According to Trinity Group Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Andy Khoo, the purpose of buying a property has evolved from merely for basic accommodation to having additional recreational facilities, conveniences and latest trends that signify status and lifestyle.
To the discerning purchasers, location, lifestyle stature, real estate investment and capital appreciation are some of the key considerations when they decide to buy properties. As for the developers, it boils down to location and land size to determine which development concept to pursue.
Within city centres, where land is expensive, Khoo says developers seldom have the luxury of large tracts of land (of more than 10 acres), and the developers would want to optimise the gross development value to compensate for the more expensive land cost.
"Mixed integrated boutique developments will continue and eventually become a norm, especially for projects within the city as in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
“We are likely to see two common types of integrated developments that are within the city that have become a signature of prestige in terms of design, amenities and brand (premium residences). Those in the fringes of Kuala Lumpur, such as Sungei Besi, Old Kiang Road, Seri Kembangan, Bukit Jalil and Puchong, have transport-oriented themes that offer mostly affordable and smaller residences of less than 1,000 sq ft with commercial, mid-range retail and F&B outlets.
“Value enhancement is the other key objective for the developers to pursue such project concept. The developers are very much into this trend of lifestyle integrated developments to meet current market demand of urban city living," Khoo says.
Khoo says the ambience and "feel" from features such as natural lighting, water features and natural cross ventilation are equally important in an integrated development.
"Space to unwind and enjoy a cup of coffee, place to mingle with guests such as a sky lounge are added features to incorporate the essence of a lifestyle living,” he says.
Purchasers are now more discerning and would prefer more lifestyle of health and sustainability living concepts also. In the city centre, an integrated development such as Pavilion KL that comprises a shopping mall, F&B outlets, office and residential components, is acceptable as each has its own main entrance, lobby, and multi-tier security, including lift access card to specific floors and CCTV surveillance besides having security guards patrolling the area.
"Such integrated development is in line with the concept of city living," he says. Going forward, Khoo says connectivity via LRT or MRT (in the city) would be a prime development advantage and consideration by purchasers.
Khoo points out that good central security control centre and concierge services for the residential blocks would be added steps that developers can take to enhance safety and privacy, besides separate entrance and CCTV surveillance.
“The key differentiation is delivering service and the brand promise, whereby the personnel handling the security or concierge service must be well trained, resourceful, able to communicate, and above all, is of service to the residents and for the residents' convenience. Although this is easier said than done, that is the challenge for developers to overcome and continue to strive to differentiate from the rest to live up to their branding."
Khoo says developers undertake projects after taking into consideration the location, accessibility and the traffic impact of their proposed development as it is a pre-requisite for a sustainable and marketable project. More importantly, these measures will ensure a project will command a premium value eventually upon its completion and the developer to deliver on its brand value. For small developments of less than 10 acres, traffic flow enhancement is possible.
Citing the case of Trinity Group's project, Khoo says as part of its CSR initiative, the company put up additional ramps and slip roads for its Zest Point @ Bandar Kinrara project and also connecting a "missing link" by doing up the road connection for its Z Residence project @ Bukit Jalil. This is a win-win situation for the purchasers, developer and residents, within the vicinity, through better traffic flow and property value appreciation.
Zest Point @ Bandar Kinrara by Trinity Group comprising residential and commercial components, including two LRT stations within 500m radius, have appreciated in value by more than two folds since it was launched and when it was completed. The project won a real estate award for Value Creation in 2012.
Another project by Trinity Group, The Zest Residence showed a 243% capital appreciation (from launch price of RM276,888 in 2009 to sub-sale price of RM675,000 in 2014), while the Z Residence recorded a 168% capital appreciation (from launch price of RM452,888 in 2011 to sub-sale price of RM760.000 in 2014).
The ability to position the development as a landmark destination and location would enhance the project's image and brand value. As such, the developer may choose to incorporate a branded or reputable hotel into its overall development to • complement, if not enhance, the branding of the project that will translate to premium value and capital appreciation.
On concerns of shortcoming of security and exclusivity in terms of main lobby and sharing of lift access, Khoo says: "Developers more often, would have separate entrance for each of these components. Ideally, where possible there should be a separate drop off, porte cochere for each of the components." Given the appetite for new lifestyle trends, it will be a win-win situation for both the property buyers and the developers if holistic project planning, designing and building initiatives are adopted to ensure more sustainable build environment for all to appreciate.