The high-end market in KL just got higher



ABOUT a year ago, the media highlighted the prices of some of Kuala Lumpur’s signature residences. At some of these launches, prices from RM1,650 per sq ft to RM2,500 per sq ft were bandied about without so much as batting an eyelid. Today, prices have moved up to about RM2,500 per sq ft to RM3,200 per sq ft.

Last week, Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) launched The Ritz-Carlton Residences. BCorp declined to say how the market responded to its May 10 launch.

By any measure, the Petronas Twin Towers locality continues to offer some of Kuala Lumpur’s most upmarket residentials despite the current weak market condition since the global financial crisis in 2008.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences located at the Jalan Sultan Ismail-Jalan Ampang intersection is priced at an average RM2,500 per sq ft.

The first signature residences to be launched in Kuala Lumpur was Banyan Tree Signature Residences by Datuk Desmond Lim of the Malton group a few years ago in his private capacity. This project will be linked to Pavilion KL mall. All the units are sold and the project will be ready at the end of this year.

Possibly among the most notable of these branded residences will be The Four Seasons Place next to the Petronas Twin Towers by Venus Assets Sdn Bhd. This is due, to a large degree, to the branding and the people behind it. It is about 70%-80% sold.

Venus Assets is controlled by Ipoh-born Singapore tycoon Ong Beng Seng, businessman Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir and the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah. The company’s director, Datuk David Ban, also has a stake in the development. The Four Seasons Place is scheduled to be completed next year.

At these launches, two questions are inevitable. What is a signature or branded residence? How different is it from a normal luxurious condominium, the likes of those in the KLCC vicinity?

Both questions are invariably answered by another question.

“Will you be able to request for an omelette at 3am?” asked Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir when The Four Seasons entered the market.

At The Ritz-Carlton Residences media preview last week, BCorp wholly-owned Wangsa Tegap Sdn Bhd director Datuk Francis Ng asked: “Will you be able to get a panadol delivered at 2am?” Ng is Berjaya Land Bhd chief executive officer. Wangsa Tegap is developing Ritz-Carlton Residences.

Both have summed up the single factor common in these segment of the luxurious housing market – 24-hour service.

Says a industrial source promoting these units: “We serve a very exclusive clientele. Those who buy into this have arrived, they are savvy travellers.”

They also have loads of cash. Despite the rather weak sentiment in today’s property market, this group of buyers do not have the herd mentality.

Ng says liquidity will not be an issue. “Next year, it may be RM3,500 per sq ft,” he quipped.

Ng says house buyers must not discount two important factors – inflation and the anticipated Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“With today’s inflation, cost will only go up. Electricity tariffs and raw materials have gone up. So property prices will not come down.”

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