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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. 

THE LOVE AFFAIR THAT'S KILLING OUR FORESTS

Ekve 02

In recent years, there have been lots of protests over new highways. No one wants a big highway cutting through their neighbourhoods (all that traffic!) and killing all the trees and animals.But it...

In recent years, there have been lots of protests over new highways. No one wants a big highway cutting through their neighbourhoods (all that traffic!) and killing all the trees and animals.But its inevitable. There will be more highways being built. More trees being cut down. More animals losing their homes.Why? Because Malaysians love their personal space.(Yes, there are a few more other factors that we will talk about here also, but thats quite a big one.) THE EKVE: GOOD, BAD AND UGLY Take, for example, the EKVE.Thats the East Klang Valley Expressway an upcoming 39.5km-long expressway that connects Ukay Perdana in Ampang and Bandar Sungai Long in Kajang.It is part of a traffic dispersal scheme to direct cars away from the city. So its pretty handy if you need to get from the north to the south of Greater Kuala Lumpur but dont want to get caught in the massive jams on the Middle Ring Road 2.But that route away from the city also means it will have to cut through two forest reserves the Ampang Forest Reserve and the Ulu Gombak forest reserve.Thankfully, the Ulu Gombak forest reserve stretch under Phase 2 has been shelved (for now), but Phase 1 is underway with 106.6 hectares of the Ampang Forest Reserve degazetted.The 106.6 hectares is actually about 0.001% of Selangors entire forest reserve, and it will be replaced by gazetting some other land nearby, but obviously people (NGOs, residents and the like) are not very happy about that.And for good reason. Our forests are our natural heritage, and trees give us oxygen. But more importantly, the forest reserve is a water catchment area for the Selangor dam. No forest reserve means no water, which is no fun especially with El Nino and the water shortage issues weve been having.And intruding into the forest means wildlife would lose their homes or lose their way home. Wed be asking more questions like Why did the Sumatran Serow cross the road? SAY NO TO HIGHWAYS?Its easy to surmise, then, that having more highways is a bad idea.However, can we really live without highways? Or are they a necessary evil?Malaysians, specifically KL-ites, love their cars. Every day, 1,000 new vehicles are registered in Kuala Lumpur. Soon, our license plates will run out of space, just like our clogged roads.We also love our city, because thats where the jobs, business opportunities, schools and amenities are. By 2020, Greater Kuala Lumpur is expected to be home to 10 million people. These people need a place to live.And, as mentioned, one big, big factor is that Malaysians love our space. Generally, security and facilities factors notwithstanding, Malaysians prefer landed homes. We like to have a garden, to be able to hang our clothes out in the sun, and to park right in front of our door. We dont like being crowded or have people living above us or below us.But with rising property prices in and around the city, new developments are being built farther and farther away in new growth areas. We do have lots of space in Malaysia, so we can afford to spread out. Why settle for city shoebox apartments when we can have resort living?This urban sprawl comes at a cost. As the increasing Kuala Lumpur workforce become commuters, we need to build new highways to connect these areas so these people can get to work each day. And we need to build more roads and more parking lots to keep these cars in the city.Why not build better public transportation systems instead?That is definitely a solution, but it only works in areas where there are enough people to support the system, like the city center. While theres a romantic story of a train in Japan that services a single student to school every day, it is not viable to service spread out and low population areas (which is probably why the High Speed Train to Singapore will not be stopping at Putrajaya.)BE LIKE SINGAPORE?If we want to stop cutting down our forests and draining our water catchments, perhaps we need to stop the sprawl and hang up our car keys.We need to start planning and building houses closer together and stack em up higher. Keep the city nice and tight. Dont push development far and wide to obscure places with funny names. Encourage people to stay close to their workplace so they cut down on commuting.More housing closer together and higher up? Surely we dont want to be like claustrophobic Singapore! Or could we learn something from our southern neighbour?Think about it.Singapore may be the third densest country in the world. But because all the high-rise housing and road and rail networks are efficiently planned, it is also one of the most livable, with an abundance of green and blue spaces. In 1986, Singapore had a 2.7 million population, with 36% of the island covered in greenery. In 2007, its population grew to 4.6 million, and its greenery also increased to 47%! In an effort to make the country car-lite, the MRT stations are equipped with bike racks, and by 2030, Singapore will have more than 700km of bike lanes.Los Angeles is an example of how sprawl makes for less efficient city living, where commuters get caught in the worst traffic jams every day no matter how many highways are built.It would take a deliberate and concerted push by the policy makers for things to change. Our city developments should be transit-oriented, with a focus on walkability build proper (shaded) sidewalks and bike lanes instead of car parks. Reliable shuttle or taxi services, or even options such as Uber, would help people get around without needing to drive.It would also take a change of mindset. Malaysians love our space and our cars. We protest against any upcoming high rises in our backyard. We complain about congestion on the road while driving our single-occupancy vehicle. We are fine with change as long as we dont have to change the way we live.This love affair with space could be killing our forests. Perhaps its time to do something about that. For news, insights and latest transacted property prices in the Klang Valley, check out PropertyPricetag.com.Read the full article here.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Foreigner

Residents of Alam Prima condominium in Seksyen 22, Shah Alam, have closed their gates to foreign tenants with a huge un-welcoming sign at the lobby entrance.The condo's joint-management body (JMB) ...

Residents of Alam Prima condominium in Seksyen 22, Shah Alam, have closed their gates to foreign tenants with a huge un-welcoming sign at the lobby entrance.The condo's joint-management body (JMB) has laid down this policy since 2012, which includes vetting through all tenancy agreements to ensure no unit is rented to non-Malaysians. Presumably, the move is to avoid cultural clashes in the predominantly Malay residential building.If we allow [foreigners to stay here], were afraid of problems arising," said JMB committee member Norhayaty Ariffin. "The policy is a preventive measure."In 2013, Ridzuan Condominium in Bandar Sri Subang issued a ban on "African" tenants. A similar ban was issued in East Lake Residence, Seri Kembangan.While it may be entirely the prerogative of the JMB to lay down such house rules, is such discriminatory policies what we want to see in more developments?According to Subang Jaya State Assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, "This trend is not healthy. There are crime cases committed by local Malaysians too. I am against such discriminatory rules"Imagine your children not being able to secure accommodation or take public buses when studying abroad," she adds. "Federal government needs to control intake of students and ensure foreign labourers are placed in proper hostel by their employers."Check out the latest transacted property prices and updates at PropertyPricetag.com.

WOULD YOU BUY A HOME THERE?

Highlandtowers

Highland Towers in Ulu Klang has been synonymous with the folly of hillside developments for many, especially those old enough to remember when Block 1 collapsed in the tragic 1993 incident that cl...

Highland Towers in Ulu Klang has been synonymous with the folly of hillside developments for many, especially those old enough to remember when Block 1 collapsed in the tragic 1993 incident that claimed 48 lives.Block 2 and 3 were completely evacuated and remain unoccupied today, some 22 years later.Are the former high-end condominium towers to remain a dilapidated monument of the lives lost under crushing bricks? Or is it ever possible for it to regain a new lease of life?In a recent report by an online news portal, its ex-RA president, Dr Benjamin George, believes it's time for Highland Towers to be redeveloped ... with the necessary precautions and procedures to avoid any repeat of tragedy.The cause of the 1993 collapse had been attributed to structural failure due to land-clearing and erosion at a hillside development site behind the Towers. Water from the new construction site and the monsoon rainfall caused a landslide that rammed into, and snapped, the foundation of Block 1."In Hong Kong, there are hill slope developments and there are no problems," George said. "That is because it is done properly. There are ways to develop a hill slope properly."He said it didnt matter what was built on the land, which is still owned Arab Malaysian Bhd (AmBank), except that it would be good to see a new development there and for the remaining towers to be demolished.The neighbouring hillsides remain a popular residential area and have seen continued development despite several other landslide incidents.Have we learned enough from the past to move on into the future?Check out PropertyPricetag.com for recent transacted values of properties in Ulu Klang.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Name bangsar south

The naming of a development or an area is an important part of building a brand, according to a news portal. The right name for a project or an area could add to its prestige and raise property.Tod...

The naming of a development or an area is an important part of building a brand, according to a news portal. The right name for a project or an area could add to its prestige and raise property.Today, the number of developments being linked with prominent addresses is increasing. (This is one reason why there are so many areas called Damansara and Kiara, for example.)Some examples:* A former rubber estate in Sungai Buloh has been developed and renamed as KOTA DAMANSARA and now boasts a new MRT line in a thriving neighbourhood* A part of the sleepy Kampung Kerinchi is now known as BANGSAR SOUTH, with modern office towers and mid to high-end apartments by UOA* Taman Melawati is now home to the 62ha integrated KL EAST township by Sime Darby.* Some of the latest developments scattered in the sourthern part of Kuala Lumpur now include KL SOUTH as part of their name. These include Verve Suites KL South in Old Klang Road by Bukit Kiara Properties; Southville City @ KL South township in Bandar Baru Lembah Selatan by Mah Sing Group; and Trinity Aquata KL South in Seri Kembangan by Trinity Group.* In the northern part of KL, by a 9ha lake in the Selayang area, there is KL NORTH, ie Lakepark Residence @ KL North.* Developments in Segambut, Dutamas and Kepong tend to like branding themselves as NORTH KIARA to highlight their proximity to their high-end neighbour, Mont'Kiara. For example, Verdana @ North Kiara by BRDB Developments; BCB Bhds Concerto North Kiara; Scenaria @ North Kiara Hills by UOA Development; and Anjali North Kiara from Angsana Setia.Find out how much properties in these neighbourhoods have been sold for at PropertyPricetag.com!Source: The Malaysian Insider

5 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT PUCHONG

Puchong

5. PUCHONG WAS ONCE FILLED WITH RUBBER ESTATES, OIL PALM PLANTATIONS & TIN MINES The neighbourhoods built on former rubber estates are freehold (e.g. Kinrara, Puchong Jaya, Bandar Puteri, Pucho...

5. PUCHONG WAS ONCE FILLED WITH RUBBER ESTATES, OIL PALM PLANTATIONS & TIN MINES The neighbourhoods built on former rubber estates are freehold (e.g. Kinrara, Puchong Jaya, Bandar Puteri, Puchong Utama, Bukit Puchong), while those built on former tin-mining areas are leasehold (e.g. Taman Kinrara 1 to 5).4. PUCHONG IS GOVERNED BY 3 LOCAL COUNCILS!DBKL (5th to 7th mile); Subang Jaya Municipal Council (Kinrara to 16th mile) and Sepang Municipal Council (yang lain-lain). Most of the undeveloped areas in Puchong are located within the Sepang municipality (e.g. Bukit Puchong 2, 16 Sierra, Pulau Meranti and Taman Mas). 3. PUCHONG HAS THE MOST BANKSFormer Kinrara assemblyman Datuk Yap Pian Hon was reportedly inspired by the Hong Kong commercial districts and, together with some businessmen, brought in 29 banks to the town.2. PUCHONG'S DEVELOPMENT CATALYST: PUTRAJAYA & IOIPuchong benefited by the development of Putrajaya and Cyberjaya, which are next to it. The Damansara-Puchong highway was the first major highway to be built there, and the Ampang LRT Line Extension Project will add to its connectivity with 2 stations in Puchong. IOI Properties (part of the plantations giant IOI Group) is considered the pioneer developer, with its 374ha self-contained Bandar Puchong Jaya township in 1990, the IOI Mall in 1996, and Bandar Puteri Puchong in 2000, among others. The group still has about 40ha of land to be developed in the township.1. PUCHONG: RISING PRICES YET STILL AFFORDABLEPuchong's property sector has seen a boom due to its strategic location. The average price for selected high-rise residential properties in Puchong had increased by 35.6% to 79.2% over the past five years, yet are considered more affordable than those in Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya. Most of the properties transacted in 2014 were priced between RM300,001 and RM400,000, with 36% between RM100,000 to RM300,000.Want to know how much houses in Puchong were sold for? Check out PropertyPricetag.com.Sources: The Star, The Malaysian Insider