Premium and boutique developers will 'still thrive this year despite current market challenges, particularly the government's freeze on luxury development approvals since November last year. Trinity group managing director Datuk Neoh Soo Keat said there is still leeway for developers who are building properties priced above RM1 million.
"The government has a freeze for the approval to build properties priced above RM1 million but we understand from the Housing Minister that we are allowed to write in to appeal. For projects located in commercial and business districts like the Kuala Lumpur city centre, it is not worthwhile to build anything below RM1 million,"- he told NST Property, adding that companies developing properties priced between RM500,000 and RM1 million will not be significantly impacted by the move.
Neoh said the government is aware of the predicament that the housing market is facing currently and would give certain projects the go-aheads. He believes that the government would still want to leverage Malaysia's status as a favourite destination for foreigners to retire.
"We were awarded the most favourable retirement destination in Southeast Asia recently. This is in line with the government's policy of Malaysia My Second Home and foreign housing policy of above RM1 million. "Hence, there is still demand for houses above RM1 million... that is also something the government may want to consider," he said, after the topping-out ceremony for the company's condominium project, Trinity Aquata, recently.
Neoh believes the RM1 million curb may just be a temporary thing and all developers will be given a breathing space to build so that everyone has a chance to own a house of their choice. "We have gone through these process many times and it is just normal for developers, but we will negotiate with the government on the idea that they want to do. Having said that, for certain places and things, the government is still giving us opportunity," he said. On the strengthening of the ringgit against the US dollar, Neoh pointed out that it will benefit the country as more foreign investors will start diverting their focus and returning to Malaysia.
Meanwhile, on the progress of Trinity Aquata, located in Sungai Besi, Neoh said he expects it to be completed earlier than scheduled.
"We will try to complete it in the second or third quarter of this year," he said. Trinity Group has achieved RM355 million in sales with a 95 per cent total take-up for Trinity Aquata. Neoh said the group has also invested more than RM3 million to improve the connectivity from Trinity Aquata to Kuchai.Lama, Sungai Besi and Bandar Baru Seri Petaling. Trinity Aquata sits on a 1.5ha freehold site and comprises two 26-storey condominium blocks offering 492 units and unique water-themed fa-cilities. Neoh also said there is a plan to unveil a new project in Mont Kiara within this year.