Many property hotspots tend to hold their preferred position for more than one reason
By Joseph Wong
Everyone in the property industry talks about them. Regardless of the lacklustre market the real estate sector faces, these hotspots remain on the list of many buyers and investors.
According to StarProperty findings, the most sought-after locations are in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, particularly in Petaling Jaya and Damansara. These findings coincide with those of other real estate agencies, enforcing the perception that these areas have a higher value compared to others of the same property class.
That these hotspots tend to retain their top 10 rankings also signifies that the demand is not a fad but a genuine and sustainable demand.
"Many property hotspots do retain their positions on the list for more than five to 10 years, especially if they continue to enjoy strong demand. Selected locations are premium favourites and do not really fall out of favour unless there is a major impairment to the locality," said Savills Malaysia group managing director Datuk Paul Khong
Many matured neighbourhoods continue to get upgraded periodically and its remaining vacant undeveloped parcels around or the brownfield sites are developed to further enhance the locality, he said.
These activities help to keep the demand for these hotspots semi-permanent. Savills' top 10 property hotspots in Kuala Lumpur include:
Damansara Heights – This area is known as the Beverley Hills of Malaysia. Located next to another premier neighbourhood Bangsar, upcoming developments like the Pavilion Damansara Heights and the completed Damansara City, along with the many supporting offices, hotel and residential components making their appearance in the area, is elevating the status of this address. From 2023 onwards, more excitement is expected for this premium location.
The trinity of Bangsar, Mont Kiara and Sri Hartamas – These evergreen residential locations in Kuala Lumpur continue to draw a healthy demand. Sustained by the many upper-class services and products within these three suburbs, many are still purchasing the limited supply of available properties. Those who are residing in these neighbourhoods are reluctant to leave, leaving fewer sub-sale opportunities for buyers.
Desa Park City – This neighbourhood set the standard for many developers who are out to emulate its success, particularly its place-making facilities. Ironically, this suburb was not on the preferred list until Samling Group came along with an idea to upscale the neighbourhood.
TTDI – This well-established and popular neighbourhood, bordering Petaling Jaya and Bandar Utama, is a mature area that offers all the fineries of secluded living and the green lung of Bukit Kiara. Serviced by the mass rapid transit (MRT) line 1, residents here find easy access to all the shopping and lifestyle amenities.
Bukit Jalil – Once famous as the Commonwealth Village, this suburb has seen a rejuvenation, backed by a strong large growing population. With Pavilion Bukit Jalil taking the lead, the area is developing rapidly.
Wangsa Maju and Setapak – These middle-class neighbourhoods cater to the masses offering good public transportation and close proximity to the city centre. Affordability and family living are the key drivers of these matured areas.
Sentul – This once lagging area has rejuvenated, with YTL Group being the biggest factor in its redevelopment. Just minutes from the city centre, a number of developers have joined the bandwagon in making this neighbourhood popular again.
In Selangor, the top 10 neighbourhoods include existing and new developments as these are seen as growth areas, fueled by the number of amenities and facilities that are within easy reach. The hotspots here include:
Bandar Utama and Mutiara Damansara - With the shopping havens of 1Utama Shopping Mall, Ikea, IPC and The Curve just within minutes of each other, the residents here can even walk to their favourite mall. Considered as matured areas, there is no shortage of amenities and facilities in these two neighbourhoods.
The SS areas of PJ - Perhaps the most popular area is SS2, where a variety of shops cater to mostly food and beverage options, which are popular to Malaysians and tourists. And many are willing to transverse the distance just to try out these delicacies. This area is also known as the wedding district as there are no fewer than 20 wedding planners within walking distance to each other.
Setia Alam – This popular self-sustain township is backed by two powerhouse developers, namely SP Setia Bhd and EcoWorld Development Group Bhd (EcoWorld). Other developers who have entered the fray include SunSuria Bhd and HCK Capital Group.
Kota Damansara - A relatively newer township, initiated by PKNS, but have drawn in big names like Sunway Property and Tropicana Corporation Bhd. Sunway Giza is highly popular while Tropicana Gardens Mall is easily the biggest shopping paradise in the area.
Elmina East - This considerable development is developed by Sime Darby Property Bhd. While there is still a long way for this development to reach maturity, the first residents can enjoy affordable landed properties within a green setting.
Bandar Puncak Alam - This area has drawn no fewer than 10 developers who are mostly offering affordable homes. The entry of EcoWorld marks the start of more upmarket properties as the developer prides itself on catering to the higher end market.
Cyberjaya - Once touted as the multimedia super corridor (MSC) township, it did not garner as much demand as planned. However, plans are in the making to rekindle the demand for this township as there is a renewed interest in this area.
Semenyih - Another area that is popularised by SP Setia and EcoWorld with developments like Setia Ecohill 1 and 2, Eco-Forest and Eco Majestic.
Why are these places considered hot? Khong said it all boiled down to strong property demand, branding and address, premium and pricing, location and accessibility, public transportation and road connectivity, amenity-rich locality, quality living environment, development concept, community and security.
"Location is always the main mantra for property and development. It basically determines product, demand and pricing. Other pertinent factors include continuous place-making by developers, better grade amenities and facilities, superior project concept and proximity to job and city centres, which all carries substantial weightage.
"It is usually a trade-off between location and travel distance from the city centre and the product type and pricing. Good security is now paramount anywhere and quality living environment, development type, branding and project concept all enhances value-creation," he said.
He said that property managers are tasked to continue to maintain and further enhance these buildings well and keep capital values high with good demand.
A change in the list
It is always possible that changes may occur to the hotspot list as urban developments are unstoppable, said Khong.
"Demand will be the key determining factor if any location stays on the top of the list. Buyers are always attracted to premium locations, freehold title as well as good and innovative projects with a theme concept," he said.