What are the challenges you are currently facing in the market?
As many of you have heard time and time again, we are currently facing a glut in the property market. However, I believe that this is only a “perceived glut” as the demand for quality, affordable homes has never truly been diminished, as evident from the property overhang statistics. From what I can see, there isn’t a lack of demand for homes. Instead, there is a lack of the right product for the right customers. Home affordability is definitely one of the key issues here in the market. However, for MahSing specifically, I would say that we are performing quite well despite the market response.
We are currently still hitting our salestargets, and the HOC 2019 campaign has reported good bookings. I believe that this can be attributed to our research team that took the time and effort to understand the market needs and wants, and for us to deliver the correct product to the market.
On top of that, we have sufficient resources to prepare for any unexpected problems that may arise, or tackle any opportunities that come our way. I believe that this is good news to our shareholders who have placed their faith in this company.
You did mention about home affordability. Care to share more insights?
When they speak of affordability, they are only thinking in terms of price and quantity. A RM350,000 condominium in Klang Valley is “affordable” in terms of price alone, but it may be located in an undesired location without proper access to public transportation.
The frequently less mentioned aspect is the value for money you get out of the property. Affordable homes do not have to be featureless. They can be well designed, have excellent facilities, with the tradeoff being needing to put up with a certain level of density, a tradeoff many buyers are willing to make. This is the basics of economics of scale.
We can easily duplicate design themes, pricing and structures of our projects, which we pay very close attention to. We are also careful to pay contractors on time accordingly and adequately, so they can focus on delivering great workmanship. I am proud to say that we have been given a four-star rating on the CIDB (Construction Industry Development Board), which are only given to developers which comply to the best industry practices and a display of proficiency in terms of project management and technicalities. At the end of the day, our main contractors and subcontractors are in the same boat as us as well. It is important to take good care of them, as they are the central pillar of all property development projects.
What do you foresee happening in the market in the near future, and how will you prepare for it?
I believe that the perceived glut in the property market will continue for some time. Do note that NAPIC (National Property Information Centre) will only show you the general numbers, and unsold properties in rural locations without proper access will inflate the statistics. The market is in demand for affordable housing with easy access to public transport systems. As for MahSing, I have no plans for significantly changing our corporate directives and direction. We are not launching units by the thousands, like the year 2011, where we launched 3000 units in Bangi, and all of them got snapped up in short order. Nowadays, we are launching units in the hundreds at a time, and we have strict internal guidelines to regulate the sales launchings as well. For high rise properties, we will only release a few floors at a time to gauge the market
What would you say is MahSing’s most interesting and creative project?
For the record, I would like to state that I pay close attention to every project under our wing, so I wouldn’t say that any project is my “favourite” per se. However, for the most interesting project we have done so far, I would no doubt select Icon Residence, located in Mont Kiara.
The inspiration behind Icon Residence is actually from the city layout planning of Santorini in Greece. If you can see from the photos, these houses look like little boxes placed on the hill, and the way they design it, it is as if every unit is a corner unit. I believed that we could emulate this design concept and bring it here to Malaysia.
It was no doubt a challenging task to replicate such a concept on a high-rise property, but we did deliver. Every unit of the Icon Residence has a different layout, and everything is highly customizable. So customizable to the point where it is better to have a checklist of requirements and present it to the salesperson, and he or she will pick out the most suitable unit for you. It is a considerable risk at the time to embark on such a project, but with Mont Kiara being such a high-class neighbourhood, everything turned out surprisingly well.
However, we did not forget our core customer base from the B40 and M40 group. That is why we have released reasonably affordable two-or-three bedroom projects such as M Centura in Sentul, M Vertica in Cheras, Sensory@ Southville City in KL South and M Aruna in Rawang.
Recently, we have started releasing a large number of mixed development projects. According to our research, improving and enhancing the lifestyle of regular white-collared employees is essential in this day and age. If people do not have the desired luxurious lifestyle and convenience in terms of location and accessibility, it will negatively impact their work productivity.
Hence, we have developed Icon City with 20 acres of land. It is just beside the LDP and Federal Highway, two of the busiest highways in the Klang Valley. For the upcoming launch of Onyx@Icon City, we have incorporated wellness features to help boost employee productivity, catering to both multinational corporations and small businesses as well.
In the end, it all really depends on the market needs. It pays to be observant, patient and careful, especially on the minute details. Whenever there is a callto-action, MahSing will definitely deliver.
It is evident from Tan Sri Leong’s words and mannerisms that he has extensive knowledge of the property sector and the demands of the market. Even from this brief encounter, we can understand why the staff members sing such high praises of him, a man’s whose vision, creative drive, and strategic risk-taking has created one of Malaysia’s foremost property development companies. But alas, due to time constraints the interview was cut short, and any further insights would be a story for another time.
The editorial team is very much looking forward to what MahSing has in store. They are indeed a force to be reckoned with, and we believe that they, as a property developer, will make huge waves in the industry. Now it is up to us to decide if we are to ride the tides.