Ipoh news by Nikkei Asia


Ipoh news by Nikkei Asia

Art fuels Ipoh’s Old Town revival

KATE MAYBERRY, Contributing writer

A historic building reflected in the window of one of Dexter Song’s cafes (Photo by Kate Mayberry)

IPOH, Malaysia — It is Sunday morning in Ipoh and the city’s Old Town is abuzz. Families chat over breakfast in the traditional coffee shops — or kopitiam — for which the city is renowned, traffic crowds the roads as drivers search for elusive parking spaces and visitors snap photos against a backdrop of crumbling colonial-era buildings.

     At the center of it all is Kong Heng Square, a scruffy collection of largely 19th century buildings refashioned by a group of architects and entrepreneurs into a contemporary guesthouse, a string of cafes and a museum.

     Dexter Song returned from Australia to open a cafe in the development three years ago. “We didn’t realize it would grow like a wildfire,” he said, sitting at a table in a corner of one of the three cafes he now runs, as a nearby group of young Malaysians enjoy a lively discussion over lattes and fruit juices. “What I like about Ipoh is that it’s very communal. Everyone collaborates.”

     For decades a fading stopover on the way between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Ipoh is coming back to life. A fast train to Malaysia’s capital, more flights and a growing appreciation of the value of heritage have fueled investment in the city that built — and lost — an earlier fortune on tin. Later this year, Ipoh will host its first arts festival, designed to take advantage of the city’s unique history and the limestone outcrops that surround it.

A satay man at Kong Heng (Photo by Kate Mayberry)

     “There are a lot of things happening in Ipoh,” said Law Siak Hong, a retired designer who is now vice president of the Perak Heritage Society. “Kong Heng gave others the confidence to think they could do something, too. Anything that brings life to the city must be good.”

A new kind of energy

The posters for The Other Festival, organised by Kuala Lumpur-based group Kakiseni, have already been plastered on walls around the Old Town. “Ipoh used to be that secret we didn’t want to share,” said Low Ngai Yuen, who heads Kakiseni and has family in the town. “It has one of the most exposed generations of young people — going outside to the rest of the world. But then they discover they miss home so they come back to Ipoh. They are bringing a new kind of energy. You cannot not feel it.”

     Old cafes, kitchens, tumbledown homes and even the limestone karst formations that circle the city will be used as venues and through the shows and exhibition visitors will be encouraged to explore the charms of Malaysia’s fourth biggest city.

     Kakiseni is working on the project with local collective, Projek Rabak, which brings together about 80 local writers, poets, artists and musicians. Rabak (slang for ‘sloppy’ or ‘messy’ in Malay) has its own creative space in Ipoh, the walls covered in murals and a drum kit ready for its regular gigs. “Ipoh used to be known for its indie rock scene,” said Mohd Jayzuan, a musician who heads the collective and organized a minifestival back in January. “But with Rabak we’re seeing film, poetry, painters and visual artists coming together. It serves as a platform for these underground artists to explore.”

     In colonial days, the city was as wealthy as Singapore. Even today, it retains the grand civic buildings of the era — the railway station, law courts and city hall — all designed to symbolize the wealth and authority of the British in what was then Malaya. Many of the mansions and shophouses built by those who made their fortune in the tin rush also remain, albeit in varying stages of dilapidation.

“Constant challenge”

For decades, Han Chin Pet Soo was the home of the Hakka Miners’ Club — a place for the mining tycoons to smoke opium, gamble, entertain and get away from their wives. But by the 21st century, membership had dwindled and termites were eating their way through the woodwork. Concerned the building would be gutted or end up as another hipster cafe, a local philanthropist took on the lease and spent 300,000 ringgit ($83,000) to restore the building. More than 1,000 people have visited the new Hakka Club since it opened as a museum in February and there are now plans to restore the neighboring building as well.

     Retired British naval commander Ian Anderson, who has lived in Ipoh for 16 years, masterminded the project. He worries about the lack of protection for heritage buildings — the Royal Ipoh Club which dates from 1895 was only this month gazetted under Malaysia’s national heritage act — and is skeptical about the city’s commitment to preserving its historic architecture. “I live in hope that a real renaissance can take place,” he said.

     There are guidelines relating to the maintenance of pre-war facades, but unlike George Town and Melaka, which together secured a Unesco World Heritage listing in 2008, the preservation of Ipoh depends largely on property owners and the commitment of the local authorities. Local estate agent Gladwin Agilan, who specializes in Old Town properties, describes it as a “constant challenge.”

Panglima Lane at the centre of historic Ipoh (Photo by Kate Mayberry)

     Critics point to Panglima Lane, a pedestrian thoroughfare infamous as the neighborhood for the mistresses of the wealthy tycoons and the heart of the Old Town. Some of the shophouses have been renovated, but others appear abandoned — overgrown with trees and bushes. Souvenir shops are edging out more traditional businesses. The prices of Ipoh’s historic shophouses have more than doubled in the past five years according to Agilan, but remain well below similar-era buildings in Penang.

     In Kong Heng, the old buildings retain their facades, including the peeling paint and signboards, while serving staff continue to dish out bowls of noodles and plates of freshly-grilled satay to customers, as they have done for decades. Huge trees and vines that have grown into the brickwork over generations tumble across the walkways; a perfect Instagram backdrop for the younger generation.

     Here the old Ipoh sits alongside the new in a combination that appeals not only to visitors, but to many residents; a development that looks to the future, but has its roots in the city’s colourful past.

     “We want to explore new things,” says Rabak’s Mohd Jayzuan. “But we still want to hang out at the old kopitiam, the old indie HQ. So long as we don’t change the essence of Ipoh.”

Ipoh,Perak property news by iproperty

Ipoh,Perak property news by Iproperty

Ipoh,Perak property news

Ipoh Heritage Buildings


Old-school style: Refurbished heritage properties in Jalan Lau Ek Ching in Ipoh. One is for sale at RM2mil.
Old-school style: Refurbished heritage properties in Jalan Lau Ek Ching in Ipoh. One is for sale at RM2mil.

What price is one willing to pay to own a piece of history?
According to valuation surveyor and property consultant Choo Ah Sit, sources have revealed that the former OCBC Bank building on Lorong Hang Jebat in Malacca has been attracting attention from foreign buyers. Some Singaporeans are said to have offered between RM22mil and RM25mil for the property.
However, since foreign buyers are required to obtain approval from the state’s Foreign Investment Committee, which can be a time-consuming process, the owners have offered the early mordernist style building to a local company for RM17.5mil.
The total land area for the five lots covers some 7,739 sq ft with a 3½-storey building with a total built-up area of about 23,500sq ft. Crunching the numbers, if the offer of RM17.5mil goes through, the price of the property works out to RM2,261 per sq ft.
“With that kind of money, you can construct a new 15-storey building, but not in the core zone of the Unesco heritage site, of course,” Choo said.
Having observed the property market in Malacca for the last 33 years, Choo’s honest assessment of the market is, in his own words, “crazy”.
“The current trend now is, ‘You like, you pay. Don’t ask about the price’,” Choo declared.
From a map showing the Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock-Jalan Hang Jebat area (famously known as the Jonker Street area) and its immediate lanes, there are no less than 20 properties available for sale, but there are few signboards to indicate the owners’ intentions.
“In some cases, someone who has taken a fancy to a building will simply ask around for the owner’s contact. Surprisingly, word spreads fast. This is how some transactions are concluded,” revealed Choo.
The steep jump in prices, said Choo, came in tandem with the declaration of the area as a Unesco heritage site.
“From the 1970s to the 1990s, there was no interest in these buildings. One was because of the Rent Control Act that saw rental rates for buildings built before World War II being fixed at RM100 to RM200 per month. The returns were not enough to motivate owners to perform the necessary maintenance, resulting in some of these structures falling into a sorry state of disrepair. Only when the Act was abolished and the free market allowed to take over, did prices start to move upwards by anywhere between 30% and 50%,” Choo said.
For an idea of how much investors are expected to fork out at current market prices, Choo revealed that asking property prices in the heritage zone in Malacca can start from RM600psf to as high as RM1,600psf, depending on location factors such as accessibility and traffic flow.
Choo cites three interesting cases.
One property located along Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock made a record sale of RM1,221psf while prices for two single-storey shop houses in Jalan Hang Kasturi appreciated from RM980,000 to RM1.75mil in a short span of nine months.
Choo surmised this may be caused by the property changing hands over a short period of time. He also does not rule out factors such as speculation and the undervaluing of property.
Another plum lot is a two-storey pre-war building occupying 1,717sq ft on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock that is asking RM2.8mil or RM1,630psf.
“The high prices are mainly due to a fixed supply and it will keep rising because of this. Where foreign buyers are involved, it may have something to do with the prestige of owning a piece of property in a Unesco heritage site. The other thing is our favourable exchange rate,” said Choo of the dramatic prices.
Over in Penang’s Georgetown, which received the Unesco heritage designation at the same time as Malacca, Jennifer Yeoh, 47, a real estate agent for the past five years, said the appreciation for old buildings had been foreseen by some businessmen who transformed these premises into restaurants, hotels and retail outlets as early as a decade ago.
Case in point is Gurney Paragon on Gurney Drive. Standing together with the brand new mall is the 88-year-old St Joseph’s Novitiate.
In 2004, the 10-acre parcel of land was sold to Hunza Properties for RM97.86mil, or roughly RM250psf back then.
Today’s prices have, of course, risen significantly.
In Yeoh’s listings, for example, there is a row of seven units on Lebuh Clark each occupying 650sq ft going at RM1.2mil a unit or RM1,846psf. Over on Jalan Irving, a two-storey bungalow with a built-up area of 3,964sq ft is going for an asking price of RM4.5mil or RM1,135psf. On Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai), the owner of a two-storey shop house covering an area of 4,475sq ft has put the property up for sale at RM1,005psf.
“The trend is not to buy them singly but to purchase maybe a row of seven units at a time so that bigger commercial projects can take place,” says Yeoh.
She reckons buyers in this category are also antique appreciators in a way. In some of Yeoh’s listings, there is still old furniture from the post-World War II era inside.
Over in Ipoh, head of business development for Oriental Realty, Gladwin Agilan said the interest in pre-war and heritage buildings started in 2008 when a group of local businessmen began buying properties on Jalan Raja Ekram, Jalan Lau Ek Ching and Lorong Panglima and converting them into watering holes and eateries.
History, said Agilan, 37, was the main selling point. He cites Lorong Panglima as an example.
“In the past, this was known as Concubine Lane, formerly a red light area. Tin miners were said to keep their mistresses there, away from the public eye, in these very houses. Over time, international media and local historians played a part to stoke interest in the area. With the influx of visitors who have found the architecture and nostalgia an ideal spot for wedding photography, local authorities were prompted to repair infrastructure like drainage and other utilities,” Agilan said.
Over 10 years, Agilan has seen property prices for pre-war buildings in Ipoh starting from as low as RM150,000 to RM180,000 and appreciating to a current price of RM550,000 to RM600,000.
“In our records, the last transaction for a pre-war building was at RM950,000. Today, offers have reached RM1.1mil,” he said.
In his current listings, a refurbished two-storey pre-war building measuring about 900sq ft on Panglima Lane is going for an asking price of RM800,000, which works out to an auspicious RM888psf.
The first floor is already tenanted, but the upper floor can be adapted into a homestay. Over in Jalan Lau Ek Ching, where the famed Bricks and Barrels watering hole is located, the current asking price for any one of the refurbished buildings covering 1,900sq ft on this row is RM2mil, about RM1,052psf.
Agilan explained the intention of most owners is not to restore but adaptive reuse. First on the agenda is the electrical rewiring, plumbing, roofing and flooring.
Walls are usually in the form of cement skreed and if the original floors are of timber, these will usually be replaced with double volume metal decks for safety and functionality. Renovation costs for such projects are usually in the range of RM100,000 to RM150,000.
According to Agilan, Ipoh is a veritable trove for heritage building hunters as there are no less than 2,000 units over 80 to 100 years old scattered in seven main areas.
The buildings can be found on Jalan Sultan Iskandar, Jalan Sultan Yusuf, Jalan Silang, Jalan Bandar Timah, Jalan Othman Talib, Jalan Bijih Timah and the two streets mentioned earlier.
However, Agilan reckons the chance to own a property in this market segment requires a lot of conviction.
“The owners really have a lot of holding power. There are cases where offers have had to wait between six months to a year before getting a reply. The oft-received response I always get from the owners is ‘Not now’ when it comes to the question of selling their property. Understandably so, as some of them are ancestral homes,” said Agilan.
But mindsets, observed Agilan, are slowly changing with the younger generation.
“In the 1980s, during the lull in tin prices, many moved to Kuala Lumpur. Back then, these properties had not reached their full worth yet as buyers did not know what to do with them.
“However, the economic revival in Ipoh has changed things and given people new ideas so this is a very good time to sell, and buy,” concluded Agilan.

The Star - 23rd November 2013

Monday September 24, 2012


In Ipoh property boom prices up more than 30%, on par with KL and Penang


IPOH: The prices of properties in Ipoh have skyrocketed in prime locations to be almost on par with those in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
“Ipoh is now bustling with activities. There is no sign of prices coming down,” said Oriental Realty agent Gladwin Agilan.
Gladwin said the demand was not only for new developments but in the secondary market.
<B>Gladwin:</B> ‘There is no sign of prices coming down.’Gladwin: ‘There is no sign of prices coming down.’
Among the factors that have contribute to the upward trend in the demand for properties were better transport facilities including direct flights to Singapore, the electric train service, the state being an education hub and a high number of foreign companies investing in the state.
Condominiums or high-rise apartments, once considered unprofitable, are now in demand as people look for amenities such as swimming pools, gymnasium, and restaurants at their doorsteps.
The prices of properties in Canning Gardens have been increasing by 10% annually for the past three years.
He said people chose to own properties in the area due to its location, which is near the city, and because of its freehold status.
Gladwin, who is the head of the sales division, said the latest transaction showed the price of land was RM144 per sq ft for a single-storey semi-detached house.
“Surprisingly these houses are purchased by Perakians who are in their late 30s to mid-40s.
“Many of them have returned to their hometown due to better job opportunities.
“Foreign companies such as Vale iron ore distribution centre in Teluk Rubiah have also created demand,” he said.
The type of residential units being sought after has also changed. There is demand for condominiums, gated-and-guarded landed properties as well as properties that have easy access to amenities.
One of the many new developments in Ipoh – The Enclave along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah is sought after.One of the many new developments in Ipoh – The Enclave along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah is sought after.
Gladwin said new developments such as the Haven Lakeside Residences in Tambun, Meru Hills in Meru Valley and The Enclave along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Somerset at Thompson off Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Casa Bintang near the Ipoh Swimming Club in Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, were gaining popularity.
He added that developments were now taking place in the outskirts such as Klebang, Kledang, Pasir Putih and Sunway in Tambun.
Gladwin said the perception of owning a property in Ipoh, and not being able to rent out was incorrect as the demand for rented housing was overwhelming especially in Meru Valley and the Sunway area.
“Foreigners working in the state prefer to stay in bungalows or condos in such serene areas.
“It offers a higher yield of between 7% and 10%, which is considered good, as only commercial properties offer such attractive returns,” he added.
He said besides Ipoh, the next upcoming market is Manjung, located about 90km from the city. Other potential areas for development included Lumut, Teluk Batik and Pangkor.
Another real estate agent P.Ranganathan agreed that the prices of properties were going up in certain parts of the city.
He said the prices of property had increased by up to 30% in the last three years.
“Those that have made up their mind to purchase properties in the city should do so fast as the prices of building materials are increasing.
“With steel bars and other building materials on the rise, the prices of properties are also expected to increase,” he added.
Datuk Bandar Datuk Roshidi Hashim said the skyline of Ipoh would change by 2014.
He said this was visible from the rapid development that was taking shape in the city.
“We are expecting more development to take place in the city,” he said.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

(The Star) Property prices in laggard Perak not expected to drop

PRICES of properties are not expected to drop in Perak this year despite being a laggard in the past years.
Experts in the field, however, feel there is potential for a 30% increase in prices in the next few years.
Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda) Perak branch chairman Datuk Francis Lee says Perak property prices have been lagging, in particularly in Ipoh.
He says that in the past two years there has been a 30% hike in property prices, and foresees an additional 30% increase in the next few years.
Lee says this will bring property prices in Perak closer to those of urbanised states in Peninsular Malaysia.
“With the current cost of land and increasing cost of housing delivery, it is not possible for housing developers to deliver at current pricing,” he says.
Referring to the Property Market Report 2011 by the Finance Ministry, Lee says the average transacted price for housing properties in Perak in 2011 (in both the primary and secondary markets) was at RM122,275.
He says Perak was ranked 10th, ahead of Perlis, Terengganu and Kelantan.
“Although transacted housing property prices had increased by 29% from 2010 to 2011 (from RM94,757,000 to RM122,275,000) the prices of houses in Perak are still lagging.
“The prices are expected to only invariably move up in the coming years,” he adds.
Lee says the development of brownfield areas within the metropolis of Ipoh has provided a fast-changing skyline in the city.
He hopes that the “Special Area Plan” by the Ipoh City Council will provide incentives for the redevelopment of the brownfield areas.
“The potential growth areas in Ipoh are Meru, Simpang Pulai, Pengkalan, Lahat, Tambun and Klebang,” he says.
Oriental Realty agent Gladwin Agilan says he does not foresee a drop in prices as lately a couple of new developments have been launched in Ipoh.
He says these are mainly condominiums with initial prices of RM430 per sq ft and above.
“The trend will have an effect on landed properties in the vicinity, and also set a yardstick on future prices.
“The average condominium prices in Ipoh is between RM250 and RM320 per sq ft, with the exception of luxury condos launched last year,” he adds.
Gladwin, who is the head of the sales division, says most of the purchasers in Ipoh are up-graders or second homeowners, and not speculators.
He says there is a healthy demand for homes that fit the criteria of modern families, such as gated and guarded communities, clubhouse and other innovative features.
“For example the Le Green three-storey link homes, launched recently by Energiser Properties Sdn Bhd, is probably the first link-home in the country equipped with a private lift,” he adds.
Gladwin says new condominium projects within the city limits are scarce.
“However developers are filling the void with new projects catering to such needs.
“For example, the upcoming Emerald Capital project near Jusco Kinta City in Ipoh Garden is expected to be linked with shops and retail outlets,” he adds.
He adds that more residential areas, malls, schools and other public amenities are being built north of Ipoh between Tasek and Chemor.
This, he says, seems to be an attractive option for new homeowners and those seeking to upgrade to better locations.
“The other current popular areas are Meru Raya, which has the infrastructure and amenities of a modern city, as it's earmarked as a state administrative centre,” he adds.
Source: The Star

Malaysian Business Magazine

A Glitter in the forgotten city.

Malaysian Business

 | May 01, 2011 | Copyright
Cheah Chor Sooi stumbles upon Ipoh as a value-for-money real estate prospect
Mention Ipoh to any seasoned real estate investor and the state capital of Perak is likely to be perceived as a 'forbidden city', no thanks to the snail-pace appreciation in investment value compared to neighbouring cities, notably Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
But that perception may no longer be valid. Developers are now stepping up a gear by delivering products that the market was longing to have for ages. Good value developments such as The Haven, The Enclave, Parklane @ Bandar Baru Sri Klebang, Meru Valley Resort, Sunway City Ipoh, Racing Circle and The Thompson are now catering to the needs of today's discerning buyers/investors.
'Products that are churned out recently are innovative, current and up to expectations of a well-travelled individual,' Gladwin Agilan, Sales Director and Senior Negotiator at D. Henry Valuers Realtor, tells Malaysian Business.
'Not only has such positive development resulted in a better pick up rate, it has enabled developers to command premium prices,' adds Agilan.
A case in point are bungalow lots at the Meru Valley Resort, which are currently trading at RM38 per sq ft at average and RM50 per sq ft at maximum. Spawned within an award-winning 220-hectare golf resort that features a 27-hole golf course, prices of the lots are slowly inching their way to RM60 per sq ft over a year or two (rental yield is currently in the 8% to 10% range).
With the emergence of the Electric Train Services (ETS) that connects Seremban/KL to Ipoh, (the service will eventually be extended to Thailand and Singapore) and a more active airport (Sultan Azlan Shah Airport), Ipoh seems to have inched closer to the Federal capital in terms of distance.
These aside, there are signs that Ipoh is moving towards becoming a full-fledge city with the mushrooming of retail and F&B (food and beverage) outlets, affordable healthcare as well as reputable schools and colleges that may entice Ipohites who are outstation or overseas to return to their hometown.
Peter Chan, Co-Principal of The Haven Sdn Bhd, developer of Perak's first luxury condominium, opines that Ipoh is gaining prominence as a property investment destination for three reasons:
* Property prices in KL and Penang have spiralled substantially in the past years,
* Density and traffic in both KL and Penang are at near untenable levels, and
* Land scarcity has led to an oversupply of high-rise dwellings in both cities.
'Beyond that, the city boasts affordable living cost, which can be attributed to the lower cost of property ownership and definitely, for gastronomic enthusiasts, good food,' Chan points out.
Current Market
In the words of Datuk Francis Lee Yew Hean, Chairman of the Perak branch Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (REHDA), there is virtually no speculative buying of residential properties in Perak on account of the relatively low rental yield and the low capital appreciation potential.
From the perspective of affordability, anyone with a gainful employment is a potential purchaser. Not only are properties in Ipoh relatively cheap by cities comparison within Malaysia, they have a lot of upside potential by way of capital appreciation over the longer term.
Today, the demand for residential properties in Ipoh is predominantly based on effective demand for home ownership. 'However there is a small percentage of investment buying that is premised on the laggard pricing of residential properties in Ipoh when contrasted with prices at other urbanised cities in Malaysia,' asserts Lee.
In the residential marketplace, Ipoh offers various types of properties that cater for the varying income categories of house buyers. They can be in the form of first home ownership or house upgraders and the property purchase can vary from low-cost, low-medium cost, medium-cost to higher end housing.
A remarkable progress is that the city has caught up with development of high-rise residential units although condominium living is still confined to a niche market sector and represents less than 2% of total residential housing stock and annual deliveries.
In a nutshell, the price of vacant residential land in Ipoh ranges from about RM90.00 per sq ft for bungalow lots to a low of about RM15.00 per sq ft pending on location. Land with restriction of interest on title such as those for low-cost or medium low-cost housing fetches an even lower pricing.
'The average price of a double storey terrace residential house in Ipoh currently is about RM240,000,' rationalises Lee.
Economic reality
Following the tin crisis of October 1985, which saw tin prices tumble from RM32,000 per tonne in the late 1970s to less than RM17,000 per tonne, and its concurrent adverse effect on the economy of Perak, there was insufficient job opportunities for those coming into gainful employment.
Such phenomenon has compelled a percentage of forced regional migration during this period, particularly to the Klang Valley and Penang. But given that a thriving property industry is inevitably linked to economic opportunities, a concerted effort by both the public and private sectors to revive Ipoh's past glory as a prosperous tin mining town is perhaps the best action plan to correct the current perception of Ipoh as a sleepy hollow.
Free from the hustle and bustle of city living, Ipoh has every potential to become medical tourism and educational hubs provided serious thoughts are given to proper planning. In recent times, new higher learning institutions have sprung up and parents can now educate their children locally, unlike say five years ago when the kids had to be sent packing to KL or Penang.
Ipoh's potential as a tourism hotspot is obviously second to none given the existence of many historical sites and natural attractions that have not been fully explored - the limestone caves, the waterfalls, the parks, the forest, the hills and the (pomelo) orchards - all of which need to be marketed more effectively and cohesively.
Moreover, with its slow pace of life, less hectic living conditions and minimal traffic congestion, Ipoh also has every potential to excel as a choice venue for a retirement home or in wooing participants of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.
In this regard, authorities should also make changes to the ruling that foreigners can only be allowed to purchase properties above RM500,000. As a linked home in a resort fetches around RM300,000 to RM380,000, such ruling can be deemed as a deterrent.
'Lacking in publicity, the relevant authorities should campaign Ipoh's strengths which comprise scenic hills, wonderful food and low-cost but high value living conditions,' stresses D. Henry Valuers Realtor's Agilan.
'More so, the State Government should incorporate representatives made up of property developers to showcase developments in Ipoh side-by-side the state's tourism allure when campaigning abroad.'
Take-up rate
Perak has a population of 2.26 million as at 2010, according to the Preliminary Count Report 2010 of the Population and Housing Census Malaysia. For the period 2000 to 2010, the state had a population growth rate of 1.35%, which is low if compared with the national average annual population growth rate of 2.17% for the corresponding period. According to Property Market Report by the Valuation and Property Services Department of the Finance Ministry, the total annual deliveries of residential properties for Perak for the years of 2007, 2008 and 2009 stood at 9,474 units, 6,412 units and 8,496 units respectively.
During those periods, the total number of residential property transactions in the state - including both the primary and secondary market - averaged at about 22,000 units per annum with a gross value of about RM2 billion per annum. In both units and value terms, the bulk of the annualised transactions were in the RM50,000 to RM250,000 category (low-cost, low-medium cost and medium-cost housing segments).
Although official figures for 2010 have yet to be released, REHDA Perak expects residential housing deliveries for 2010 to be in the region of 11,000 units. For 2011, it sees a surge in confidence by both the housing developers and purchasers, and this will be reflected by way of an increasing delivery and total transactions in the primary market.
'We would anticipate total deliveries into Perak for 2011 to be in the region of 12,000 units,' REHDA Perak's Lee points out. While Perak has an area of 21,035 sq km and a population density of only 107 people per sq km, it is wrong to surmise there from that Ipoh is therefore land abundant.
In the present six km developmental radius around Ipoh, there is very little land available for housing development. This boundary limit is now being extended to an eight to nine km radius.
The Haven
A luxury eco condo-tel, The Haven is fast changing the mindset of Ipohites about high-rise living. Due for completion in 2013, the RM250 million lakeside development boasts three blocks of 26-storey luxury condominiums (497 units).
Developed by The Haven Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Superboom Projects Sdn Bhd, The Haven is poised for completion in 2013. The size of the units range from 968 sq ft to 5,350 sq ft and are priced from RM389,500 to RM2.32 million.
MontBleu Residence
Sunway City Bhd's maiden townhouse development in Ipoh, MontBleu Residence comprises 220 units of well-planned and modern three-storey townhouses that are surrounded by lush greenery with a 25-ft wide backyard garden.
Spanning over 4.4-ha with standard intermediate built-up from 1,889 sq ft to 2,066 sq ft, the projects boasts a Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM93 million. Selling prices started from RM272 per sq ft (RM399,000/Nett Floor Area of 1,462.5 sq ft) back in September 2010 for the first phase which comprised of 56 units.
The second phase of 42 units were released to the market in January 2011 at RM299 per sq ft (RM437,800/NFA of 1,462.5 sq ft). The development is due for completion in September 2013.
Hill Top Residences
Meru Valley Resort's premium series of modern resort homes comes with three designs of detached homes with built-ups starting from 3,951 sq ft and land size from 6,000 sq ft.
Named Asia Pacific's Best Golf Development 2008, the selling price of the properties ranges from RM988,000 to RM1.2 million. This RM25 million development has its own guardhouse with patrolling security for its 32 homes.
Bandar Seri Botani
Bandar Seri Botani is the most ambitious property development by Taiko Group of Companies. Sprawling over 480 ha of former plantation land, this fully integrated township development boasts a GDV of RM1.5 billion with 28 phases already launched to date.
Discerning house buyers can choose from a dazzling selection of over 6,000 units of bungalows, semi-detached houses, townhouses and link homes, most of which are located amid lush and green landscaped gardens.
Bandar Universiti Seri Iskandar (BUSI)
Located about 45 minutes away from Ipoh, the 335.2 ha township is centrally located in the heart of Perak's new administrative and educational corridor. This mixed development project encompasses double storey shop offices, double storey terrace houses, link homes and double storey semi-detached house priced from RM173,000 upwards.
Developed by Agro-Mod Industries Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Hua Yang Bhd, BUSI is located within close proximity to educational hubs such as University Teknologi Petronas (UTP), University Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Kolej Professional MARA and the Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN).