Are you ready for MRT 2 ?
Jumping into The Bandwagon
Population growth is an occurrence that will happen naturally in large cities, managing the welfare of this population is no easy feat and one of the challenging areas will be in the accessibility in terms of public transportation.
To resolve this issue, the Malaysian government studied and approved the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) project in late 2010 that will involve construction of a rail-based public transport network comprising three lines.
Many have said that it is a good initiative by the government to reduce traffic congestions, but should investors just jump into the bandwagon and start to buy property around these proposed MRT stations? Is it true that the perception of buying properties where the infrastructures still relevant in the context of property investment?
The project is an Entry Point Project of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) under the Greater KL/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area (NKEA), which is being implemented by the Prime Minister’s Department’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU). Construction of the first line consisting of 51km between Sungai Buloh – Kajang line took place on 8 July 2011. The SSP line or the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya Line is the second MRT line to be developed.
The proposed alignment will have 36 stations spanning across 52.2km, of which, 11 stations spanning 13.5km will be built underground, 25 MRT stations along 38.7km stretch will be elevated and 15 of the MRT 2 stations will come with park-and-ride facility. The estimated total end-to-end journey time will be 84 minute. With a population of about two millions, the people staying along the Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya stretch will definitely benefit from the MRT 2 service. These areas include Sri Damansara, Kepong, Batu, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Jalan Tun Razak, KLCC, Tun Razak Exchange, Kuchai Lama, Seri Kembangan and Cyberjaya.
Both the elevated and underground stations will have many facilities, such as lifts and escalators to station concourse and platform levels, customer service centre, ticket vending machines, public telephones, surau and toilets. All the stations will also be designed to enable universal access. The facilities for this include ramp access, tactile tiles, braille for lift buttons, low counters for wheel chair users, low lift buttons for wheel chair users, disabled-friendly toilets and staff at stations to provide assistance. The construction of SSP Line or MRT 2 is expected to commence in 2016 and to be fully operational by 2022. It is expected to have a ridership of 529,000 passengers per day upon its commencement of full service in the second quarter of 2022.
“The public display for SSP Line has started and as per speculated, there are some changes on the proposed station alignments in KL area. One of the beneficiaries as per speculated accurately is Kraftangan, MRT 2 will have 10 other interchange stations with KTM, Monorail, LRT and in the future, High Speed Rail (HSR). Bandar Malaysia South is where the High Speed Rail and MRT 2 stations located,” said Ho Chin Soon Research CEO Ishmael Ho.
According to Skybridge International CEO Adrian Un, the proposed stations for MRT 2 line are very much what the public expected. He stated that the stations proposed are in the right locations as the population are growing rapidly in all these areas. “In about 5 to 6 years when the MRT 2 project is expected to be completed, it will help the residents in Klang Valley to have better connectivity.”
“One of the most remarkable proposed stations in my opinion is located in Seri Kembangan, Serdang. The shift of population is going towards the Southern Part of Kuala Lumpur, a location now branded as KL South,” shared Un.
He mentioned KL South’s border begins from Old Klang Road to Cyberjaya. He enthused that many new and large housing developments are coming up in the Seri Kembangan area, such as the 70 acres of D Alpinia by Hup Seng and 16 Sierra, a 400 acres township by IOI Properties, this township is one of the many developments that Un is identifying as a good location to invest in property as 16 Sierra is as big as DesaPark City and can accommodate a huge population. There are also plenty of landed gated and guarded neighbourhood on the premium range that are being constructed by developers.
“Taman Equine is another hotspot because although the general perception is that the area consists of low- and medium-income people, the reality is that the area is developing into maturity and many projects over here have been sold out,” said Un. He stated that Sunway Eastwood a gated and guarded development is fetching property price that can reach RM 1mil. The landscape has changed so much that developers are building premium property, high net worth individual are snapping up all the bungalows, Semi-D, super linked houses in Taman Equine itself that the location will serve as a very good platform as far as property investment is concerned.
“There are still a lot of affordable properties ranging from RM300,000 to RM400,000, Global Oriental Group which is one of the pioneer developers of Taman Equine still have high rise projects, consisting of apartments in the affordable price range. There are also projects by Trinity Group as well,” said Un.
MRT 2 will also have its proposed station in Cyberjaya, this is a good location as Cyberjaya has got incoming population due to its branding as a technology city where many high tech companies and jobs are available. The proposed MRT 2 line that will pass through Cyberjaya to Putrajaya in a way will help to spice up the property prices in these locations.
DON’T JUST BUY
“Many buyers and investors have the idea of buying where the infrastructure, or in this case, where the MRT stations, are located, this thinking process is not accurate,” shared Un. He said that one should not be so optimistic about the having the prices of their property investment near MRT 2 line to shoot up exponentially. He compared and questioned the prices for properties near the existing LRT line where prices did not grow as much as anticipated.
“In Malaysia’s property investment context, the increase in property prices is not solely due to infrastructures per se but because of a lack of alternative investment products. Other financial factors such as the healthy GDP growth of the country, the availability of bank liquidity and for the fact that the banks are still lending out to borrowers, encourages investors to invest in property, causing it to increase in price,” mentioned Un. He enthused that properties nearby MRT station is an additional value proposition that will give additional reason for buyers or investors to buy them there.
He said, “Two other factors to determine the price of property located near MRT 2 stations are the surrounding amenities, infrastructures and economical factors such job opportunity. What makes a location attractive is when there are colleges, shopping malls, hospitals, commercial areas where it will drive people to visit the area.”
Un said that one can still invest in developments within walking distance to the future proposed MRT stations, but they have to do due diligence in checking the price of property around the location, because it will be considered an overvalued property if buyers are buying it with a price above 30% of the market value, but it is still acceptable if the price appreciation is 15% of the market value. Don’t fall for sweat talks that MRT stations will definitely push up the value of your property.
THE BOON OF MRT 2
The MRT together with existing urban rail network will form the backbone of the public transport system in the Greater KL region. According to MRT Corp, one of the key benefits is the adopting the green environment, with less cars on the road, there will be less air pollution and the train rails uses less space compared to roads. The continuous security monitoring system make the rail travel a lot safer than travelling by road.
There are also many other benefits of MRT 2 line. Besides providing an easier alternative to travel stress-free to the city centre, all the stations have feeder buses to help you reach your destination, thus eliminating the issue of finding car park, which is often troublesome in areas with high traffic. MRT Corps believes that the commencement of MRT will boost the economy, as it provides efficient connectivity for commercial activity and produce better productivity, due to better mobility. The improved access will be able to boost property prices and rental yield.
We can conclude that based on the feedback provided by Ishmael Ho and Adrian Un that we should never jump on the bandwagon without doing our due diligence. As a responsible property investor we need to be able to look at the macro level, from the surrounding amenities and infrastructures before zooming into the property development itself.
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