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HOW MUCH WOULD THESE STAR WARS PROPERTIES BE WORTH

Star wars

The planets and star systems in the fictitious Star Wars galaxy is home to the Jedi, Ewoks, Hutts and all the other intergalactic creatures. But what would happen if they suddenly had to sell their...

The planets and star systems in the fictitious Star Wars galaxy is home to the Jedi, Ewoks, Hutts and all the other intergalactic creatures. But what would happen if they suddenly had to sell their properties? In this article by Die Welt, Christoph Freiherr Schenck zu Schweinsberg, an expert on castles and palaces at global real estate agent Engel & Vlkers, gives his esteemed evaluation on these properties.Amidalas ApartmentSeller: Embassy of NabooAsking price: RM8.2 millionFloor Space: 3,444 sfAge: 500 yearsThis spacious penthouse on the top 2 floors of Republica 500 was home to Senator Padm Amidala. Its main draw is the extremely high security features, which include hidden doors, an energy shield and double-glassed bedroom windows. Yoda's Hut, DagobahSeller: New Order of the JediAsking Price: RM0Floor Space: 183 sfAge: 40 yearsThe ultimate nature retreat located on the green planet of Dagobah, this understated hut is all about uncompromising sustainability and the usage of natural materials. Set inside a giant gnarltree, the mud house is supported by metal beams salvaged from an escape pod. Comes with a fireplace and private swamp lake. The zero asking price may be attributed to the Order of the Jedi's culture of altruism ... and may also have taken into account the foul smell from the swamp.Ewok Tree House, EndorSeller: Shodu WarrickAsking Price: RM228,848Floor Space: 1,023 sfAge: 200 yearsAbout 50 meters above ground, attached to one of the oldest and strongest trees in the middle of the untamed nature of the forest moon Endor, hangs this family friendly residence. The thatched house has a spacious exterior platform, a high roof offering space with an annex located above the main building. A wooden bridge connects the house directly with the light tree and the village meeting place. Perfect for nature lovers and fans of ethnic festivals. Wampa Cave, HothSeller: Galactic Federation of Free AlliancesAsking Price: RM68,648Floor Space:700 sfAge: 120 yearsAn ideal base camp on the ice planet for adventure seekers, this cave was created by one of the planets aborigines, a wampa. High ceiling and thick ice walls. Comes bare, without windows and doors, so you have complete freedom in redesigning it. Residential Bubble, Otoh Villages, NabooSeller: Binks familiyAsking Price: RM2.75 millionFloor Space: 1,292 sfAge: 4000 yearsLocated on the outskirts of Otoh Gunga, this waterfront property represents the perfect mix of convenience and retreat. It is only a few swim minutes to the central main bubbles of Otoh Village with its many cantinas. The opaque bubble walls offer ample space and privacy, while the open hydrostatic construction allows from a flexible design for rooms and lighting.Villa Varykino, NabooSeller: Naberrie familiyAsking Price: RM73 millionFloor Space: 6,673.62 sf (280,000 sf including the grounds)Age: 650 yearsLocated in Naboos Lake Country, Villa Varykino is one of the most classy properties in the entire galaxy. Accessible only via air or boat, it offers the highest amount of security. Generous access balcony, a sprawling landscaped garden, lofty windows and high ceilings, it is reminiscent of Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como in Italy. Chalmuns Cantina, TatooineSeller: anonymousAsking Price:RM3.66 millionFloor Space: 6,458 sfAge: 280 yearsLocated in the center of Mos Eisley, this tavern boasts continuous live acts, an experimental cocktail menu and cozy private alcoves for business dealings. The large bar can accommodate 102 humanoides. Occasional military skirmishes may have taken place in here before, so beware of scums.Jabba's Palace, TatooineSeller: Bomarr OrderAsking Price: RM709,463Floor Space: 19,375 sfAge: 900 yearsThis former hideout for controversial small business owners is located on the western end of Tatooines Northern Dune Sea and is fortified by massive and multiple reinforced outer walls as well as gigantic underground vaults. The rotunda built of sandstone and durasteel has been reinforced over the centuries and extended through additions. The floor of the central chamber sports a trap door with a slide a great gimmick for whimsical party games! The stench emitting from a rather large animal carcass lying on the bottom floor of the basement may be a bit off-putting though.Lars moisture farm, TatooineSeller: Jula DarklighterAsking Price: RM137,316Floor Space: 1,722 sfAge: 180 yearsFar removed from the closest city, this farm has prime sun location and ideal for a mid-sized family. The entrance is hidden in a dome made from pourstone, typical for the region, and is secured with a keypad. The homesteads most prominent architectural feature is the main living pit with its ample courtyard offering access to the various rooms and areas of the homestead.Apartment in cell block AA-23, Death StarSeller: anonymousAsking Price: RM68,652Floor Space: 248sfAge: 15 yearsThis studio apartment is located in a well-guarded gated community, in the center of the Death Star. It has a minimalistic interior with a large metal platform and double bolted high-security hydraulic door. A state-of-the-art garbage and recycling system is located directly under the apartment block. For the full article, go here.Want to know how much YOUR home is worth?SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia. 

BRANDING CITIES

Brand kl

Branding is the buzz word today.And in todays globalised and competitive world, cities just like companies are getting in on the branding game to fight for their share of tourists and investors...

Branding is the buzz word today.And in todays globalised and competitive world, cities just like companies are getting in on the branding game to fight for their share of tourists and investors.Kuala Lumpur recently launched its brand and logo Kuala Lumpur: Exciting. surprising. enticing. A city of contrasts & diversity   which has not been very well received.A brand is supposed to evoke pride and create an identity unique to the city, which distinguishes it from its neighbours. And with recent events and international bad press, Malaysia (and Kuala Lumpur) is in dire need of an image polishing.But the general consensus is that the Kuala Lumpur branding, which is supposed to charge the way forward to the year 2020, is generic at best, and may even showcase the city as boring, outdated and unmemorable.The three incongruous fonts, old-fashioned drop shadow, no colour usage (KL is actually a very colourful city), and no memorable icon that could have become a shorthand for the brand, said Zayn Khan, Southeast Asia CEO of Dragon Rouge of the new logo.Of course, a logo and brand is not everything. As Graham Hitchmough, CEO of Brand Union South & Southeast Asia, puts it, it is also about how effectively a destination brand is activated and sustained over time. Hopefully we fare better on that front.PropertyPricetag.com takes a look at several cities in the region to see what they came up with in their branding exercises. SEOUL, KOREASeoul started branding itself back in 2002, with its friendly Hi Seoul brand. In 2015, it unveiled its new city slogan, I.Seoul.U, which was chosen by Seoul citizens and Korean PR experts.With a distinctively Korean-looking logo, the new tagline portrays the city as the connector between people and all its diversity co-existing in harmony.SINGAPORELaunched in March 2010, Your Singapore is an evolution of the Uniquely Singapore brand, which existed since 2004.The destination logo of YourSingapore is made of cubes that represent the shape of the Singapore island, signifying various facets and constant flux of the city. The logo is meant to be used dynamically, by moulding it into various themes and experiences, such as art, nature, food, culture, and fun.INDONESIABeing such a huge country with many diverse cities, there has been a push for each Indonesian city to brand itself in an effort to attain Vision 2020 20 million international tourists to Indonesia by 2019. Each citys brand would have an identity, symbol, logo or trademark thats closely attached to a certain region.The Enjoy Jakarta campaign was launched in 2002, positioning the Indonesian city as one with something for everyone.HONG KONGWith its strategic location and cosmopolitan buzz, Hong Kong has been marketed as Asias World City since 2001. Its colourful flying dragon logo highlights the bustling energy and the coexistence of East and West, ancient and modern worlds.In 2015, a new campaign Our Hong Kong was launched to promote Hong Kongs soft strengths, achievements and aspirations.TOKYO, JAPANAt a glance, the ampersand, &, doesnt say much. But Tokyo has used it to depict its many ways of making connections, such as the coming together of tradition and innovation.The brand is used in all forms of marketing campaigns, by attaching & Tokyo to various experiences and attractions.SHANGHAI, CHINALaunched in 2010, Shanghas brand, More Discovery, More Experience, aims to inject a fresh look and feel into the citys identity and to encourage tourists to experience the citys all-inclusive culture.The logo mixes both traditional and modern Chinese elements: a traditional Chinese sea wave pattern designed in blue, superimposed with the Chinese calligraphy characters of Shang and Hai.However, the brand doesn't seem to be too widespread now, with its use primarily by the Shanghai Tourism Administrative Commission.MUMBAI, INDIAInspired by cities such as New York and Melbourne, Mumbai had branded itself with the official theme, Majhi Mumbai (My Mumbai).Its official logo, unveiled in 2013, portrays a round figure gently holding a three-petaled flower in its embrace signifying how the city nurtures its citizens just as a mother takes care of her baby. The colour blue is used to signify one of the key characteristics of the city, its vast blue sea, while orange stands for friendship, progress and beauty.The simplicity of the logo has drawn its share of detractors, and was dropped two years later due to irregularities in commissioning and procurement of the logo basically, nobody wanted to take responsibility and pay the designers for it.SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia. 

5 WAYS TO GET $$$ FOR YOUR NEW HOME

Panda food

Want to buy a house, but no company bonus this year ... how to scrape together enough for that downpayment? Well, if you are a young, middle-income, first-time home buyer, you're in luck.With a bit...

Want to buy a house, but no company bonus this year ... how to scrape together enough for that downpayment? Well, if you are a young, middle-income, first-time home buyer, you're in luck.With a bit of help from our panda pals (just to pander to our editor's whims), PropertyPricetag.com lets you in on several schemes by the government, banks and developers that can help give you the little boost you need.1. MyDepositFor who? First-time Malaysian house buyers with household incomes between RM3,000 and RM10,000 What do you get? Government contributes 10% of the sale price (up to a maximum of RM30,000) for homes priced up to RM500,000The government has allocated RM200 million to help 7,000 first-home buyers with their deposits. That's like FREE money! But it goes directly to the developers (for new projects) or lawyers (for secondary market homes).Houses can be purchased from the secondary market or all registered developers, except Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia. Since the scheme was launched on April 6, 2016, some 1,046 completed applications have been received.You can apply online at the Urban Well Being, Housing and Local Government Ministry website before June 30, 2016.  The but: This would definitely be welcomed by home buyers and developers, but buyers should ensure they can get a loan for the balance 90% and service their loans thereafter. Also note: Houses bought under this scheme cannot be sold or rented out for 10 years. So no flipping for a quick buck.2. My First Home SchemeFor who? First-time Malaysian house buyers, aged 35 years or less, who are working in the private sector, and earning less than RM5,000 a month (RM10,000 per month for joint borrowers).What do you get? 100% financing from participating banks for homes between RM100,000 and RM500,000 First announced in the 2011 Budget, the My First Home scheme aims to help young adults own a home (whether completed or under construction) without the 10% down payment. How much can you borrow? Basically, all your monthly loan installments should not exceed 60% of your net monthly income. Tenure is up to 35 years, or until you celebrate your 65th birthday.Since 2013 to January 2016, there has been 2,114 successful applications with total loan value of RM431 million (that's an average of RM200k per applicant).The but: Banks will still look at your credit rating before approving your loan application, so do make sure your books are in order. Want to increase your chances? Read 5 Tips to get that Housing Loan.3. Youth Housing Scheme For who? Married first-time Malaysian house buyers, aged 25 to 40 years old, with household income below RM10,000 a month What do you get? 100% financing from Bank Simpanan Nasional + 5% for takaful / insurance for homes between RM100,000 and RM500,000As announced under Budget 2015, Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), in partnership with the Government, Cagamas and EPF, will provide financing of up to 100% (or maximum RM500,000) for first-time house buyers, with a tenure of up to 36 years or age 65.The Government will also give 50% stamp duty exemption on the transfer and loan agreements, as well as monthly instalment aid of RM200 for two years. The scheme is limited to 20,000 applicants or until 2017.The but: Since its soft launch in July 2015, the scheme has been off to a slow start, with less than half of its 500 applications approved, as of Sept 30, 2015. Reasons include inability to repay loans and incomplete documents. So again, get your books and documents in order. If you havent already, read 5 Tips to get that Housing Loan.4. Bank Rakyat 100% financing schemeFor who? First-time house buyers in Johor for homes below RM100,000What do you get? Buy a house with only RM1 downBank Rakyat, under the patronage of the Sultan Ibrahim Foundation, allocated RM500 million to finance 6,000 units of affordable and low-cost houses under this scheme, which is expected to start later this year. Eligible civil servants and private sector employees in Johor only have to pay RM1 as a deposit of their home purchase. They will receive 100% financing, with a maximum repayment period of 35 years. Buyers should register with the housing unit of the Johor State Secretarys office to be screened for eligibility. Bank Rakyat said it plans to extend this scheme to other states. The Sultan of Johor has also mooted the idea of the state government setting up its own bank to provide housing loans and other banking facilities to Johorians.The but: Good news for low-income earners, but once again, make sure you can afford to pay your loan installments ... else it may be easier just to rent.5. Developer FinancingThe Developer Interest Bearing Schemes (DIBS) may have been abolished, but some developers have come up with other ways to help you own property. IJM Land Bhd recently launched a campaign, which allows buyers of homes in selected schemes to pay nothing for up to 12 months upon vacant possession, as well as a zero-interest instalment scheme for up to 36 months. Cash-rich developers are starting to wear the financing hat, too, especially for those who are unable to get financing from commercial banks. Sunway Bhd, for one, is offering up to 88% in guaranteed financing upon completion of its new residential launches. Loans will be for a fixed tenure of 15 years, with a fixed interest rate. A little off-topic, but it's interesting to note that Eco World Development Group Bhd is also offering business grants to buyers of its new commercial properties of up to 3.5% of their property value, as well as rental subsidy for investors' tenants.The but: These may be beneficial for buyers who may not be first-time home owners, but would like to invest more into property. Do note that developer loans are usually at higher rates and shorter tenure compared to commercial loans, while a no pay scheme may encourage the same type of DIBS speculation if not managed properly. Remember, these schemes are meant as a leg-up, not a hand-out. So don't jump in to try to make a quick buck or take on more than you can bite ... or you may end up stuck out on the limb!SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia. 

WHERE CAN OUR MPs GO HOUSE SHOPPING?

01

Recently, there have been a lot of hoo-ha about ministers and how much they paid for their houses. Apparently paying too low for a property is just as open for public scrutiny as paying too high.(I...

Recently, there have been a lot of hoo-ha about ministers and how much they paid for their houses. Apparently paying too low for a property is just as open for public scrutiny as paying too high.(In case anyone, minister or otherwise, is wondering what the market value is for a home you are planning to buy, PropertyPricetag.com has the latest transacted facts and figures for you at our website.)Anyhow, PropertyPricetag.com decided to do a just-for-fun study to see what sort of Klang Valley properties our elected Parliamentarians would be able to afford.First, crunch the numbers Of course, we would assume that elected representatives, like the rest of us mere mortals, have to pay mortgages. Here, we use only their MP salary as their sole income source without taking into account spouse, co-borrowers or other earnings.The year 2015 was a year for salary increases for our politicians. In April, our 222 Members of Parliament (MPs) got a 39% raise from RM11,500 to RM16,000. (Our elected representatives in 7 out of 13 state assemblies also received pay hikes in 2015.)Since we do not have access to any of their other financial information, such as loan commitments, we cant use the debt-service ratio method.Hence, we use a general 30% benchmark of their gross income to calculate the maximum loan instalment they are eligible for.So for an MP, 30% of RM16,000 is RM4,800.and work out the budget Most banks have a maximum loan tenure of 35 years or up to 70 years of age.Based on our calculations, the average age of our KL and Selangor MPs is slightly more than 50 years old. So we suppose they would only be able to get a 20-year loan.And at age 50, we can assume that they would have other properties, so they would probably only be eligible for a 70% loan margin, which means they have to put a 30% down payment.So with a 30% down payment, 20-year tenure and, say, a 4.25% interest rate a monthly instalment of less than RM4,800 would mean our MPs can afford to buy a RM1.1 million property!But if our MP did qualify for a 90% loan and only put 10% down, then for the same monthly instalment, he or she would only be able to get an RM800,000 home.And the options are PropertyPricetag.com takes a look at the average prices of Klang Valley properties transacted in 2015 and gives some recommendations of neighbourhoods that would fit in that budget.In the sub-RM1 million price range, there is:For those with an RM800,000 budget, they can start looking in:What is out of their reach?These neighbourhoods have an average home price of RM1.4 million to RM3.6 million:PropertyPricetag.coms InsightsBy any counts, a RM800,000 to RM1 million house budget is not too shabby. You can still get a home in a centrally located and established Klang Valley neighbourhood. But even with their 5-figure salary, some of the more prime neighbourhoods in KL and PJ may still be out of reach no condo flipping in KLCC. So like the rest of us, our MPs have to do their budgeting and spend within their means. Hopefully they will be more motivated to work towards creating a sustainable affordable housing industry for all Malaysians.SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia. 

5 TIPS TO GET THAT HOUSING LOAN

Loan approval 2015

It has been quite tough getting a housing loan last year. According to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), housing loan applications dropped by 8% in 2015 from 2014, and housing loan approval rate dropped ...

It has been quite tough getting a housing loan last year. According to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), housing loan applications dropped by 8% in 2015 from 2014, and housing loan approval rate dropped by 3.9% in the same period to 50.19%. Basically, almost half of all housing loan appications were rejected. Developers and buyers have been lamenting the slowdown in property transactions due to difficulty in obtaining financing and the drying up of housing loans funds. Various quarters have also asked Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to ease the lending rules to help first-time home buyers.BNM had introduced a series of responsible lending measures since 2012 to curb escalating household debt  which has further increased to 88.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) by August 2015.Some of these measures include:Calculating eligibility using net income (instead of gross)Limiting housing loan tenures to a maximum of 35 years (from 45 years)Reducing loan-to-value ratio to 70% (from 90%) for purchasers of third and subsequent propertiesRemoval of the developer interest-bearing scheme (DIBS)When banks want to know more about you than your own mother before they decide to lend you money, it doesnt hurt to take a strategic steps to make sure you make the right first impressionPropertyPricetag.com caught up with some financier friends Uncle Ho, who works in a local commercial bank, and Sam, whos with an insurance company and learnt what they looked for when evaluating home loan applications and a couple of tips on increasing your chances of getting a home loan.Tip #1: Work towards straight-zeroes in your credit report cardYou may be out of school, but you still have some grades to keep up in your credit report card. Bank Negaras CCRIS (Central Credit Reference Information System) is the all-seeing eye. It lists out all the debts you have in your name car loan, credit card, house instalment etc, whether personal or joint and your payment track record for the past 12 months. Youd want to ensure you score zeroes in the repayment behaviour section which means you have not missed a payment in the past one year or more. Every time you are overdue, you get a number 1 for one months arrears, 2 for two months, 3 for three months etc. Everybody likes prompt payers. The first thing we check is your CCRIS statement, whether its all zeroes or not, says Sam. If you have 2s or 3s, its usually a no-go.If youre unsure what your credit report looks like, walk into any BNM office) and insert your MyKad into the credit kiosk to get a printout. Or fill in an application form and submit it via fax or email with the necessary supporting documents.If your record is less than perfect, do yourself a favour and clean it up first. Start paying your instalments on time. Then wait a few months until the last missed payments (especially the 2s and 3s etc) are cleared from your record before you make a loan application. And if your credit utilisation is high, try to clear off as much of your smaller loans as possible. Of course you shouldnt be a bankrupt or have non-performing loans or financial legal suits or any other red flags that would get your application thrown out the window.[update] Soon you will have another score card to manage. Private credit reporting agency CTOS Data Systems Sdn Bhd has introduced the CTOS Score, a credit score to enable a robust evaluations of consumers credit risks, which may be used by banks to better assess loan applications. The CTOS Score grades you based on your payment history, amount owed, length of credit history, credit mix and new credit. It usually gets its information from publicly available sources, such as legal notices, and information provided by you or your creditors. So if you are going to borrow money for anything, make sure you are a good paymaster.Tip #2: Show them the moneyBanks look at two main sets of numbers your debt and your income to see whether youd be able to meet your monthly financial commitments.Your debt is whats listed in your CCRIS report. So what you need to show the bank is your income. In most cases, this would be your salary nett which means after deducting tax, EPF, SOCSO etc.Then comes this fancy-sounding term, Debt-Service Ratio (DSR). This basically shows how much of your income is used to service all your debts by dividing your monthly loan commitments against your income. ie. DSR (%) = Total loan commitments / Income  Your total commitments, including the instalments of the new loan you are applying for, cannot exceed a certain percentage of DSR. This percentage is usually 70%. For example, if you have a net monthly income of RM4,000, your monthly loan commitments limit is RM2,800 (or RM4,000 x 70%).Read more about how DSR is calculated here. Some financial institutions have a tiered structure for DSR if you earn below a certain level, you can borrow only 50% of your DSR, while if you earn more, you can borrow up to 80%. Foreign banks may give better margins, but their interest rates may also be higher.It depends on the case, explains Uncle Ho. Because if you are earning RM20,000 a month, even if 80% of your income is used to pay for loans, you still have enough to eat and survive. If your income is only RM5,000, and 80% is used to pay loans, were afraid you cannot eat nasi lemak.Tip #3: Show them more moneyIf your salary is not high enough, you need to show any supplementary income streams you may have sales commissions, rental, annuity plans, dividends, interest incomes, foreign-derived income etc to boost your DSR.This needs to be as documented as possible, so start signing and stamping those tenancy agreements and ensuring the figures show up consistently in your bank account.Different financial institutions will have slight differences in how they account for your unscheduled income for example, some only recognise 50% of rental collected as income because there may be months when the property is vacant. But Uncle Ho shares that banks may actually be a bit more generous these days. Our bank takes 80% (of unscheduled income). I think some other banks take 100% such as Bank XXX. Right now Bank XXX is desperate. For borderline cases (where your loan commitments exceed your DSR slightly), there may be other assets or factors that can be taken into consideration. For example, your fixed deposits. The principal can be taken as a buffer, says Uncle Ho. In the event of job loss etc, we know you have the money to cover the loan. Of course, banks prefer and may be more willing to lend if you keep your FDs with them. Tip #4: Show them other peoples moneyEven so, with property prices appreciating faster than salaries, it may be difficult to get the loan amount you need.Thats when you may need some reinforcements a co-borrower or a guarantor to boost your borrowing eligibility.Your co-borrower or guarantor should ideally be someone with higher income, less debts, and not too old because there will be trade-offs between higher margins and shorter loan tenures. For example, if this is your first property and your co-borrowers third property, you might be limited to only 70% margin, even if your combined DSR is higher. Or if you are 30 years old and your guarantor is 60, your maximum loan tenure would be limited to only 10 years, instead of 35. Another option is to borrow money from a close party as extra down-payment to reduce your loan amount.Of course this may be easier said than done as there have been cases of purchasers who default on the loan and leave their co-borrowers and guarantors high and dry. If you are financially disciplined, pay your loans on time, and just need a little extra to qualify for a property loan, its easy to find a friendly partner to help you out with an advancement or loan, says Samuel.What we dont recommend:Faking it: Some people sign fake tenancy agreements and other stuff to boost their income amounts. You could end up in a lot of trouble, like this guy who was caught for using forged documents for a property purchase. Using bad credit: Credit cards, personal loans and Ah Longs should not be used to finance a property purchase. Simple reason the interest rates are more than 4 times what you pay on a housing loan. Also the huge amount on your credit cards will affect your CCRIS report. Tip #5: Dont try your luck with every bank in townWhen you apply for a loan, submit to three banks at a time so you can compare offers, says Uncle Ho. But dont give to 16 banks. If all of them key in your application, kena semua reject. Just three banks!While its natural to want to hedge your bets by knocking on every door in town and see which opens, this could actually lead to outright rejections of your loan application.Don't forget ... every loan application (and rejection) within the past 12 months is recorded and reported in Bank Negara's CCRIS.All the banks can see how many banks youve submitted your application to, says Uncle Ho. The more applications on CCRIS, the more desperate you are. Our bank is not keen to approve a loan when they see an applicant has applied to so many banks in one shot, he adds. To the bank, this person siao liao ah, go apply to every bank in Malaysia for a single loan. Sure is fail punya case. You want to do meh?While theres no overnight solution, with these tips by our financier friends, you can do what you can to clean up your books and greatly improve not just your chances of getting that home loan, but also your general financial health and personal well-being.SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia. 

5 CHANGES TO THE STRATA LAWS YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF

Strata

If you live in a condominium or apartment, you and your neighbours each own a piece, or parcel, in the building.Hence, the building would have to be subdivided, and you each get a separate title...

If you live in a condominium or apartment, you and your neighbours each own a piece, or parcel, in the building.Hence, the building would have to be subdivided, and you each get a separate title, called a strata title, to prove your ownership of your part of the building.When lots of people live together, share and manage a property together, there can be lots of legal, financial and social issues that need to be handled according to certain policies and rules.For a long time, Malaysia did not have a single comprehensive law covering strata titles until the Strata Titles Act 1985 was introduced. This governed the subdivision of buildings and the issuance of strata titles, but not the management of that subdivided building. So there was another Act the Building & Common Property (Maintenance & Management) Act 2007 (BCPA 2007) introduced to address the maintenance and management of high-rise buildings and their common property, whether by developers, joint management bodies or management corporations.With overlaps and even contradictions in these laws and policies (parts of which were under different ministries), and changes in the property landscape, the Acts became inadequate and in need of an overhaul.The New Strata RegimeSignificant changes were made with the Strata Titles (Amendment Act) 2013 (STA 2013) and the new Strata Management Act 2013 (SMA 2013), which have been in force since June 2015. It has been seen as a big step forward to increase efficiency and give buyers better protection.Our lawyer friend Geraldine, from Teoh Pek Wei Advocates & Solicitors, helps us explain 5 main legal changes to Strata Laws that you need to know:1. The Proprietor (registered land owner, not necessarily developer) must apply to sub-divide the parcels in the building at super structure stagePreviously, the Proprietor would apply for separate strata titles after the building is completed, that is:within 6 months from the issuance of the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) if the property was sold before it was completed; ORwithin 6 months from the date of the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA), if it was sold after it was completed. Under the new changes, the Proprietor has to apply for a Certificate of Proposed Strata Plan (CPSP) within 3 months from the super structure stage. What is super structure stage? Generally, thats the point where the walls dividing the different parts of the buildings are completed to such a stage that is necessary for measurements of your unit, your neighbours unit, the common property, etc.Once the Proprietor gets the CPSP, then it has to apply for sub-division of the individual parcels and common property within a month. A Certified Strata Plan will be issued, followed by the opening of the book of strata register. How does it affect you? With the head start, hopefully, your strata titles will be ready by the time you get your keys; unlike before, when it could take up to several years after the building is completed.2. Time Periods for Perfection of Strata Title Has Been Reduced      Once the strata titles have been issued, buyers will now have to transfer the strata titles to their names within 30 days, instead of 12 months previously.This is so buyers dont take their own sweet time to do the transfer. This move is also expected to curb speculative activity for investors who buy properties under construction, with the intention to flip once its completed.How does it affect you? You would need to have enough money to pay the stamp duty for the transfer sooner than before. So start saving up!(Stamp duty calculations can be found on the Governments Valuation and Property Services Department website.)3. Limited Common Property & Subsidiary Management CorporationWith the many upcoming mixed-development projects in Malaysia combining residential units with offices and retail shops its now possible to manage the various components separately.The concept of Limited Common Property means certain common areas can be designated for the exclusive use of a certain group of owners, such as a resident-only swimming pool or an office-only lift.The Management Corporation (MC) can also create subsidiary management corporations (SMC) to better manage different types of Limited Common Property. For example, a residential SMC would manage the resident-only facilities, the office SMC would be manage the office block amenities, while the shop lot SMC would manage the shop lot facilities for owners, such as the central air-conditioning.How does it affect you? This system is meant to better serve owners interests by improving management efficiency and use of resources, such as the maintenance fees you pay. However, it is still a relatively new concept, and owners need to be educated on their rights and responsibilities.4. Presumption of DefectYou know the situation where the bathroom in the unit upstairs is leaking into your ceiling and nobody wants to be responsible for it? This common problem is known as an inter-floor leakage.The supplementing regulations to the new Strata Laws the Strata Management (Maintenance and Management) Regulations 2015 make it easier to determine who is responsible to fix the problem and how long they have to do it. Firstly, you must give a notice to whoever is in charge of managing your property the Joint Management Body (JMB), MC or SMC of the inter-floor leakage. The management would have seven days to carry out an inspection to determine the cause of the leakage and the party responsible for rectifying it. (Under the new Strata laws, it is presumed that there is a defect in the unit or common area above, unless proven otherwise, and this has to be taken into account by the management bodies) If the property is still within the defect liability period, the developer may be responsible. If it is due to a common area, the owner may claim from the Common Property Defects Account.After the defect liability period, if the leakage is found to be from the unit above, the owner of that unit is responsible to make the repairs. If he or she refuses to do so, the management body may fix it and have a right to recover all cost and expenses from the party responsible for the inter-floor leakage.How does it affect you? Hopefully you wont have to live with the drip, drip, drip longer than necessary anymore.5. Increased sanctions on owners who fail to pay Maintenance ChargesPreviously, the Joint Management Body (JMB) or MC could only file a civil suit against owners who fail to pay maintenance and service charges. Now, free-loading owners may have to face criminal charges and fines.The JMB or MC would first issue a notice for payment, with at least a 2-week window for the errant owner to pay up. If the owner fails to do so and is convicted, he or she will be liable to a fine of up to RM5,000, or imprisoned for up to three years, or to both. And the fine meter continues running at up to RM50 per day after conviction, until payment is made. How does it affect you? Dont play play. Quickly pay!In conclusion, the new amendments to the Strata Act are good and much needed to protect buyers and to keep up with changes in the property construction and development industry. However, implementation and enforcement are key for the success of any law and to ensure we do not end up with lots of run-down and badly managed high-rise properties.* The information in this article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. Propertypricetag.com and/or our solicitors accept no liability for any loss whatsoever arising from your reliance of the information in this article. If you have any questions regarding legal matters or legal issues, you are advised to obtain consultation and professional legal advice from a lawyer.SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE BUYING A PROPERTY IN CASH

House trap

The National House Buyers Association (HBA)  recently published an article titled, “House buyers’ trap” — how some house buyers were losing their homes because of unscrupulous developers. While man...

The National House Buyers Association (HBA)  recently published an article titled, “House buyers’ trap” — how some house buyers were losing their homes because of unscrupulous developers. While many were interested to know what the article covered, they found it a bit tough wading through the entire piece (how to vet through Sales & Purchase Agreements (SPA), like that?!)Anyway, PropertyPricetag.com pulled out the key facts from the HBA article ... so you know how to avoid losing your home.Who actually (almost) lost their home?HBA highlighted a case in Taiping, which made the news a few years ago.In 2002, six buyers paid cash for their houses in Taman Suria Permai to the developer, KS Properties Sdn Bhd.However, the developer didn't pay their own loan to their bank, which held the house titles.Oblivious, the buyers moved into the houses and lived there for 10 years.Then in 2008, the owner of KS Properties passed away, and the debt collection agency (which had taken over the bad debt) began to foreclose on the properties and evict the owners. After some legal tussles and sleepless nights, some of the owners ended up at the auction house to bid for their own house and pay off the developer’s debt.The only bright part of the story was the touching moment when other bidders refused to bid so that the owners could buy back their homes. How did that happen?Under the Housing Ministry’s prescribed SPA (what many buyers never read through):Buyers pay for the building of the house from day one.Developers can borrow from their banks using the buyer’s property as security.Essentially, there is no risk for the developer. And if it defaults, as in the Taiping case, the banks can go after the buyers’ properties. Legally.Who was to blame in the Taiping (and other similar) case?Apart from the obvious (ie the Developer), the HBA cites:a. The Housing MinistryThe standard SPA then had no control over how much the developer should be allowed to borrow, for what purpose and by when it should be settled.The developer takes a bridging loan on the property before it's sold to you. And after it's sold, the developer can keep borrowing … on the property that you are paying for. Needless to say, each developer loan increases your risks, as a buyer.Developers should be liable for their own bridging loans, not the purchasers. The Housing Ministry should ensure that buyers are given an absolute undertaking — by the developer and their bank — that they will not face foreclosure if they have paid for their purchase.b. The BankThe bank did not insist on prompt repayments by the developer. Interest on the loan ballooned, and when it became clear that the developer was unable to pay, then only did the creditors sprang into action to get back its money … from the home buyers.What has been done about it?In 2015, amendments to the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966 (HDA) give some added protection to house buyers, especially cash purchasers.a. Cash Buyers to pay straight to BankA new rule requires cash buyers to pay directly to the bridging financier the instalments for the redemption sum — to redeem the unit from being charged to the bank.b. Developers to pay off their loans earlierAmendments to the SPA also now require developers to settle the redemption sum within the earlier stages of development. That way, when the property is handed over, it is free from the developer’s encumbrances and safe from foreclosure (by the developer’s bank).        Whether or not these amendments are adequate enough to prevent the Taiping case from happening again, it is good for house buyers to be aware of the possible pitfalls and put in your own legal safeguards in your SPAs, especially if you are paying with cash. (So yes, do read through your SPAs!)SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia. 

5 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT BANGSAR SOUTH

Bangsar south

It’s a Cinderella story of how the backwaters of Kerinchi was transformed into one of the hottest new addresses in town.Back in 2005, the UOA Group acquired 60 acres of land in a sleepy hollow b...

It’s a Cinderella story of how the backwaters of Kerinchi was transformed into one of the hottest new addresses in town.Back in 2005, the UOA Group acquired 60 acres of land in a sleepy hollow better known for its squatters, illegal hawker stalls and low-cost housing. It cleaned off the dust and cinders and gave it a magical make-over — complete with a grand water feature entrance, wide roads and walkways, upgraded bus stops and LRT stations, a new food court … and a massive integrated commercial and residential development.This new “city” was called “Bangsar South” — a name chosen due to its proximity and shared postcode with its popular and famous namesake. But its success is not just due to a clever rebranding exercise. Rather, it’s the unlocking of prime land strategically located at the edge of KL city.Today, it is also home to many new developments. Among them are Suez Domain Sdn Bhd’s KL Gateway, with its premium commercial, residential and corporate suites, as well as Bon Estates’ upcoming luxury condominiums, The Estate.PropertyPricetag.com took a closer look at Bangsar South and discovered 5 facts about Bangsar South that you may not know.1. You can still buy property in a central locationEveryone would like a home in the prime Bangsar suburb — it’s fancy and happening and close to everything — but prices are increasingly out of reach.But just cross a bridge and you get several viable and compelling alternatives that are close enough and familiar, yet easier on the pocket (although prices are on the way up as demand increases).Just for comparison’s sake: In Bangsar, a 2,809 sf Araville Condo was sold for RM2.6 million, or RM925 psf, while a 2,982 sf Bangsar Peak condo transacted at RM3.69 million, or RM1,236 psf.Over in Bangsar South, a 1,911 sf unit at the leasehold Park Residence was sold for about RM1.5 million in 2014, or RM803 psf. New entrant The Estate is said to be pricing its spacious freehold 2,500sf condos at RM1.7 million, or RM750 psf.2. Everything’s a walk awayThe walkability factor in Bangsar South is very high, so you can consider throwing away those car keys.It’s accessible by not one but TWO LRT stations — which link up to KL Sentral, which is basically the gateway to the rest of Klang Valley. The Kerinchi station is just an overhead bridge away, while the Universiti station is a 12-minute walk. (The latter has recently been renamed KL Gateway-Universiti, after Suez Capital’s new development, under the pilot “Station Naming Rights” programme.)There are two neighborhood shopping centers in the area, too — the five-storey Nexus and the three-storey Sphere — and an upcoming 500,000 sf mall at KL Gateway. That’s a whole lot of options with numerous restaurants and cafes, specialty retail and services stores, banqueting facilities, and an Aeon Big, to spare you that grocery run to Midvalley Megamall.3. There’s a secret direct link to the SPRINT HighwayBangsar South is right next to three major highways — Federal Highway, SPRINT Highway and the New Pantai Expressway. And now there’s an even more convenient direct access to the SPRINT via a super-secret route.Okay, maybe it’s not a secret, but it’s relatively new, and we were pleasantly surprised when we stumbled upon it, thanks to Waze. Funded by DBKL and several developers in the area, this new 800m road connects the expanded Jalan Kerinchi Kiri to the Kerinchi Link on the SPRINT Highway and to the Federal Highway — so you can choose to bypass the Jalan Kerinchi and Jalan Pantai Baru intersection.4. There are a LOT of office towers — 24 and counting …Half of UOA’s development is its commercial precinct, and its MSC-status Bangsar South City is home to 22 Horizon boutique office towers and 2 Vertical office towers (two more are under construction, and another two on the way). There are also two other Grade-A corporate towers coming up in KL Gateway.If that sounds a lot … it actually would have been a lot more. There were supposed to be 39 office towers in Horizon, but the developer decided to have fewer but bigger buildings to incorporate more green space and attract larger companies and multi-nationals. Dagang Net, F-Secure, Takaful Ikhlas Berhad, MEPS, Melilea International, British Telecoms, SWIFT and UAE-based Al Bath Group are some of the big names who have set up shop there. You are looking at a growing population of 20,000 to 30,000 workers, with a sizeable expatriate community.5. A Forest in the BackyardBangsar South is next to a massive green lung — the 200-acre Bukit Gasing Forest Reserve. It's really a sight for sore eyes. So if you’re tired of the city view, look the other direction and feast on the natural beauty of the land. There are trails that allow you to hike into the jungle too for an early morning walk.Of course, with the growing popularity of Bangsar South and its surroundings, there are always concerns that it may cause more environmental damage or encroach farther into the forest reserves. Change and redevelopment can be good, but let’s cross our fingers and hope that future projects will be carried out sustainably in this area. SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia. 

5 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT THE REALLY, REALLY RICH

Richie rich

Independent global property consultancy Knight Frank's The Wealth Report 2016 tracks the super-rich population in 98 cities across 91 countries.What does it take to be part of the elite Ultra-High-...

Independent global property consultancy Knight Frank's The Wealth Report 2016 tracks the super-rich population in 98 cities across 91 countries.What does it take to be part of the elite Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) club?According to this report ... those with US$30+ million (about RM122 million) or more in investable net assets, not including the home they live in. (These UHNWIs are richer than the millionaires and multi-millionaires, but not as rich as the centa-millionaires and billionaires).Phew ... Even though many of us may never fit into that category, it doesn't hurt to KPC a bit, especially since the flow of wealth would have some overflow effect on the rest of us common folks. PropertyPricetag.com presents 5 facts you may not know about the rich and richer (from The Wealth Report 2016). 1. There are fewer UHNWIs in 2015 than the year before In 2015, almost 6,000 people dropped out of the ultra-rich wealth bracket. This is the first time the number of UHNWIs has dropped since the global financial crisis in 2008, mainly due to current global economic events — China's slowdown, oil price decline, equity markets volatility and the strengthened US dollar.But there are still quite a lot of them around ... There are about 187,468 ultra-rich across the globe. And the number will continue to increase, albeit by a slower rate than the past decade. By 2025, an estimated 76,000 more will join the club.2. Most of the new faces will be AsianOver the past decade, Asian multi-multi-millionaires grew the most in terms of absolute number, and will continue to do so in the decade ahead, thanks mainly to China and India.The richest Asians are in Hong Kong and Singapore — Hong Kong has 3,854 UHNWIs, while Singapore emerged as the second top Asian city with 2,360 UHNWIs. By 2025, the number is expected to increase by another 1,619 and 1,133 Really Richie Richs, respectively.3. The super rich like to hang out in ...London and New York continue to be the favourite cities by far for the ultra-rich to live, work and play in. Singapore and Hong Kong take third and fourth spots, respectively, followed by Dubai, Shanghai, Paris, Sydney, Beijing and Geneva.4. Where are Malaysians in the picture?Kuala Lumpur currently has 993 UHNWIs, down from 1,168 in 2014. But the number is expected to grow to 1,629 by 2025.However, Malaysia's potential emigration rate (26%) is also the second highest, after China (30%), with more than a quarter of the ultra rich planning to move, with their bags of money, to greener pastures, over the next 10 years. 5. We love property. Like really love it ...The ultra-rich Malaysians like to put their $$$ into brick and mortar. They own more properties on average than the rest of the world. Malaysia's uber-rich own an average of 4.7 properties ... compared with the 3.92 Asian average and 3.7 global average.According to The Wealth Report Attitudes Survey, 39% of UHNWIs in Malaysia are considering a residential purchase in 2016 — also the highest in the world. (Which probably explains who's buying up those ultra-high-end new properties in town.) For those looking overseas, Melbourne, London and Singapore are also favoured property investment choices. Whether you are an ultra high net worth individual or just an everyday Joe looking for a property to put your life savings in, do check out the many options available on PropertyPricetag.com. SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia. 

NO-NO to SOHOs and SOVOs ... FOR NOW

24e3ad5

The Selangor government has pulled the brakes on the approval of new serviced apartments, small office home offices (SOHOs) and small office versatile offices (SOVOs) for six months ... until new p...

The Selangor government has pulled the brakes on the approval of new serviced apartments, small office home offices (SOHOs) and small office versatile offices (SOVOs) for six months ... until new planning guidelines are drawn up.These types of properties have been popular in recent years because their commercial title allows them to be built in smaller bite sizes so more people can afford a shoebox home. For example, serviced apartments in Selangor used to be as small as 400 sf, although the latest guidelines since have set the minimum size at 550sf. In comparison, the minimum size of a condominium in Selangor is 700sf.Developers can also get higher plot ratios if they are building a commercial development, compared to a residential one. And mixed developments where young working adults can live, shop and work in the same building seem to be the trend of the day.The problem is there are just too many of them now. According to the National Property Information Centre, Selangor had 25,811 units of serviced apartments yet to be sold in the third quarter of 2015, with an incoming supply of 32,866 units. (Figures for SOHOs and SOVOs were not immediately available.)"All those units will come into the market about the same time and it is going to create a glut, especially during a market downturn, the glut will be a double whammy," said Siva Shanker, Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents immediate past president, as quoted in a local daily.Freezing of property development projects is not new in Malaysia. Earlier this year, DBKL froze applications for new hotels, while the Johor government rejected applications for serviced apartments in December 2014 due to oversupply. The whole hybrid nature of serviced apartments homes sitting on commercial titles have also caused local councils to scratch their heads to figure out where they belong, so there have been a lot of catching up in terms of guidelines and minimum sizes. It seems to be a good idea to take a step back, take a deep breath, and allow the market to correct itself, while the planning authorities get their act together.So How? Will the 6-month freeze be enough? Will there be more stringent rulings for these types of units? How will this affect property prices of condominiums and service apartments moving forward? Do share your thoughts![UPDATE Apr 14, 2016]During the six-month freeze on new service apartments, the state's Housing and Property Board (LPHS) is studying new guidelines for such projects.Developers may be required to set aside a certain portion of their units as affordable homes as has been done with Rumah Selangorku schemes and to construct some amenities, such as playgrounds and kindergartens for these housing.The new guidelines are expected to be released by June 2016.SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia. 

5 WACKIEST CONDO FACILITIES IN MALAYSIA

Propertyrpicetag arte 00

Once upon a time, having a pool in your apartment building was a big draw.Today, its a bare essential. Infinity pool? Pass (except if its 200-meters off the ground, like Marina Bay Sands).Developer...

Once upon a time, having a pool in your apartment building was a big draw.Today, its a bare essential. Infinity pool? Pass (except if its 200-meters off the ground, like Marina Bay Sands).Developers are going all out to try to outdo each other and differentiate themselves with bigger, higher and more unusual facilities.The Sky Habitat in Singapore has a pool suspended between two apartment towers 38 storeys high! Imagine swimming at the sky bridge between the Petronas Twin Towers with nothing below you!Not thrilling enough? Check out the upcoming Embassy Gardens in London it also has a pool suspended between two buildings, except that its completely transparent. Why the facilities arms race?Nowadays, a home is no longer just a roof over ones head. You are talking lifestyle.(And bragging rights.) An apartments facilities and amenities help create that lifestyle environment by:Expanding your Living Space As property prices go up, apartment sizes tend to go down. So the condos common areas become an important extension of your living room. You dont need to squeeze a dozen people on your sofa because you can use the entertainment deck with its big-screen TVs and BBQ grills. The younger generation also prefer a "living out" lifestyle, where they can have friends over to socialise and hangout ... without needing to tidy up their apartment.Giving you a Resort Home A lot of money is spent to create a haven or oasis in the middle of the city. Tired after a long days work? You can get a massage, do some rock climbing, or some yoga, or even play golf without leaving home.Meeting a Need or Niche Condos today are often targeted towards a specific clientele with niche facilities as a main selling point. With health and wellness being the trend of the day, many new developments have fitness centers that rival big gyms complete with cardio theatres, exercise classes, hydro gyms and pools with currents to swim against. Some cater to pet owners, offering pet spas and dog runs for pets (and owners) to socialize. In 1997, Sunrise Bhds MontKiara Sophia was designed as a retirement village for those aged above 50, with wide walkways, bathroom railings and lawn bowling. The idea did not take off then, perhaps, because it was ahead of its time.While Singapore seems to be taking the lead in far-out facilities, Malaysia is not far behind. PropertyPricetag.com takes a look at 5 Malaysian condos with facilities that are not your usual trappings.5. Beach on the RoofWanna work on your tan on the beach? Just head up to the top of the 37-storey Vox Tower at Verve Suites, Mont Kiara. The Versilica Sky Beach comes complete with coconut trees, sandy shore, cocktail bar and an enviable view of the city. Each of the other three towers have their own special draw, such as the Vertigo lounge with a sky gym and theatrette, Hypercubes entertainment lounge, and gardens with aqua gym.Maintenance fee: RM0.33 psf4. Island GetawayUEM Sunrises upcoming Sefina in Mont Kiara also brings the beach to its compound. Sandy Island is a beach-styled park equipped with hammocks, beach volleyball, cabanas and even campfires. Its third floor podium Star Deck houses the more usual facilities, such as pools and multipurpose halls.Maintenance fee: RM0.30 psf3. Gardens in the CityGoodbye concrete jungle, hello hanging gardens. Mah Sings M City at Jalan Ampang has several themed gardens, which offer forest gardens, bamboo groves, picnic tables, streams and even a waterfall at various levels so you dont have to go all the way to ground floor for some time in the park! There is also a 4-level clubhouse and a ladies-only gym.Maintenance fee: RM0.35 psf2. Fantasy of the FutureArte + Designer Lofts is Numestros futuristic-looking condo at Jalan Ampang. Its Floating Garden, with fiber optic tree-like structures, transports you to a fantasy world, as do its Cloud Podium, a cloud-like geometric mesh structure with reflective glass that houses a bar and a leisure area; and the 40-meter long Lazy River Spa, with submerged deck beds. One of its 3 towers boasts a Super Gym 15,000 sf of fitness equipment, rock climbing walls and an MMA boxing ring.Maintenance fee: RM0.25 psf1. Eye in the SkyThe M101 SkyWheel integrated development is intent on becoming an iconic landmark in the city center with its 60m-diameter ferris wheel ... to be built 53 storeys off the ground! It will be the highest ferris wheel in Southeast Asia, designed and built by Studio FA Porsche Design, the same designer as London Eye and Singapore Flyer. The ferris wheel will be open to public, so it's not a condo facility, per se. But it will definitely give you a home that stands out.Maintenance fee: RM0.50 psfWhos paying for them?One thing to note about fancy facilities they are nice to look at, nice to have, and nice to show off to your guests.But in the end, its all about functionality and maintenance no one wants a white elephant and maintenance costs money. So be prepared to fork out more in monthly fees to upkeep your lifestyle. (The average maintenance fee in the Klang Valley is about RM0.20 psf).With proper planning, building and maintenance, good facilities can turn your haven into heaven, while adding value to your property and attracting tenants and new owners alike.SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia. 

5 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT HOTELS IN KL

Kl city

PropertyPricetag.com gives you the latest news about the Kuala Lumpur hotel market in a snapshot:5. EVERYBODY'S FEELING THE PINCHYes, 2015 has been a tough year for all, especially with declining f...

PropertyPricetag.com gives you the latest news about the Kuala Lumpur hotel market in a snapshot:5. EVERYBODY'S FEELING THE PINCHYes, 2015 has been a tough year for all, especially with declining foreign visitors following the Malaysian Airlines tragedies, global oil price slump and months-long haze.Tourist arrivals in Kuala Lumpur fell by a whopping 20% in 2015, compared with the year before.Hotel occupancies have also been hit — down to the mid-60% from 72% in 2014 — resulting in price wars.4. CHEAPER THAN EVERAs it is, Kuala Lumpur already has one of the lowest hotel rates worldwide.If you wanna live in luxury, you can do so for less in our own backyard. According to a 2012 survey on the cheapest cities for 5-star hotels in the world by Price of Travel, KL hotels came in 9th place with a range of USD78 to USD383. The cheapest was Phuket, beginning from USD56; while the most expensive was San Francisco, beginning from USD511.According to the latest Hotel Price Index, KL hotel rates in general have dropped significantly by 24% to USD89 in the first half of 2015, compared with USD117 in the first half of 2014.3. MORE BIG LUXURY HOTEL BRANDSAnother 12 luxury hotels are coming onstream between now and 2021, which will bring in another 3,038 more rooms, according to a report by Horwath HTL. In 2016 and 2017, we're looking at the completion of St Regis, Ritz Carlton suites, W Hotel, Banyan Tree Signatures, RuMa and Royale Pavilion — total 1,140 rooms — while Fairmont KLCC will add another 750 rooms in 2018.While this will cause a temporary decline in occupancy rates, new luxury brands would spur average room rates and promote Kuala Lumpur as a leisure destination.2. NO MORE NEW HOTEL LICENSESIf you had been planning to convert your shop lot to a trendy new budget hotel, you're out of luck ... for nowEffective February 2016, DBKL will not be issuing any more new hotel licenses in Kuala Lumpur until further notice. (Projects that have already received the go-ahead are not affected.)This is because we, apparently, have too many hotel rooms in the city — whether backpackers hostels, serviced apartments or six-star hotels.According to Mayor Mohamad Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz, there are 939 hotels in the city, (including more than 400 budget hotels) and more than 56,000 rooms — sufficient for the 12 million expected foreign tourists this year.For comparison's sake: Singapore has about 60,000 hotel rooms with an average occupancy of 85.3%, while Bangkok has about 42,000 rooms with more than 80% occupancy.  1. OR YOU CAN JUST BUY YOUR OWN HOTELIf you still hope to jump on the hotelier bandwagon, why not buy a hotel? There have been a few hotels that have changed hands recently, such as the massive RM388 million DoubleTree by Hilton deal by Singapore's Royal Group.Dynasty Hotel is an option. The 22-year-old 28-storey four-star hotel at Jalan Ipoh is up for sale with a reserve price of RM210 million — a 44% discount to its market valuation of RM378 million.For more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia, follow PropertyPricetag.com on Facebook.

5 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT CHERAS

Cheras old and new

In 2015, Cheras was in the spotlight — both on stage and in a viral ad video. Five Arts Centre’s “Cheras, The Musical” featured the story of a family working hard to escape the old neighbourhood in...

In 2015, Cheras was in the spotlight — both on stage and in a viral ad video. Five Arts Centre’s “Cheras, The Musical” featured the story of a family working hard to escape the old neighbourhood in pursuit of a better life in a more affluent and happening one. On the other hand, the viral ad video basically asked people to “Get Cher-as to Cheras” for the opening of IKEA Cheras. Yes, Malaysia’s favourite furniture store actually opened a super large branch at Jalan Cochrane, Cheras.   Both productions highlight the contrasts and appeal of Cheras, a former sleepy hollow that is now one of the largest and most mature Klang Valley suburbs ... with probably the biggest number of “tamans”. Its laidback charm and proximity to KL city has resulted in it bursting at its seams.We spoke to some locals to find out a bit more about this sprawling town. "Nothing much interesting in Cheras, except some good food," my friend Angie replied.But once they started talking about food, it didn’t end for a while — there were the food stalls at Taman Connaught and Taman Cheras, the famous wantan mee, duck rice, fish ball noodles and fish head noodles, RM4.50 chicken rice, affordable western food (and paktor venue) at Taman Billion, and the (second) longest pasar malam in Malaysia. (Find out which is “officially” the longest night market here).Well, PropertyPricetag.com managed to put together 5 other facts about Cheras that you may not know:5. IT ALL STARTED WITH 21 SHOP HOUSES IN AN "ULU" PLACEThe growing tin mining and rubber plantation industries in the early 1900s drew many Hakka Chinese to the area. In the 1930s, a rubber merchant built two rows of 21 shop houses in Pudu Ulu, which served as the town center for Cheras. (Sadly, a major fire in May 2010 destroyed 14 of the original shop houses.)The name “Ulu” may have been an indication of how KL-ites saw (or maybe still see) Cheras — as a remote and backwater town. (As another friend jokingly remarked, “Make sure your  insurance policy covers Cheras.”)Jalan Pudu Hulu was the major arterial road from KL to Kajang, as well as the only route to Singapore. However, since the development of Jalan Cheras, it has been reduced to a “back alley”.4. CHERAS WAS NAMED AFTER ... WHO REALLY KNOWS? :-p There are many explanations for the origin of the name “Cheras”. Some say it’s from “Sungai Teras”, or the Chinese mispronunciation of “Beras” (rice), which was widely grown in the area in the late 1880s.A version that sounds a little far-fetched relates the name to a silat master Tok Perimbun, who used to live there -- he had super speed, and the fabric of his pants would make a swishing “cheroh cheras cheroh cheras” sound as he ran.3. CHERAS IS IN KUALA LUMPUR. WAIT, NO, SELANGOR. WELL, ACTUALLY, BOTH KL AND SELANGOR.Cheras is actually in Hulu Langat, Selangor. Then on Feb 1, 1974, part of it was annexed to the Federal government to form part of the Federal Territory.Hence, half of Cheras is in Kuala Lumpur, under DBKL, while the other half is in Selangor, under the Kajang municipal council. (So those living on either parts of Cheras can actually call each other up and say, “Hello from the other side.”)Properties on the KL side experienced an early boom as it had several roads into the city, but the Selangor side is not far behind. Development has pushed southwards, all the way down to Balakong, at the Kajang border — an area that now calls itself Cheras South.2. 11 OF THE 31 NEW MRT STATIONS ARE IN CHERAS.Although connected by highways and LRTs and a rail interchange, Cheras’ growing population (more than half a million and counting) and rapid development has made it notorious for round-the-clock congestion and traffic jams.The ongoing construction work for the new MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang line is also making the problem worst, but hopefully things will be better once the trains are up and running in the second half of 2017. The line runs along Jalan Cheras in KL and down the Cheras-Kajang Expressway in Selangor, from Cochrane station to Taman Koperasi Cuepacs station.1. CHERAS PROPERTIES ARE MORE PRICEY NOW, BUT STILL CONSIDERED AFFORDABLE. The large cross-section of population in Cheras means there is always a need for all sorts of new homes. The first few housing estates in Cheras were mainly terrace houses built back in the 1960s and 1970s or low and medium-cost non-landed homes. Since then, more and more higher-end non-landed developments have entered the scene.Ongoing projects by big names — such as Sunway group’s 23-acre mixed use Sunway Velocity, Ekovest Bhd’s 12-acre Ekocheras, and Boustead’s MyTown, which is redeveloping the Jalan Cochrane area (with new entrants such as IKEA) — are infusing fresh life into the older parts of town. Further down south, new developments such as Livia Residence and Mahkota Residence and the 20.6-acre You City by PJ Development Holdings have also been raising the bar in terms of real estate value.Even so, property prices are still comparatively cheaper than other central locations in the Klang Valley. In 2014, a-third of condominiums and apartments sold were in the RM300,000 to RM400,000 price range, while the most expensive ones (in absolute price), namely Prima Midah Heights, were sold at an average of RM650,000, or RM438 psf. In terms of price psf, Malton’s Amaya Maluri tops the list at RM751 psf for its units, which ranged in size from 719 to 1,127 sf. Affordable middle-range condominiums include Bukit Pandan Kondominium 1 (RM266 psf), Pandan Heights (RM267 psf) and Seri Mas (RM288 psf) in Taman Ikhsan.If this article makes you want to get Cher-as to Cheras, do check out the latest transacted property prices at PropertyPricetag.com. Or if you have a home to sell, you can LIST FOR FREE at PropertyPricetag.com too!

FACE OFF: CONDOMINIUMS VS STRATA OFFICES

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Condominiums and serviced apartments are popular choices for the average property buyer. Its something people are familiar with you can live in it, or you rent it out.But recently, strata offices ...

Condominiums and serviced apartments are popular choices for the average property buyer. Its something people are familiar with you can live in it, or you rent it out.But recently, strata offices have become increasingly popular, especially with all the integrated developments coming up (this author was thinking of investing in the UOA Vertical Offices in Bangsar South ... hence this article =p).Strata offices, especially those with MSC status, seem like a good buy because ...Higher rents: Companies tend to have higher rental budgets than individuals or families.Longer tenancy duration: Companies tend to look more long term so they are more inclined to sign longer leases than residential tenants (who eventually buy their own or move due to family expansion).Cheaper entry price: Investors would think about diversifying their property portfolio but not many can afford a shophouse (usually about RM5 million), while strata offices have a lower entry price point.But are strata offices REALLY a good alternative to non-landed residences?PropertyPricetag.com puts some developments to a face off to see how strata offices and residential properties stack up against each other.We compare two major factors in a property investment:1. Capital appreciation (we looked at prices over the past 3 years)2. Rental Yields (based on most recent asking prices, since we don't have transacted rental prices ... yet ;)To make sure we are comparing apple to apple, we chose properties that are located next to each other so it is not affected by location, tenure and other factors such as accessibility to MRT. But we did not control for age (because they are built at different times), management ... or ghosts.ting, ting ...ROUND 1: Binjai 8 vs Binjai ResidencyThese two developments are located within the prestigious KLCC vicinity. Binjai 8 is a freehold 40-storey SOHO development by the UOA Group, with a choice of units from 753 to 1,785 sf. Binjai Residency is a freehold 32-storey condominium by Amity Binjai, with sizes ranging from 1,951 to 2,326 sf.Binjai 8 commands a slightly higher rental of RM3.90 psf, compared with Binjai Residencys RM3.30 psf. However, its psf price is 20% higher than Binjai Residency, which gives it a less attractive yield of 3.8%. From 2013 to 2015, Binjai 8s average transacted psf actually fell (tsk tsk..) so definitely a bummer. Coupled with the lower rental yield, it is a pretty clear call.Winner: Binjai 8 Residencyting, ting ...ROUND 2: Menara UOA vs Gaya BangsarUOAs Menara Bangsar comprises two blocks of leasehold office towers the 39-storey Tower A and the 24-storey Tower B. Only Tower A units are available for sale, with sizes ranging from 829 to 1,669 sf. The strata office is a jewel because of its direct link to the Bangsar LRT, and the other tower is purpose built and wholly owned by UOA Holdings so the management quality is maintained and the quality of the tenants for the purpose built office is also guaranteed. A stones throw away is Gaya Bangsar, a 34-storey leasehold serviced apartment by UDA Holdings.Unit sizes range from 671 to 1,610 sf. Both developments command a really strong yield (probably because of the LRT) even though they are leasehold. The yields are almost identical, but note that Menara UOA (like Binjai 8) actually dropped in transaction prices. Again, verdict quite clear.Winner: Gaya Bangsarting, ting ...FINAL ROUND: Menara 1MK vs I-Zen Kiara IIIrekas Menara 1MK is a 20-storey office tower is part of the 1 Mont Kiara Mall integrated development. Its built-ups range from 1,044 sf to 9,079 sf, which makes it attractive for medium to large scale organisations. Adjacent to the offices is I-Zen Kiara II, a freehold serviced residence built by Ireka Development in 2005. This strata office is also the only one that we found that gave us a comparatively better yield than the residential component (probably due to the mall factor). But both 1 Mont Kiara and I-Zen Kiara II depreciated in 2014 (panic?!!!), reflective of the Mont Kiara Market in 2014. Another interesting point is that Mont Kiaras rental (both residential and the offices) is generally much lower than Bangsar and KLCC, but it is still very popular among investors. We found that Menara 1MK's office had a significantly higher rental yield of 6.1%, but it also depreciated slightly more than I-Zen Kiara II. However, cash in hand is always better than paper gain. So the verdict is a Winner: TiePROPERTYPRICETAG.COM INSIGHTSSo strata offices really dont quite live up to their promises huh?Propertypricetag.com notes that developers tends to price up commercial strata offices; hence, they could have been overpriced at launch and experience a correction thereafter. The depreciation in 2014 could also be a brief blip in the market due to weak demand from SMEs (economy not so good lah).Still, invest with better information before you leap.On top of the yield and the capital gains (or in this sense, losses), investors should note the following on strata offices outlook:According to JLL Property Services, more than five million sf of stratified office space is scheduled to come into the market in the next two years. The big bulk of these will be located at the Kuala Lumpur fringe area. These include Q Sentral, The Vertical Office Suites, KL Eco City and Empire Damansara;Strata offices usually, especially Grade A, is charged a high maintenance fee of RM0.35 psf and above, which could be hefty and wipe out 10% of your rental;Rental may be affected as it is currently a tenants market. The government have recently passed a policy that dictates that any company with MSC status after Jan 1, 2015, can be located anywhere, not necessarily in an MSC-certified office;Commercial properties usually have lower margins of financing, while utilities, assessment rates and other charges will be on a higher scale compared with residential properties;There is a big stream of SOHOs and strata offices (think Setia Ecocity) coming on stream over the next 2 years. How would the already strained strata offices market do then?Do you have strata offices in your portfolio? Let us know what you think.For more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia, follow PropertyPricetag.com on Facebook. 

WHAT'S ROTTING IN TOWN?

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Where do white elephants go to die? Often they are left to rot where they lie. Some due to accidents. Or age. Or because the bank account ran dry. Monuments of broken dreams or memories gone by. ...

Where do white elephants go to die? Often they are left to rot where they lie. Some due to accidents. Or age. Or because the bank account ran dry. Monuments of broken dreams or memories gone by. Abandoned buildings become havens for drug addicts, ghosts and pests, or even photography enthusiasts. Eyesore or a sight for sore eyes all depends on the lens youve got. PropertyPricetag.com takes a look at seven major abandoned buildings in the Klang Valley and check their pulse to see if a new lease of life is in store or not. HIGHLAND TOWERS Rotting since: 1993 Highland Towers in Ulu Klang has become the poster property for the dangers of hillside developments after the tragic collapse of Block 1 claimed 48 lives in December 1993. Land clearing, heavy rainfall and a massive landslide had created a domino effect that rammed into, and snapped, the foundations of the luxury condominium, like a felled tree. Blocks 2 and 3 were quickly evacuated and remain unoccupied till today more than 22 years later. Burying the ghosts? Land owner Arab Malaysian Bhd put the property up for tender in December 2013. The en bloc sale included rights over 111 units and 50 freehold vacant bungalow lots at the site, but to date, there hasnt been any takers. Ex-RA president Dr Benjamin George is keen to see the remaining towers demolished and the area redeveloped ... with the necessary precautions and procedures to avoid any repeat of tragedy. PLAZA RAKYAT Rotting since: 1998 The RM1.4bil project in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, was 30% completed when developer Plaza Rakyat Sdn Bhd got hit by the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis, forcing it to abandon the project. It was to be a massive mixed development, comprising a 79-storey office tower, a 46-storey service apartment, a 24-storey hotel, a 7-storey retail mall and a bus terminal. Today, the eyesore is now the citys biggest swimming pool, with its exposed 7-storey basement filled with water (and, reportedly, tilapia and haruan fish). Draining the swimming pool DBKL took over the project site in 2014, after repaying the developers RM150mil debt to a consortium of banks. In 2015, it sold the project for RM740 million to Profit Consortium Sdn Bhd, which will revive the project together with investment partner, Debao Property Development Ltd from China. Profit Consortium is a privately held by Maxcorp Development Sdn Bhd, SW Land Sdn Bhd and Tan Sri Abdul Samad Alias. Maxcorp is the private vehicle of Major (Rtd) Anuar Adam, while SW Land is the developer of Sungai Wang Plaza. The pool has finally been drained, but a structural integrity survey needs to be done before any redevelopment takes place. The 211 buyers of Plaza Rakyat stand to get a total of RM40 million in compensation for their purchase. This works out to an average of RM181,000 per lot. GRAND DUTA HYATT HOTEL Rotting since: 1998 Work on the Grand Duta Hyatt Hotel halted 18 years ago in July 1998 following the Asian financial crisis. Initial plans for the 2.36-acre plot at the junction of Jalan Ampang and Jalan Sultan Ismail Kuala Lumpur were for a 52-storey building with a hotel, retail lots, offices and serviced apartments. It is believed that construction halted at the 29th floor. The Hyatt Group is no longer associated with the project. Fourth time lucky? The long-stalled project may finally get a fresh lease of life. DutaLand Bhds subsidiary, Duta Grand Hotels Sdn Bhd, made its fourth application to Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) in mid-2015 to redevelop the site. The new project may see a 64-storey luxury hotel with 325 rooms, 700 units of service apartments, and a six-level retail podium. ONE BANGSAR Rotting since: 2011 The One Bangsar project along Jalan Ara, Bangsar, used to house a row of nine upmarket restaurants, with a variety of international cuisine. DBKL had agreed with landowners Eng Lian Enterprise Sdn Bhd to temporarily convert the land status from residential to commercial for five years, beginning December 2004. In March 2010, DBKL decided not to extend the operators business license due to residents objections, and the land reverted to residential use. Those affected took the matter to court but lost. One Bangsar was closed, and the row of renovated and landscaped bungalows was left abandoned and has since fallen into disrepair. No more eyesore, please In mid-2015, Eng Lian has submitted plans to DBKL to revive the site as a low-density commercial development with a 2 -storey car park. Although no details have been announced, the city council and the residents seem to be more accommodating this round as the abandoned bungalows have been a real thorn in the flesh in the posh neighbourhood of Bangsar. MATAHARI LUXURY CONDOS Rotting since: 2010 The Matahari Desa Seri Hartamas luxury super condos was launched in 2007, but work has since halted temporarily, probably because the money ran out. The development includes 158 units of villa condominiums, a club house, retail space and a massive five-storey bungalow with a swimming pool. The 5.2 acres of freehold land it sits on is owned by Datuk P Kasi of MK Land. The mansions skeleton towers up on the hillslopes, greeting all who enter Desa Sri Hartamas with its large domed roofs. It was said to be one of the most expensive house of its time, costing some RM45 to RM60 million to build (excluding land cost). Still waiting for the money? The developer,Maymont Development Sdn Bhd, was intending to revive the project in 2014 with new contractors when its funding is in place. Existing purchasers were to get refunds. However, there have been no updates since. THE BOSS Rotting since: 2014 The 28-storey high-rise residential hotel suite with commercial space by Hotwer Development Sdn Bhd was to be the new iconic landmark in Klang. Instead, the half-completed building is now a colossal sore thumb. Some 300 buyers who purchased four-star hotel units priced between RM250,000 and RM900,000, with guaranteed rental return for 18 years have been left in the lurch when work stopped sometime in mid-2014. Out of the Hotwater? KPMG Deal Advisory Sdn Bhd has been appointed to be the liquidator by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in November 2014. KPMG met with the purchasers and creditors in mid-2015 to discuss the next course of action, and buyers are hopeful / hoping that the project will be revived soon. KAYANGAN BUNGALOW Rotting since: undetermined This uncompleted bungalow in Section 12, Shah Alam, is the stuff of folklore and ghost stories. The most famous, but unconfirmed, legend is that it is the home of Mona Fandey, the witch doctor convicted of chopping up a politician in 1993. Executed in 2001, her name still haunts deserted old buildings. However, another version states that the house belongs to someone else who had trouble fitting in the doors and windows because the space kept changing in size. Spooky, eh? Rising from the dead? Who knows the real tale? And would such houses (each neighbourhood would have at least one) ever be resurrected? Anyhow, abandoned buildings can come alive in ones imagination, and life would be less boring with them around. Check out the latest updates and news in the property market at PropertyPricetag.com.

5 MOST ROMANTIC PROPERTIES ... EVER!

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Valentines Day is about gestures of love, and sometimes, the grander the better. What could be grander than a monument, or staircase, or even a whole castle, as a tribute to ones loved one? Propert...

Valentines Day is about gestures of love, and sometimes, the grander the better. What could be grander than a monument, or staircase, or even a whole castle, as a tribute to ones loved one? PropertyPricetag.com gives you five grand displays of affections in brick and mortar. 1. Mini Taj Mahal, Kaser Kalan, India We all know the Taj Mahal how the Mughal emperor built the world-famous mausoleum for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal in the mid-1600s. Some 360 years later, an 80-year-old retired postmaster is keeping a promise to his late wife of 58 years to build a replica of the Taj Mahal to keep her memory alive. After his wife, Tajammuli, died in 2011 due to throat cancer, Faizul Hassan Qadri has been building the 27-foot tall monument as a labor of love with every cent he has. He has to pause construction each time he runs out of money. The monument is currently half completed but instantly recognisable. The mini Taj Mahal houses Tajammuli's body, and Faizul has made plans to be interred next to her when he passes on, hopefully after he completes the construction. 2. The 6,000 Staircase, Jiangjin, China Whether fable or fact, the verdict is still out on this one, but its definitely a story for Valentines Day. In the 1950s, a 16-year-old boy, Liu, fell in love with a 26-year-old widowed mother of four, Xu. Fearing gossip and objections from family and society, they decided to elope and disappeared into the mountains in Jiangjin County in Southern ChongQing area. With nothing in their humble cave home, they survived on grass and roots initially. Then over the next half a century, Liu began to hand carve steps down the mountain more than 6,000 of them so his wife could get up and down easily. In 2001, a group of adventures stumbled upon the elderly couple and the 6,000 hand-carved staircase, since dubbed the love ladder. Liu passed away at age 72 in 2007, while Xu died in 2012 at age 87. The local government has said it would preserve the staircase and convert the mountain into a scenic spot for tourists. 3. Secret heart-shaped meadow, South Gloucestershire, England Some people carve hearts into tree trunks as a memorial of love. Farmer Winston Howes carved it into an entire meadow of oak trees. When his wife of 33 years, Janet, died suddenly from heart failure in 1995, Winston decided to start planting trees. He planted a few thousand oak saplings in a six-acre field, leaving a heart-shaped area in the middle, with the point facing towards his wifes childhood home. As the trees matured over the past 20 years, the heart shape can be seen distinctly against the tall oaks, creating a hidden oasis accessible only via a track through the trees. The familys secret tribute was uncovered and made public when it was spotted by a balloonist photographer in 2012. 4. Kellies Castle, Perak, Malaysia Scottish planter William Kellie Smith made his fortune through his investments in rubber plantation and tin mining in Malaya in the late 1890s. He married his Scottish sweetheart, Agnes, and they had a daughter and, 11 years later, a son. In celebration of the birth of heir and as a gift to his wife who was feeling homesick, William began construction of his castle in 1915 on a 900-acre estate he bought in Batu Gajah, Perak. Named after his late mother, Kellie, the mansion combined Scottish, Moorish and Indian architecture. Tragically, William passed away due to pneumonia in 1926. Heartbroken, his wife sold the property, packed her bags and left Malaya. The uncompleted mansion was designed with 14 rooms, a four-storey tower, a flat roof top and a lift shaft for what would have been the first elevator in Malaya. It was widely believed that the mansion also had other hidden rooms, secret corridors and underground tunnels as well as its own resident ghost. Kellie's Castle is now a popular local tourist attraction and was used as a setting in the 1999 film Anna and the King and 2000 film Skyline Cruisers. 5. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Penang, Malaysia Rags-to-riches Chinese tycoon Cheong Fatt Tze had mansions all over the region Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China but the two-storey house on Leith Street, Penang, would appear to be his favourite. Dubbed The Blue Mansion due to its indigo blue walls, the mansion remains as one of only two five-courtyard Chinese buildings outside of China. Built between 1897 and 1904, it had a built-up of 33,000 sf, 38 rooms, 7 staircases, 5 granite-paved courtyards, and 220 timber louver windows, 48 of them in Art Nouveau stained glass. The Blue Mansion served as Cheong's office and home of his favoured wife, Tan Tay Po @ Chan Kim Po, the seventh of his eight wives. While marriage was usually a business or political decision for Cheong, love was the reason for this union. Cheong was 70 when he fell head over heels for Tan, then only 17. Tan was also the only wife mentioned in Cheongs will, which bequeathed the mansion to her and their son. Cheong had hoped his mansion would be able to house nine generations of his descendants, but he stipulated that the property not be sold until the death of his youngest son, Cheong Kam Long. When that finally happened in 1989, the house (which had fallen into disrepair due to the high cost of upkeep) was sold to a group of Penang conservationists, restored and converted into a hotel. So if you are looking for a house to gift your beloved this Valentines Day, why not check out the listings at PropertyPricetag.com?

CAN YOU AFFORD TO STAY FAR AWAY?

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Where to buy a home is one of lifes great decisions along with who to marry and perhaps where to eat tonight. And with property prices going through the roof in recent years, its becoming a tough...

Where to buy a home is one of lifes great decisions along with who to marry and perhaps where to eat tonight. And with property prices going through the roof in recent years, its becoming a tougher decision for many Malaysians, especially in Kuala Lumpur. Some choose to live small but right in the middle of everything. Others choose to move farther out to find a larger home they can afford. After all, prices do tend to drop as you move towards the fringes and outskirts of the Klang Valley.For example, the median prices of residential property sold in areas such as Mont Kiara, Bangsar Baru and Taman Tun Dr Ismail are in the seven-digits, whereas in areas such as Balakong, Rawang and Shah Alam, the median price is less than RM500,000. (Of course, there are relatively cheap homes close to the city that are usually much older or with ownership restrictions).AT WHAT COST?But with most of the jobs and action still located in central Kuala Lumpur, this translates to a lot of time on the road going to and fro work. And theres petrol, toll and time involved in that which can add up to a lot at the end of the month. According to the World Banks 2015 Malaysias Economic Monitor report, commuters in Kuala Lumpur wasted between 270 and 500 million man-hours in traffic jams last year! This was translated into at least RM3,100 each year for each person in Greater Kuala Lumpur up to RM24.7 billion or 2.2% of our GDP in 2014! So apart from the price of the property, you should take into account all the other costs involved when making a decision on where to buy. The distance and time it takes to get to ones workplace is a huge factor you should not neglect.PropertyPricetag.com compared six similar-sized condominiums in a few locations south of Kuala Lumpur and crunched some numbers.Some basic assumptions:Housing loan repayments calculated based on 4.75% for a 30-year 90% loanDistance and time calculated based on Google Maps infoPetrol cost calculated on RM0.13 per kilometre20 working days in a monthHOW THEY STACK UP Price Trends: Property prices to the South East of KL seem relatively flat, so there doesnt seem to be significant savings the farther down you go. On the other hand, prices in the South West of KL show a gradual decrease as you move westward.Cheapest Property: Seri Pulai condominium in Serdang is the cheapest property in this survey, but being one of the farthest away from the city, daily toll and petrol costs add up to quite a bit.Most Expensive Property: Faber Ria in Taman Desa is the second closest to the city, and at RM618,000, it is the most expensive in this survey. So the mortgage, with petrol and toll, is the highest.Closest: Casa Ria condo in Maluri, Kuala Lumpur, about 7km from the city. Price-wise, it is fourth on the list, but when you add in daily travel expenses, it jumps to second place. Farthest & Lowest Monthly Cost: Casa Tropika in Puchong tops the list of the farthest from KLCC, but with its low price, it also boasts the lowest monthly cost, even after taking into account toll and petrol. But you have to be prepared to spend one-and-a-half hours on the road each day to and fro.ALL ABOUT TIMEAs mentioned earlier, you cant look at the numbers without taking into account the time factor Its is not unusual for people to travel farther to work the world average for time to and fro work is 40 minutes, although in many cities, workers can spend three times more on the road. Our neighbours in Bangkok, Thailand, have the longest average commuting time of two hours every day!But if we work for 30 years, the less time we spend sitting in traffic every rush hour, the better. Time is money, no? And shorter commutes usually mean lower blood pressure and stresses of modern living. (More time for dating, too.)For this survey, we assumed a RM5,000 monthly salary; and using the World Bank calculations, we divided it by 20 work days a month, with 8 hours a day, to find out how much an hour is worth RM31.25 an hour. While intra-city traffic jams are a reality, living closer to the city usually means shorter commuting time.So while Casa Tropika costs least in terms of monthly payments, the time cost of sitting in traffic add up to almost an additional thousand ringgit each month. In fact, it would cost more than staying in a RM618,000 home in Taman Desa, which is 12km from the city.Jalil Damai in Bukit Jalil costs the most as the property is more expensive (RM515,000) and it is a fair distance away from the city, which takes an hours drive to and fro each day.In our books Casa Ria in Maluri seems to be a clear winner it is closest to the city, yet costs the least. Even without the time-cost savings, it is the second cheapest option.PROPERTYPRICETAG.COMS INSIGHTSAs you can see, there is no set formula in finding the right balance between a lower house price and commuting costs. But with a little bit of homework, you can decide if it makes sense to move farther away or not. Of course there are other factors to consider, such as availability of public transport you can use the same method to calculate whether buying a home close to an LRT station is worth it or not although many Malaysians still tend to prefer driving. To get started on your home search, check out PropertyPricetag.com. And you may find many more value buys that are both central and easy on the pocket.

8 WAYS TO ADD SOME "HUAT" TO YOUR PROPERTY

Plants

Chinese New Year is round the corner. Here are some ideas on how you can add some good fortune, or "huat" to your property:1. PLANTSThere are some things both science and Feng Shui can agree upon …...

Chinese New Year is round the corner. Here are some ideas on how you can add some good fortune, or "huat" to your property:1. PLANTSThere are some things both science and Feng Shui can agree upon … such as the use of plants to enhance your living spaces. The NASA Clean Air study has shown that several plants are able to remove toxic chemicals, such as benzene, formaldehyde and xylene, from the air we breathe. These plants include the Areca palm, rubber fig, and bamboo palm. Feng Shui experts say healthy plants produce a lot of vibrant Yang energy, which is very “huat”. The operative word here is “healthy”, hence, it is only advisable to grow plants if you can commit your time and effort to nurture them. Plant die already, no more “huat”.2. NUMBERSIn Chinese culture, numbers all have meaning one. In case you didn’t know, four is a big no-no, because it sounds like the Cantonese word for “die”. Instead, you want your “huat”numbers — such as two (unity), eight (prosperity) and nine (longevity). That doesn’t mean you have to place a fat “8” big big in the living room. Subtlety is key … you may choose to put up a painting with nine koi fish, or display miniature Eight Immortals statues, or two mandarin oranges etc.3. COLOURSColours can influence a person’s mood — for example, bright colours make you feel happy (or hurt your friends' eyes). Colours can also attract the energy of abundance and prosperity. Lucky colours for 2016 include shades of red, yellow and green. So you can draw in some vibrant energy by adding accents of red or orange in the living room.4. MIRRORSMirrors are often used to fill in “missing corners” in your room. For example, if a room is odd-shaped, the mirror helps to give an optical illusion to compensate for it. However, objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. Oops sorry … I meant, mirrors should not be placed facing the main door or the bed. After all, you wouldn’t want to wake up to see your reflection in the middle of the night, would you?5. DECLUTTERAnother simple way to usher in prosperity is to clear up the clutter in your property! You can throw out the trash and donate the rest for a good cause. Having piles of clutter not only looks bad (especially if you have friends and relatives visiting) but also turns your home into an obstacle course. As a result, the energy (qi) flow of the house becomes stagnant … or ends up tripping over itself and stubs its toe. Not good.6. SYMBOLS Certain Chinese antiques are considered auspicious, according to Feng Shui principles. So if you are redecorating, you may want to make a trip down to the local stores and stock up on some Chinese gold ingots, Three Star Deities of Prosperity, Power and Longevity (福禄寿), or the Laughing Buddha.7. CRYSTALS There is a common belief that crystals contain “metaphysical” properties that allows it to attract abundance energy. Crystals that are commonly known to attract abundance include green aventurine, citrine and clear quartz (hint: stay away from the kryptonite). These crystals are easily found in shopping malls and are usually cheap in the form of tumbled stones.8. ORIENTATION  The eight points that you see on the Feng Shui compass help decide whether your property will “huat” or not depending on where you place your beds, cupboards or cooking stoves. The southeast corner of the property is usually regarded as the corner of abundance and money. A simple solution to “huat” your property is to place any form of the auspicious objects mentioned above at that area. The truth is … there are just so many ideas and concepts coming from different schools of Feng Shui that they contradict with each other. And for many, it may sound like a bunch of nonsense. But there’s no harm picking and choosing any of these steps to implement in your home. A splash of colour, a rearrangement of furniture and some decluttering may bring in a much needed breath of fresh air into your house and the new year!PropertyPricetag.com wishes you a very "Huat" Chinese New Year! Do check out the latest transacted property prices in the Klang Valley at our website and impress your relatives and friends with how clever you are this holiday season!

5 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT SETIA ALAM

Setia alam

The multi-award-winning Setia Alam township was launched in 2004 by SP Setia Bhd. The freehold residential and commercial township is now about 60% developed, with more than 16,000 units sold. Amp...

The multi-award-winning Setia Alam township was launched in 2004 by SP Setia Bhd. The freehold residential and commercial township is now about 60% developed, with more than 16,000 units sold. Ample green spaces and “green features” are its trademark, as are its security and smart home systems. Its latest launches in 2015 include three-storey terraced and semi-Ds in Precinct 11; Setia City Residences (its first high-end serviced apartments); and Rumah Selangorku affordable apartments.Its commercial center, Setia City, is home to SP Setia’s new corporate headquarters, Setia City Mall, Setia City Convention Centre, and the future 1 National Institute of Health Complex, among many other big corporate names and brands. Tenby International School will be joined by SEGi International School and a medical center soon.Here are some other facts about the township that has been instrumental in putting the spotlight on the western corridor of the Klang Valley.5. IT WAS KNOWN AS THE NORTH HUMMOCK ESTATEThe 4,000-acre former oil palm plantation was owned by the See Hoy Chan family, which sold it to SP Setia in 2002 for RM600 million. The deal was announced on April Fool’s Day, and many thought it was a joke and that then-CEO Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin had bitten off more than he could chew. Although today, it is acknowledged as a foresightedness that paid off. Of this 4,000 acres, about 2,550 acres were developed into Setia Alam and Setia City, and 791 acres for the upmarket Setia Eco Park (a joint venture with Great Eastern Life Assurance and the EPF). The remainder was sold, mostly to the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS), to help ease cashflow.4. IT IS ACTUALLY PART OF KLANGPhoto credit: www.mastersoon.comThe land was located in the Klang district, accessible via a small trunk road called Jalan Meru. There had actually been five other interested buyers that looked at the land before SP Setia, but they didn’t think the Klang market could absorb such a big development. But SP Setia went ahead. It also managed to get approval to build a 7.5km six-lane access through the land, linking Jalan Meru direct to the NKVE. The RM150 million Setia Alam Highway opened in 2006, giving the township a Shah Alam address and opened its doors to the rest of the Klang Valley.3. SP SETIA ISN'T THE ONLY DEVELOPER IN SETIA ALAMPhoto credit: youngneighbourhood.blogspot.myVarious others have since entered the scene, mostly in joint ventures with PKNS. Mentari Group has its landed homes and bungalow lots. Tanjong Wahyu Sdn Bhd built its maiden project, Seria 88, with 221 units of four-storey shop offices. Sunsuria is developing the Sunsuria Seventh Avenue business hub. Its second phase includes the Forum, a 3-storey mall with 25,000 sf of leased retail space, 61 retail shops, and 172 office units.2. IT HAS THE SECOND CINEMA IN THE WHOLE OF SHAH ALAMPhoto credit: www.gsc.com.myGSC opened a 9-screen cinema in Setia City Mall in June 2012. This was just seven months after MBO Cinemas opened Shah Alam’s first Cineplex at Space U8, Shah Alam. The Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) has strict rules regarding entertainment outlets, and cinemas were not allowed to be built in the state capital prior to that.1. IT HAS THE LONGEST PASAR MALAM IN THE COUNTRYPhoto credit: www.blogspot.myThe 2.4km-long night market has made its way to into the according 2011 Malaysian Book of Records. Open every Saturday night, it sells whole variety of food, from Malay and Chinese favourites to Taiwanese, Thai, Japanese and other exotic snacks. You can also get your car accessories or even a pet bunny here. DID YOU KNOW ... you can check out the latest transacted prices of properties in Setia Alam at PropertyPricetag.com? Who knows ... you may decide to buy a unit or two! SIGN UP with Propertypricetag.com to check the latest transacted prices and to list your property for FREE today. You can also follow our Facebook page for more insights and updates on the property market in Malaysia.