Cove will be an attraction to home buyers.

Placemakers like the up-and-coming SplashMania theme park in Gamuda Cove will be an attraction to home buyers.

The things that make developments fun

The last couple of years saw the rise of a new trend that is taking the property market by storm. While there was no technical name for it in the past, placemaking ingenuity became very much a major attribute of the industry. Two other attributes - creative digitisation and environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives - also came to the forefront as buyers became more discerning. 

These three attributes have become integral to the property sector and hence property developments that incorporated these three aspects garnered more attention for seekers of homes and investment opportunities.

Placemaking is a relatively new definition for the property industry. It refers to the creation of vibrant areas within a township or development that promotes the health, happiness or well-being of its residents, encouraging interaction among residents and visitors as well as the establishment of place identity.

Examples of placemakers include theme parks, pet-friendly parks, hangout food and beverage areas and Instagramable venues. Developers who have prominently invested in placemaking include the big boys like Gamuda Land, SP Setia and Sunway Property. 

Gamuda Land and Sunway Property are among the biggest players. Gamuda Land has invested huge sums into the creation of crowd-pullers like SplashMania theme park in Gamuda Cove and Big Bucket Splash theme park in Gamuda Gardens. Sunway Property, known as the master community builder, has been in the market for a much longer time, preceding even the creation of the placemaking terminology. As a developer, Sunway Property is time-tested where their placemaking expertise is concerned.

Creative digitalisation takes into consideration the initiatives undertaken by developers to digitise their development processes, including automation of processes from pre-purchase right up to facility management, smart energy, Internet-of-Things (IoT) and more. 

The innovation and digitalisation initiatives were undertaken to improve the entire process of deliverables. It covers the design and planning process, project management and construction, the after-handling of vacant possession services and leadership in adopting digital transformation. 

Matrix Concept’s d'Tempat Country Club has numerous facilities that serves the community residing in Bandar Sri Sendayan.

Matrix Concept’s d'Tempat Country Club has numerous facilities that serves the community residing in Bandar Sri Sendayan.

One of the prominent developers that have invested heavily in this area is I-Berhad and its i-City in Shah Alam. Destined to be a front-runner for technology-related undertaking, its latest addition is the i-City Financial Centre which rides on the technological infrastructure that the developer has incorporated into i-City to make it 5G ready.

Moving forward, it has become a developer’s social responsibility and corporate accountability, and its impact on its employees, customers and communities has become one of the hottest agendas in its daily practices. 

This has become more so in the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic which helped to escalate greater emphasis on ESG undertakings. With Generation Y and Z leaning strongly towards ESG issues, developers have been tweaking their projects to include many innovations to satisfy these two groups who happen to be the next generation of home buyers. 

Most developers are already ESG-conscious and players like UEM Sunrise, Matrix Concepts and IJM Land have taken steps to incorporate especially the social and environmental components into their respective developments. 

The market is changing and the new demands and needs of potential buyers and investors have evolved. The year 2023 will certainly be an interesting time for every stakeholder.


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