It all goes back to the numbers once again. Only ten years ago, the thought of owning a house in Seri Kembangan, Kajang or Bangi was almost unthinkable as it was considered too far, unpractical and very difficult to commute to and from. During those times, Cyberjaya too was considered not viable.
Nowadays though, everyone seems to be gravitating towards the Southern corridor of growth, as it were – “pushed away” from Kuala Lumpur and Greater KL spurned by the escalating high cost of housing and living in the city centre.
Kuala Lumpur is becoming a smart city. And, out of the six pillars of a smart city, four points deal directly with the daily issues of live revolving around the community or people, mobility, lifestyle and also the environment.
We will talk about these four pillars in a minute but first, let’s take a look at the two remaining issues – that of governance and the economy. A decent economic performance in Malaysia has allowed the Government to the nation moving further towards the set target of Wawasan 2020 in the last five years. During this time, an impressive number of new infrastructures were undertaken such as the extension of two LRT (light rail transit) lines and two new MRT (mass rapid transit) lines.
Once completed, these transportation systems will allow people to commute easily from their respective suburban living areas to their various working places.
Mobility and connectivity are two of the most important pillars for all developed and developing countries and Malaysia, with its 67% population below the age of 39 years, needs a proper network of public transportation and fast connectivity.
These public works which are being constructed have been easing the decision that many have had to make to move towards the outskirts of the big city.
We all live in a fast moving society which results in stress and tension – almost above the limit that one can take.
Therefore, when it comes to the decision of purchasing a new house, besides the cost factor which is definitely pushing everybody away from the developed central areas, the existence of a healthy environment that “suburban” developments are able to offer which include low density, minimal pollution and abundant green townships remain enticing. In other words, a much better environment as compared to the central developed areas is key points in new townships that are located further away from the city centre.
The Malaysian rakyat may voice out their concern that no affordable houses are available but sometime it’s only matter of looking a bit further.
Refer to Table 3. Seri Kembangan, Kajang, Bangi and the up and coming Semenyih are nowadays and will be even more in future well-connected with the beating heart of the Capital City and surely offer quality lifestyles at very affordable prices.
Land cost in these areas has not yet touched the prohibitive values of Kuala Lumpur. Therefore, this allows developers to offer low-density residential projects to those who are willing to travel a bit further in exchange for a larger house in a much cleaner and less polluted environment.
Based on the two maps above, kindly provided by Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd, it is very easy to see how the “Southern push” has come about as a result of higher future connectivity. This is why so many developers today are rushing to build up their land bank in the southern corridor where the land price per sq ft of below RM30 will surely allow them to offer highly livable townships.
Semenyih South where United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand Bhd) is now opening for registration at unbelievable prices, below RM350,000, single and double storey terrace link homes in a new township and Bandar Seri Putra, where the same developer has started developing a township almost 20 years ago, are now in the radar of prospective purchasers looking for 1,000 sq ft homes below the threshold of RM500,000. Indeed, many more developers have been appearing on the stage but most of them have failed the affordable target as their prices compared to the latest are far above the RM500,000 mark!
All the prominent developers as UMLand Bhd is are planning future residences and mixed use developments for the up-and-coming 10 million population, envisioned to blossom in Greater Klang Valley, which will generate, as per the table on the left, a huge demand for new dwellings.
In essence, Kajang, Bangi and Semenyih are going to become more and more popular as well as highly connected and livable areas for future generations.
Hopefully, responsible developers will look into the issue of livability and really keep the density of their new townships at very low levels to ensure prosperous communities can thrive in the future.
A smart city has to be built piece by piece, through smart townships.
Sources: Napic Property market Report, Ho Chin Soon Research, Spad, Prasarana and MMC-Gamuda.
REI Group of Companies CEO and co-founder Dr. Daniele Gambero gives presentations on the property market and welcomes feedback at email@example.com.